What is Permaculture?
“Permaculture is the conscious design of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.” - Bill Mollison
The concept of permaculture was developed in the mid-1970s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Permaculture is a creative, whole-systems design process of living and working in harmony with natural systems. The approach follows three ethics, which set the foundation for the twelve design principles. Their philosophy of permaculture was developed out of a need for a system that created positive, solution-oriented change.
By adopting the ethics and applying these principles in our daily life we can make the transition from being dependent consumers to becoming responsible producers. This journey builds skills and resilience at home and in our local communities that will help us prepare for an uncertain future with less available energy.
The techniques and strategies used to apply these principles vary widely depending on the location, climatic conditions and resources that are available. The methods may differ, but the foundations to this wholistic approach remain constant. By learning these principles you can acquire valuable thinking tools that help you become more resilient in an era of change.
Permaculture FlowerThe permaculture journey begins with the ethics and design principles. We apply this thinking to the seven different domains required to create a sustainable culture.
The evolutionary spiral path connects these domains, initially at a personal and local level, and then proceeds to the collective and global level.
Some of the specific fields, design systems and solutions that have been associated with the wider view of permaculture can be seen by clicking on the petals.
The seven domains of permaculture action
Permaculture EthicsThe ethics earth care, people care and fair share form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies.
Ethics are culturally evolved mechanisms that regulate self-interest, giving us a better understanding of good and bad outcomes. The greater the power of humans, the more critical ethics become for long-term cultural and biological survival.
Permaculture ethics are distilled from research into community ethics, learning from cultures that have existed in relative balance with their environment for much longer than more recent civilizations. This does not mean that we should ignore the great teachings of modern times, but in the transition to a sustainable future, we need to consider values and concepts outside the current social norm. ethics
Principles of Permaculture
Thinking tools, that when used together, allow us to creatively re-design our environment and our behavior in a world of less energy and resources
The foundations of permaculture are the ethics (centre) which guide the use of the 12 design principles, ensuring that they are used in appropriate ways.These principles are seen as universal, although the methods used to express them will vary greatly according to the place and situation. They are applicable to our personal, economic, social and political reorganisation as illustrated in the permaculture flower. Each principle can be thought of as a door that opens into whole systems thinking, providing a different perspective that can be understood at varying levels of depth and application.