Just came from a Permaculture group meeting. I missed the first one (in Chicago at the SAMA mosaic conference), so I was a bit out of touch with what this group is hoping to do/be.
I think I'm really interested in the "culture" part of Permaculture.
I've always thought that the agriculture/ecology side of sustainability is well represented, but the social justice side of it is not. Most people that are talking sustainability talk about sustainability in regard to the environment. I think that is a rather narrow path to take. Sustainable living involves more than just dealing with environmental issues. Its success as a world-changing entity/idea/project, its viability as more than just a fad will hinge upon how it deals with social inequity, poverty, and injustice... How can disadvantaged and marginalized people even begin to think about living sustainably when it's a struggle to live, period?
Of course environmental issues are a major part of the discussion - if we don't have safe, healthy living spaces, if the air and water and soil are polluted or misused we all suffer. But I think that the whole "green" movement is a bit elitist and condescending. If sustainable living isn't universally available, it isn't sustainable. If only the well-off can afford to live "sustainably" it's not sustainable.
It may be that this group is looking at things in a slightly different way. It seems that many of them are not well-off, not doing this because it's trendy, or that they've been propagandized. It doesn't seem like it's a momentary passion with them.