Learning from Nature


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Nature is our best teacher. Through observation of Natural ecologies and applied ecologies we can learn how to design our settled landscapes. Therefore, it requires us with prolonged and thoughtful observation rather than prolonged and thoughtless action. We need observe the Natural Landscape and Lay of the land, as well patterns and principles in Nature.

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Learning from Nature

  1. 1. Learning from Nature SPERI – Robert Gray Robertgray@speri.org
  2. 2. Eco - Farming• What is Eco-farming?• Bill Mollison - Permaculture is a design science. Follow natural Ecosystems - agricultural systems – eco systems Beneficial functional relationships….. Integration of poeple and landscape providing all material and non material needs…
  3. 3. Eco-Farming (Design Science) Ecology – Multidisciplinary Organic / holisticTraditional Culture Systems / Sciences Farming Systems holistic Thinking
  4. 4. Eco – Farming Curricula (HEPA)• 1) Ethics, Spirit and environmentally friendly (traditional) culture.• 2) Learning from Nature.• 3) Ecological Design.• 4) Practical (making a change) – Learning by doing.
  5. 5. 1) Ethics, Spirit and environmentally friendly (traditional) culture.• Ethics – Environmental Issues – Humans are responsible for damaging the environment. – Humans are now responsible for; • 1) Protecting remaining natural ecosystems (inspector). • 2) Restoring damaged ecosystems. • 3) Designing environmentally / people friendly landscapes for settlement. – Earth Care – People Care – Fair share.
  6. 6. Ethics (Spirit)Ecological Design - PrinciplesPractical Applications
  7. 7. 1) Ethics, Spirit and environmentally friendly (traditional) culture.• Spirit – Human Ecology Theory - Mrs Lanh. • Spiritual Beliefs / Values of indigenous people nurture nature. – Tong Seng protected forest – Lao. – Australia - sacred sites – animal breeding grounds. • Viewing nature as a resource for exploitation leads to environmental destruction. – Parallels between Ethics and Spirit.
  8. 8. 1) Ethics, Spirit and Environmentally friendly (traditional) culture.• Environmentally Friendly (traditional) Culture. – Integrate our food systems and life into where we live. – Protect and develop Local Knowledge. – Nurture Culture – Creativity, Art, Poetry, Love, Thinking time, Traditional scarves. – Environmental Education (student centered, Nature as Teacher). – Culture must have a minimal impact on the environment, nature can provide for our need not for our greed.
  9. 9. 2) Learning from Nature.• Earth History – Age of the earth, Age of Life, Age of Humans.• Observation of Nature. – Nature is our best teacher. – Through observation of Natural ecologies and applied ecologies we can learn how to design our settled landscapes. – Prolonged and thoughtful observation rather than prolonged and thoughtless action (Picture). – Observations of the Natural Landscape and Lay of the land. – Observation of Patterns and Principles in Nature.
  10. 10. 2) Learning from Nature.• Pattern – Leaf Vein Exercise? – Common Patterns underlie phenomena of different characteristics.• Principles – Patterns and observations in nature lead to principles of design.
  11. 11. 3) Ecological Design.• Observation as method. – Evolutionary design. – Every new object well contemplated opens up a new organ of perception within us.• Observation strategies – Zone analysis – Sector analysis – Transect analysis
  12. 12. 3) Ecological Design.• Design Process – Process for developing sustainable design solutions. • 1) Observation • 2) Principles • 3) Integration (Mind Map) • 4) Local Knowledge (Pattern / Spirit) • 5) Design • 6) Practice • 7) Feedback• How will you practice each of these during your activities in HEPA?
  13. 13. What is a Principle?• A principle is a guiding idea (key idea, important idea) that has been informed by many observations in nature and practice.• A principle is a summery of what we know about a particular topic, it guides us.
  14. 14. 3) Ecological Design.• Design Principles of Eco-farming – Nine Principles used at HEPA. • Diversity • Connection • Feed the soil • Natural succession • Use the edge • Multiple functions • Save energy • Small and slow solutions • Use biological / Local resources
  15. 15. Diversity
  16. 16. Connection• Connect. Use relative location: Place elements in ways that create useful relationships and time-saving connections among all parts. The number of connections among elements creates a healthy, diverse ecosystem, not the number of elements.
  17. 17. Feed the soil• Feed the soil not the plant. Give food in the right proportions to soil organisms, this feeds natural cycles of life that feed and nourish plants.
  18. 18. Natural Succession
  19. 19. Use the Edge
  20. 20. Multiple Functions
  21. 21. Save energy• Save Work• Physical Energy – Nutrients – Water – Materials – Oil – Electricity
  22. 22. Small and slow solutions
  23. 23. Use biological / Local Resources
  24. 24. 4) Practice (making a change) – Learning by doing.• Core Practical Topics – Water Management • Swales, ponds, drains – Waste Management • Banana circles • Reed beds – Soil management (Feed the Soil) – Compost – Worm Farms – Garden Bed Design• Extension Practical Topics