Principles

The core ethics of permaculture are Earthcare, Peoplecare, and Fairshare.

Earthcare means recognizing that the Earth is the source of all life, that Earth is our valuable home, and that we are a part of Earth, not apart from it.

Peoplecare is about supporting and helping each other to change to ways of living that do not harm ourselves or the planet, and to develop healthy societies.

Fairshare means placing limits on consumption. It is about ensuring the Earth’s limited resources are used in ways that are equitable and wise.



 

 

permaculture [pur-muk-kuhl-cher]: noun.
A system of design that seeks to mimic
the structure of ecosystems to create
resilient and regenerative gardens,
homes, farms, and communities.

Perma-what?

Permaculture is a very practical method of design that creates holistic self-supporting systems through an understanding of how natural systems work. It is, in essence, a form of biomimicry. It can be applied at a variety of scales, and to a variety of design problems, but is often thought of in relation to food producing systems as it has agricultural roots. Permaculture uses the patterns found in biological systems and the principles of ecology to obtain the greatest effect with the smallest amount of energy.

A forest takes care of itself. Nobody waters it, weeds it, or seeds it. A 'food forest' is an example of a permaculture technique that mimics the structure of a natural forest so that plants are working together to support each other and the broader system with little outside assistance. But unlike a natural forest, a food forest provides large amounts of food for us.

Permaculture evolved in Australia in the late 70s through the work of Bill Mollison and his graduate student David Holmgren. It was initially conceived of to address agricultural sustainability, but has since spread to tackle many other issues, and is practiced around the world.

Application

While permaculture began as a search for a permanent form of agriculture that would regenerate rather than deplete natural systems, it has evolved to encompass much more. Permaculture ideas are being put to good use in the design of urban gardens, buildings, communities, and even financial systems. Permaculture is a practical method of design that uses the tools at hand, and the example of the natural world, to make positive change. We can not afford to wait for the ‘perfect’ solution, but we can keep moving in the right direction. And then we can improve upon what we have done.

Permaculture shows humans how to thrive on this planet by developing a mutually enhancing relationship with the Earth. It awakens an appreciation and care for what is life-giving.