The Systematic Approach:Using Permaculture (+ Other Wisdom) toReshape Life and WorkPresented by Chris Tobias, Lead Strategist
What we’re talking aboutQuick Outline1) The need2) Overarching issues3) Patterns to details4) Change isn’t bad.5) Introduction to Permaculture6) Forward Case Study: 12 Principles in Action7) Business as a tool for change8) Wrap up and conclusion
The most harmonious life is the one in which theory and practice areunified. – Helen + Scott Nearing
Why?Life as we know it needs to be redesigned to: - solve the problems we created - to be more enjoyable - live in a balanced way in the world we inhabit… so what are the main problems we are facing?
“Girl, we got issues!”Macro level We’re impacted by these…- climate change- peak energy- mismanaged financial systems, etc.Systemic problems Which are enabled by these…- inadequate design- over consumption of resources- short term outlook, etc.Individual issues And rooted here. - selfishness + greed - laziness - debt + consumerism cycles - disconnection from our environment - isolation from our community - wrong values, lost morals, confusion with complexity
Save the planet? The real Earth does not need saving. It can, will andalways has saved itself and it is now starting to do so by changing to astate much less favourable for us and other animals.What people mean by the plea is “save the planet as we know it”.That is now impossible. – James Lovelock
Working From Pattern To Detail:It all starts with us. It will all end with us. - Elevate personal responsibility - Take individual initiative - Stop making excuses for the things that don’t work - Be bold enough to change and adapt Time is not on our side.
Business as usual isn’t doing usany favours.If our pattern of existence is killing us, is changereally that scary?… or is it just a matter of perception and priorities?
This is not about gloom and doom.This is a case study of proactive action.This project looks at how permaculture principles canbe applied to solve problems and affect the biggerpicture, using a business as a case study.
Permanent Culture.Oxymoron, or possible reality with betterplanning?Permaculture is a design system based on ethics andprinciples which can be used to establish, design, manage,and improve all efforts made by individuals, households, andcommunities towards a sustainable future.-- David HolmgrenPermaculture was co-originated by David Holmgren and BillMollison in the 1970s. The system was originally applied toagriculture, (permanent + agriculture = permaculture) but hasevolved for use in society and business. It uses patterns andlogic found in nature to solve problems.For more information, visit www.permacultureprinciples.com
Observation + Interaction =InvolvementPersonally and professionally we do thisin person and online.
We do this in a number of ways.We believe interaction is better than advertising.- Green Drinks + networking- Leading community projects like UHS- Mentoring groups like Nexus- Learning through workshops- Sharing information on Forward Thinking, Twitter, Celsias, LinkedIn, etc.
From a business point of view, thisenables us to:- Be visible- Meet people- Help others- Share expertise- Keep knowledge current- Understand context- Grow and influence culture- Take leadership opportunities… and also means:- No need to waste money or material inadvertising or excessive marketing.
Let’s be energetic.Energy comes in many forms.- as information- as interest, curiosity, and catalyst- in human relationships- in money
For example: - We use website mechanisms to capture contact information and interest fromvisitors, and to publicly archive beneficial information- We use an energy strategy and efficient equipment to save power and money- We deliberately make the conscious effort to connect with people - We use a financial plan to help grow earnings and strategically use what hasbeen earned- We spend with locally owned businesses that support our ethics- We invest locally to contribute to financial sustainability
What are you working for?Are you making a life, or earning a living?It’s about:- finding and seizing new opportunities - efficient business processes- developing skills - reduced stress- creating goodwill - improved quality of life- improved satisfaction - empowerment and control- maximised tax benefits - realising dreams - learning through success and failure - freedom - exploration - experimentation …in short, experience is the best yield.
For ExampleA business enables yields of many kinds: - Positive lifestyle changes (enabled by implementing a“Results Only Work Environment” or ROWE)- Focused, meaningful way to “make a living”- A way to progress ethics, values, morals, and goals - Visible way of “walking the talk” through client projects thatreinforce values and brand… $$$ does come into the mix.It just isn’t the primary driver or reward.
What the hell would I want with $50 million compared to the satisfactionof putting together something worthwhile? – Sir Angus Tait
Control what develops.Systematically design theprocess from the ground up.Enable critical examination and judgment by implementing- business plan and practices- quarterly and annual reviews- feedback from clients, website visitors, and the general public- personal development log
One obvious decision.Source renewable, ‘carbon-neutral’ energy.
