Permaculture - What Is It?
Permaculture's concepts, principles and practices were co-originated in the 1970's by William Mollison and David Holmgren, both from Australia. The term "permaculture" is actually a combination of two words— "permanent" and "culture" or "agriculture". Mollison and Holmgren were inspired by the fact that in nature, eco-systems seemed to be interconnected and filled with abundance. They had also observed that indigenous cultures existed and functioned within such a context as well, and wondered if it might be possible to deliberately replicate these types of systems. In 1988, Mollison authored "Permaculture: A Designers' Manual" and Holmgren eventually went on to write about his experiences as a permaculture practitioner in his book "Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability".
Permaculture's Basic Principles
Listed below are the fundamental principles of permaculture, as described in Holmgren's book:
- Observe and Interact
- Catch & Store Energy
- Obtain a Yield
- Apply Self-regulation & Accept Feedback
- Use & Value Renewable Resources & Services
- Produce No Waste
- Design From Patterns to Details
- Integrate Rather Than Segregate
- Use Small & Slow Solutions
- Use & Value Diversity
- Use Edges & Value the Marginal
- Creatively Use & Respond to Change
- Stack Functions
- Make the Least Change for the Greatest Effect
- Collaborate With Succession
- Turn Problems Into Solutions
- Abundance is Limited by Creativity
- Mistakes Are a Tool for Learning
Permaculture's inherent focus on collaborative, inter-dependencies rather than individualistic, autonomy, helps our thinking to become more community oriented, which is fundamental to living with intent.
Next week, we’ll look at the design philosophy of “cradle-to-cradle” co-developed by William McDonough and Michael Braungart.