What is Permaculture
“Permaculture is about sustainable human settlements. It is a philosophy and an approach to land use which weaves together microclimates, annual and perennial plants, animals, soils, water management, and human needs into intricately connected, productive communities”- Bill Mollison (Intro to Permaculture book)
Permaculture is a term created by Bill Mollison and his student David Holmgren in 1974 while teaching at the University of Tasmania. The term is a combination of Permanent and Agriculture. It also means sustainability of all things - each dependant on the other.
Other descriptions include:
Designing for the Generations
Develop relationships to the natural world for the benefit of all
Sustainable living, with and on the land
Designing soul into the home site
Holistic - Sustainability Design
What is this you ask…? Well it is a way of thinking and organizing – it is intelligent ecological and ethical design. It does not focus on the elements of sustainability in themselves, for example – the details of organic living, eco-building, appropriate technology, community building, green finance, or rainwater harvesting, but on the beneficial relationships between the above elements. How they are put together to make them as energy efficient and sustaining as possible, both for the people, the planet and our ecosystem.
Permaculture (Holistic – Sustainable Design) enhances our observation and understanding of natural patterns and universal principles. It teaches us to contemplate nature and natural systems and then to apply these “ecological truisms” to our own living/home-sites.
My Definition of Sustainability is
“When the yield of the system exceeds the inputs”
The Ethics of Permaculture are:
Care of the Earth, Care of the People, Care of the Future
Little more needs to be said about this motto for all the peoples of this planet to live in harmony with all its creatures.
Permaculture may seem like a step back to bygone days. Statements like “My grandparents lived on the land like that years ago.” Well with the advent of mechanization, that lifestyle ended. The tractor made life easier and worked the soil more and faster. Not necessarily better as time has made clear.
Soil erosion, by wind and water taking away valuable top soil was the first indication that mechanized farming had unforeseen consequences. Farming today is still not much better. It is still intensive and unsustainable. Constantly needing to be replenished artificially. Secondly, today’s farming uses far too many chemicals, with incalculable results.
On the other hand, much has been discovered throughout the ages for sustainable living. The Native Americans of North and South America and the indigenous peoples of China are but two examples of communities that demonstrate self containment in the not too distant past. Today we have to get our common sense back and really live as if we are connected to all things, not to impose, and bully our way in life. Systems are not separate, they must connect. New technology can and must marry together numerous systems to become the modern day living that is termed “Permaculture.”
Design Process - Systems Thinking:
Each element is studied and connected to become a holistic design
This is basically natural systems analysis. Many problems and challenges can be resolved and avoided by understanding the fundamental dynamics and integrating them.