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Permaculture Design and its origins

Permaculture  is about designing systems based on the principles of the natural world. The philosophy behind permaculture is one of working with, rather than against, nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless action; of looking at systems in all their functions, rather than asking only one yield of them; and allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions.

"Permaculture design is a system of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all its forms."

Permaculture started out as "permanent agriculture", as a response to the destructive power of modern agriculture. "Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, the stability, and the resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Without permanent agriculture there is no possibility of a stable social order".

Permaculture quickly moved to a recognition that it is in human culture ("the way we do things round here") that the real problems lie. The problems are not just destruction of soils and pollution of waters, but also in our use of energy and material resources. In colder climates, a large part of permaculture design work needs to be directed towards buildings and our towns and cities. Without a permanence in our culture, there is no possibility of a stable social order for us, here.

"... we can build a global, interdependent and co-operative body of people involved in ethical land and resource use, whose teaching is founded on research, but is also locally available everywhere, and locally demonstrable in many thousands of small enterprises covering the whole range of human endeavours from primary production to quaternary systems management; from domestic nutrition and economy to a global network of small financial systems. Such work is urgent, important and necessary, and we cannot leave it to the whims of government (always short-term) or industry as we know it today."

With acknowledgement of text and quotes from "Permaculture - A Designers' Manual" 
written by Bill Mollison and published by Tagari Press in 1988.



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