Using Permaculture Media & Advertising to Incite the Good in People
By Jenny Nazak /

We know that television's numbing effect is an unhealthy side-effect of our modern world, however Jenny Nazak argues that we individually have the power to incite people to goodness using the bounty of multimedia platforms available to each and every one of us.

Jerry Mander is right: images from television, and particularly advertising, do dominate our minds to a dangerous degree. But banning or otherwise suppressing this form of expression isn't a true solution, any more than pouring herbicide on your yard to get rid of weeds is a true solution. Whether the landscape is your yard or your mind, we permaculture designers would say that the solution lies in introducing beneficial relationships.

How to address the dominance of TV in our mental landscape:

1. Fortify our own critical thinking (and that of our kids). Permaculture education is good for this. Just plain talking to kids, giving them our full attention, is good for this.

2.  Find better things to do than watch TV. Yes, this requires effort. And yes, WE everyday folks — parents and citizens — are the ones responsible for making this effort. We can't blame the advertisers for hijacking our retinas if we willingly lend them our eyeballs several hours a day.

3. Make more use of widely available, powerful tools for spreading the ideas WE want to spread.

Television advertising may be hijacking our retinas but we have the ability to spread something better - What do you want to put out there? (Richard Register, Ecocities)
Television advertising may be hijacking our retinas but we have the ability to spread something better - What do you want to put out there? (Richard Register, Ecocities)

As Jerry Mander points out in his article, all advertising is about getting someone else to do what you want. We don't have to limit this to advertising. Everyday, people on Facebook are persuading people to become more eco-conscious by posting images of luscious food forests; enchanting cob cottages; futuristic bright-green eco-cities; sassy micro trailer homes pulled by bicycle, as well as by posting calls for action that are accompanied by a powerful visual image. (A petition accompanied by a soul-wrenching image of trees lined up like matchsticks, cleared for the tar sands pipeline project.)

Decades ago legendary media critic A.J. Liebling said "Freedom of the press is only guaranteed to those who own one". But now, to a degree unprecedented in history, we everyday people DO own free press just as the big guys do. We have access to high-quality multimedia publishing tools that are essentially free to anyone with access to an internet connection.

How many of us have really taken advantage of what's available? How many of us have made a video and put it out there? Did you know that anyone can set up their own YouTube channel? Facebook and YouTube are particularly powerful tools. If you prefer strictly audio, that's easy too. Shoot, you can even make a recording on your phone and post it to your blog as an mp3 file! How many of us have written an e-book? (for a little homemade e-book inspiration, see the work of Hayley Harland)

UMass Permaculture have been very pro-active, releasing popular videos on their Youtube channel
UMass Permaculture have been very pro-active, releasing popular videos on their Youtube channel

How many of us even bother to really make use of the various listserves and other email groups we're on? Back in the days of the early printing presses, and even 15 years ago, folks would've killed for the amount of reach that we have now.

Of course, visuals are particularly powerful. If you doubt this, visit the Facebook page of an ex-lover whose slights still linger in your heart. Ouch! The mere 2-D static image of the person sears your eyeballs and feels like a punch in the gut. Lots of power there.

Might as well use that power for good! Why not warm people's retinas with images of permaculture positivity! As Marjory Wildcraft is doing with her YouTube channel. And as Ginger Webb is doing with her herbal "Medicinal Minutes".

Some would argue that the mass advertisers have an unfair advantage because they reach so many millions. But their main province is the undefined masses. Advertisers spend a lot of money to buy their way into tribe audiences, but more people can spot a fake than you might think. We, everyday people, are already members of those tribes.

Also in our favour is that we, ordinary people, have good on our side. We're not trying to manipulate folks into buying unnecessary consumer products. Rather, we (conscious citizens) are trying to influence people to take more responsibility for the planet. And we're offering them appealing ways to do so.

Use the power that's available to you. Talk to your tribe! Everyone has a tribe or tribes. The people who are ready and willing to listen to your ideas, and to take action. For more about connecting authentically with one's own tribe(s), and getting out there and making things happen, Seth Godin is a great inspiration. Did I say inspiration? I meant a much-needed kick in the pants!

Sometimes the tribes turn out to be quite big. Check out Dick Pierce's video on how to build a herb spiral. The 6-minute video, taken in 2008 at a Permaculture Design Certificate course in Austin TX, has had, get this, over 50,000 viewings! Now that's what I call reach!

Yes, TV is powerful. Don't worry too much about it, though. We should focus more on using the unbelievable amount of communication power we ourselves have close at hand. Most of us haven't even begun to tap into that. 

Jenny Nazak is a permaculture designer and educator based in Ormond Beach, Florida. For more information, to contact Jenny or to view her artworks, visit

At Permaculture magazine, we are commited to changing the way we use media for the power of good. For more inspiration, please visit out facebook, twitter and pinterest pages.

Photo credits:,,

4.0 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
F*ck That: A Guided Meditation for the Realities of Today's World
2 min · 12,673 views today · Just acknowledge that all that sh*t is f*cking b*llshit — you're here now, in this place, with your inner stillness. Take in a deep breath ... now breathe out. Just feel the...
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 7,102 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 6,485 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Who I'm Voting For...
3 min · 6,171 views today · Prince Ea announces who he's voting for. It's probably not who you think.
Free Trade Explained In An Excellent Comic
Michael Goodwin, Illustrated by Dan E. Burr · 5,787 views today · The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are the latest in a long line...
Open Up - Have the Difficult But Important Conversations With Loved Ones
5 min · 3,296 views today · “The biggest casualty of humanity is the lack of communication, it’s the thing that breaks most relationships. It just feels so much better to talk and get it out.” There is...
25 Mind-Twisting Optical Illusion Paintings by Rob Gonsalves
Dovas · 2,328 views today · The beautiful and mind-bending illusions in Canadian artist Robert Gonsalves’ paintings have a fun way of twisting your perception and causing you to question what in his...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,707 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 1,667 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
#Hypernormalisation - Why Heathrow Plan Is Proof We Exist in a Catastrophic Fantasyland
Matthew Adams · 1,569 views today · The British government recently gave the green light for Heathrow airport’s third runway. It was heralded by its supporters as a vital boost for jobs and growth – and proof...
'Maritime Graveyard': 2016 Deadliest Year Ever for Refugees Crossing Mediterranean
Deirdre Fulton · 1,558 views today · "From one death for every 269 arrivals last year, in 2016 the likelihood of dying has spiraled to one in 88," says UNHCR spokesman
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,497 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 1,112 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
The Empire Vs. The People - Police Attack and Arrest Peaceful Protestors at the Dakota Access Pipeline
6 min · 1,007 views today · On October 22, just before dawn, hundreds of people, including many families, gathered and prepared to march toward the Dakota Access pipeline construction site near Standing...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 708 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Ode to Lesvos
5 min · 677 views today · An inspiring story of a few remarkable heroes on the Island of Lesvos who helped almost half a million refugees in 2015 has been documented in a new short film called Ode to...
The Burden of the New Story
Adebayo Akomolafe · 626 views today · The 'new story' - that longed for milieu when all is right with the world and things are set straight - seems to be taking its sweet time coming. Why?
HyperNormalisation (2016)
161 min · 450 views today · We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 418 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 384 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Using Permaculture Media & Advertising to Incite the Good in People