PERMA (permanent) CULTURE “Permaculture is about relationships that we can create between minerals, plants animals and humans by the way we place them in the landscape. The aim is to create systems that are ecologically sound and economically viable, which provide for their own needs, do not exploit or pollute and are therefore sustainable in the long term.” (Bill Mollison) (Permanent- Latin: per- throughout + manere- to remain; Culture- Middle English: cultivation, tillage; from Old French; from Latin: cultura, from cultus- cultivation, from Germanic: skel- to cut)
Th e Pri me Direct ive o f Permac ul tu re The only ethical decision is to takeresponsibility for our own existence and that of our children
The Ethics of PermaculturePermaculture is unique among “alternative” farming systems (e.g. organic, sustainable, eco-agriculture,biodynamic) in that it works with a set of ethics that suggest we think and act responsibly in relation to eachother and the earth.The ethics of Permaculture provide a sense of place in the larger scheme of things, and serve as aguidepost to right Livelihood in concert with the global community and the environment, rather thanindividualism and indifference.Care of the Earth…includes all living and non-living things- plants, animals, land, water, air.Care of People…promotes self-reliance and community responsibility- access to resources necessary for existence.Setting Limits to Population and Consumption…gives away surplus- contribution of surplus time, labor, money, information, and energy to achieve theaims of earth and people care.Permaculture also acknowledges a basic life ethic, which recognizes the intrinsic worth of every living thing.A tree has value in itself. Even if it presents no commercial value to humans. That the tree is alive andfunctioning is worthwhile.It is doing its part in nature: recycling litter, producing oxygen, sequestering carbon dioxide, shelteringanimals, building soils and so on.
The Principles of Permaculture DesignWhereas permaculture ethics are more akin to broad moral values and codes ofbehavior, the principles of Permaculture provide a set of universally applicableguidelines which can be used in designing sustainable habitats. Distilled frommultiple disciplines- ecology, energy conservation, landscape design, andenvironmental science- these principles are inherent in any Permaculture design,in any climate, and at any scale.Relative locationEach element performs multiple functionsEach function is supported by many elementsEnergy efficient planningUsing biological resourcesEnergy cyclingSmall-scale intensive systemsNatural plant succession and stackingPolyculture and diversity of speciesIncreasing “edge” within a systemObserve and replicate natural patternsPay attention to scaleAttitude
Permaculture Competencies Primitive living skills Aquaculture Settlement, village life-ways and folkways Planning the homestead Map building and modeling “Green” structures, ecological building practices Permaculture principles Craftwork and chores Concepts and themes in design Equipment, tools, bio-fuels and vehicles The local ecosystem Renewable energy, system design and Forms of eco-gardening and farming implementation Broad scale, bioregional site design Energy conservation The application of specific methods, laws and Biological waste management and recycling principles to design Strategies for different climates Pattern understanding and observation skills Urban and suburban strategies Climatic factors Small farm and garden management and Plants and trees and their energy interactions marketing Water: collection, storage, purification Strategies of an alternative global nation Soils Political, social, economic issues and solutions Earth-working and earth resources Designing public policy Zone and sector analysis Land and forest restoration Food forests and small animal husbandry Human settlement and local ecology Cropping and large animal husbandry Site selection, mapping and modeling Harvest and utility forests Dividing, distributing, apportioning land Natural forests Practical work on design
Yield System Yield is the sum total of surplus energy produced, stored,conserved, reused, or converted by the design. Energy is in surplus once the system itself has available all its needs for growth,reproduction, and maintenance. Unused surplus results in pollution and more work. The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children. Cooperation, not competition, is the very basis of future survival and of existing life systems.