Waste = poor design.Linear thinking is so last century.Emphasize redesigning processes, reducingconsumption, reusing, recycling materials andnutrients. Engineer out the waste to begin with.
Translating this into action:- Consumption is de-emphasized. We do not need the latest, greatesteverything simply because it has been made and we can afford to buy it. - What we do buy, we handle responsibly. Our average weekly output profile:• 8L material to recycling (send the materials back to use)• 6L sent to compost (send the nutrients back to the soil)• 1L to landfill (usually food wrapping that cannot be readily reused or recycled) - We purchased a perfectly good Aeron office chair (ergonomic, repairable, andable to be disassembled for end of life recycling) & deliberately bought it used. - We avoid the temptation to needlessly print by not having a printer to beginwith. Communications, invoices, and other materials are sent in electronicformat via PDF and email. - Ongoing reuse of packing supplies for moving and shipping purposes, reuseof scrap paper for notes and design exercises.- Only printed marketing material is business card printed on recycled paper - All hazardous materials (e.g. CFLs, electronics, etc.) are appropriatelyrecycled in safe fashion.
It’s all in the details.Think it through, plan it out.Relate individual choices and decisions to the bigpicture, think laterally, and seek to go with bestpractice at all times. Use creative thinking ratherthan cop outs. This presentation gives proof ofpossibilities and new ways of doing business.
Stop ‘my patch’ mentality.Collaborate to problem solve and find newopportunity.Less time competing, more time innovating. Blue Ocean Strategy.Focus on cooperation, synergy, and maximising benefits for everyone.This is key to a truly resilient economy.
How we did it:We continually reach out to other businesses offering similar and complimentaryservices to ours. We seek to build relationships, arrange contra agreements,share information, swap expertise, and pass along clients. It’s about dovetailingand cooperation.One successful partnership has evolved with our website developmentcompany, Netpotential.We actively sell on each other’s behalf, assist each other’s clients, and help within house questions and projects. Projects go smoothly.It is a great example of a partnership based on mutual respect and maximisingthe benefits for all involved.
What’s the big rush?It’s about quality, not necessarily quantity.Why is bigger, better, faster, more still the paradigm?What really is a ‘career’? What is ‘progress’? Whatis ‘success’?We’re about redefining ‘growth’ for its own sake.Let’s be adaptive in uncertain times, rather than relyon definitions from the past.
Only after the last tree has been cut downOnly after the last river has been poisonedOnly after the last fish has been caughtOnly then will you find you cannot eat money-- Cree prophecy
Maybe one rule holds true.Diversify, diversify, diversify.So it is in the natural environment, so too should it bein business. We actively seek:- interdisciplinary projects- new colleagues and collaborators- ways to expand our network- diversity in clients (business, non-profit organisations, government)
Sustainability is stale.We need to stop talking to ‘ourselves’ in themovement, and start influencing others.That’s one of the main reasons we got started.There’s a limit on self-indulgent chatting andarmchair solutions to major problems. Its time totake action, to carry the discussion and the solutionsforward into a new era, and push the boundaries.
I believe that sustainability will not emerge in humanaffairs until we begin to conduct economic activity inharmony with the principles that shape all living systemson earth. Then we will view a business as a natural livingsystem that thrives in a context of cooperation, restraint,and quality, not in a context of competition, growth andaccumulation. That will be sustainability…-- H. Thomas Johnson
Peak energy and climate change:Let’s use business to creatively tacklethese big problems. And let’s have fundoing it.
There is no rule saying you cannot use business forpurposes other than financial gain.Let’s show what’s possible. Our business plan serves ourethics and changes we’d like to see happen in the world.Rather than fund the purchase of company cars, high riseoffice space, expensive billboards, or promotionalmerchandise, profits are directed at long term goals likecreation of a low-impact, integrated living demonstrationsite (you might call it our ‘corporate headquarters’).
You never change anything by fighting the existing reality.To change something, build a new model that makes theold model obsolete.-- Buckminster Fuller
If you remember nothing elseRemember this:1) We are facing some significant global problems that will drastically alter our way of living.2) The root of these problems can be solved at an individual level.3) Change isn’t bad– in fact, doing nothing just might kill us.4) Permaculture is a design philosophy based on natural principles.5) It is a useful strategy guiding our business.6) Business can be used as a tool for positive change.7) Ultimately, the answers and solutions come from us!
Tomorrow doesn’t need to beanother yesterday.Starting from square one, we are thechange our world needs.