‘CCIS Permaculture, Sustainable Energy and Sustainable Construction’ (CCIS PSeSc) is the Environment and Sustainability wing of the Center for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS). Headed by CCIS Board Member and Director of Operations Lucie Irene Ashley, CCIS PSeSc’s mission is to research, develop and implement permaculture, sustainable energy and sustainable construction design methods in urban and rural spaces to combat environmental degradation and cultivate/nurture the sacred relationship between humanity and the natural world. At the academic level CCIS PSeSc is partnered with the UBC Geography Department, the UBC Urban Studies Program and the UBC Urban Studies Lab to interrogate the academic theory and practice of human-nature relations with a focus on agricultural and forestry in urban and rural spaces. In the R&D space that links our theoretical work to practice, CCIS PSeSc aims to establish a set of research laboratories across the Pacific North West in order to test and optimize new permaculture, sustainable energy and sustainable construction methods. In our practice CCIS PSeSc partners with for-profit entities like Energy Productivity Inc. to implement private (for private land owners) and social justice (for underserved communities around the world) oriented permaculture, sustainable energy and sustainable development projects that move from the methodologies developed in our R&D stage to real-world applications in order to bring our vision of a socially just world rooted in sacred, harmonious human-nature relations. 


PSeSc Perspectives

PSeSc Perspectives

“Sitting at our back doorsteps, all we need to live a good life lies about us. Sun, wind, people, buildings, stones, sea, birds and plants surround us. Cooperation with all these things brings harmony, opposition to them brings disaster and chaos.” 

-Bill Mollison

"Dharma is sustainable living – life in balance. That which sustains life is Dharma. That which promotes integrity, health, relationship, happiness, love, truth and peace is Dharma. Dharma in nature is instinctual. Nature organizes itself in patterns, ecosystems, renewable energy flow, leaves no waste that is not a resource further in the cycle of life. The seasons, life cycles demonstrate the gunas flowing in balance. Growth, homeostasis, and decay are the eternal qualities by which nature maintains balance while continuously changing – like a flowing river. Every living organism; every cell and organ within every organism, lives in the midst of life cycles, energy cycles, chemical cycles that follow nature’s laws of sustainability or Dharma.

Yet man breaks all laws of health, ecology, pattern, rhythm and cycle of Life. Most modern “developed world” physical, mental and spiritual disease is caused by lifestyle imbalances, and pollution of the environment by unsustainable farming, industry, transportation, energy, housing and war. Life out of balance is “adharma” - binding, diseased and unsustainable.

Permaculture is caring for people and the planet. Permaculture has developed principles by which people can live a culture of Dharma acknowledging that industrial and post-industrial society has lost its moorings in natural sustainability. Just as the Five Points of Yoga would be natural if we lived within the natural laws of health, and serve as a road map for a sick civilization back to health, Permaculture principles follow natural laws of sustainability that can help us reestablish our relationship with the natural systems of the planet."

-Srinivasan, International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres

The Woodcarver

"Khing, the master carver, made a bell stand/ Of precious wood.

When it was finished,/ All who saw it were astounded. 

They said it must/ be/ The work of spirits. 

The Prince of Lu said to the master carver:/ "What is your secret?"    


Khing replied: "I am only a workman:/ I have no secret.

There is only this:/ When I began to think about the work you/ Commanded/ I guarded my spirit, did not expend it/ On trifles, that were not to the point. 

I fasted in order to set/ My heart at rest. 

After three days fasting,/ I had forgotten gain and success. 

After five days/ I had forgotten praise or criticism. 

After seven days I had forgotten my body/ With all its limbs."    


By this time all thought of your Highness/ And of the court had faded away. 

All that might distract me from the work/ Had vanished. 

I was collected in the single thought/ Of the bell stand.    


"Then I went to the forest/ To see the trees in their own natural state. 

When the right tree appeared before my eyes,/ The bell stand also appeared in it, clearly, beyond doubt. 

All I had to do was to put forth my hand/ and begin.    


"If I had not met this particular tree/ There would have been No bell stand at all.   


"What happened? 

My own collected thought/ Encountered the hidden potential in the wood; 

From this live encounter came the work/ Which you ascribe to the spirits." 

-Zhuang Zi