Permaculture is a philosophy of working with rather than against nature.

It is a design science that’s rooted in observation of natural systems and involves learning to design how we live that has the stability and the resiliency of a natural ecosystem.

Permaculture Essentials:

What is permaculture?

Permaculture is a contraction of the words "permanent," "agriculture,” and “culture.”

“A design science that’s rooted in observation of natural systems and [involves] learning to design how we live that has the stability and the resiliency of a natural ecosystem” - Penny Livingston, Founder of Regenerative Design Institute
"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system." - Bill Mollison

Three primary ethics:

  • Care of the earth
  • Care of people
  • Setting limits to population and consumption and reinvesting surplus back into the system

Why it matters:

Overall: the application of permaculture principles are aimed at providing a more sustainable and resilient way of life on micro and macro levels

The Climate Appeal: Our ecosystems, climate, and planet are being destroyed

  • Restore ecosystems, use resources in a regenerative manner, produce sustainably, produce no waste, mitigate increasingly common and devastating natural disasters

The Economic Appeal: There are better ways to create holistic value and return

The Sociological Appeal: Build community, practice cooperation, and establish more equality

The Individual Wellbeing Appeal: On a micro-level, we can operate with permaculture system principles and provide ourselves with more personal empowerment, individual agency, health, well-being, and spirituality

Design principles from Holmgren’s Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability:

  • Observe and interact: Take time to engage with nature to design solutions that suit a particular situation
  • Catch and store energy: Develop systems that collect resources at peak abundance for use in times of need
  • Obtain a yield: Emphasize projects that generate meaningful rewards
  • Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: Discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems function well
  • Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature's abundance: reduce consumption and dependence on non-renewable resources
  • Produce no waste: Value and employ all available resources: waste nothing
  • Design from patterns to details: Observe patterns in nature and society and use them to inform designs, later adding details
  • Integrate rather than segregate: Proper designs allow relationships to develop between design elements, allowing them to work together to support each other
  • Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain, make better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes
  • Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces system-level vulnerability to threats and fully exploits its environment
  • Use edges and value the marginal: The border between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most system's valuable, diverse and productive elements
  • Creatively use and respond to change: A positive impact on inevitable change comes from careful observation, followed by well-timed intervention
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