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Adapting to the novel coronavirus


12 August 2020

Permaculture design requires us to have a good working knowledge of the elements within the systems that we are responsible for. This approach applies to threats such as pests and diseases - we need to know enough about them to make our systems inhospitable to invaders. In the same way, we have to take care of each other when it comes to dealing with human pathogens.

At five or six months into the outbreak, there are too many things that we still don't know about the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This includes its effective transmission, its prevalence and its pathology.

What we do know is that the disease comes with hidden dangers and therefore we must take all steps we can to prevent our friends and our families from contact with it, at least until we have more information about any lasting effects. As with Climate Change, risk assessment must come from the severity of the impact and not just its likelihood. With so many unknowns, the Precautionary Principle must apply.

As a result, we are not planning to hold any indoor face-to-face gatherings during the course of this year. On the other hand, we consider that outdoor meetings, when observing appropriate and essential precautions, are safe to go ahead.

Our courses will continue on-line as an interim measure, although this will be for a longer period tham we had expected at the beginning of the outbreak.

If you want to read the evidence for our current policy decision and look further at our risk assessments, you may read more about them here:

What we know about the virus

The spread of SARS-CoV-2

Staying safe

What we still don't know about the virus

Social uncertainties



Angus Soutar, Northern School of Permaculture


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