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What is Permaculture

Permaculture is a design system inspired by nature. It is based on ethics and design principles that can be used to guide you, and your community ‘beyond sustainability’. By adopting the ethics and design principles in our daily life, we can make a transition from dependent consumers to responsible producers. This journey builds skills and resilience that will help us prepare for an uncertain future with less available energy. - Adapted from the Permaculture Principles website.

The Permaculture ethics and design principles can be best understood through example applications. Some detailed examples will be given here in a future update.

Let's hear how some of the pioneers describe permaculture.

Linda Woodrow
Permaculture is about saving the planet and living to be a hundred, while throwing very impressive dinner parties and organising other creatures to do most of the work. - The Permaculture Home Garden.

Rosemary Morrow
Permaculture is about designing sustainable human settlements through ecology and design. It is a design science that provides us with the skills and knowledge to reverse the degradation of our water, soils, forests and air quality in ways that are creative and satisfying. It stems from ecology, the study of inter-relationships and interdependence of living things and their environment and allows systems to demonstrate their own evolutions. -Adapted from Earth Users Guide to Permaculture.

David Holmgren
A vision given in the earliest book 'Permaculture One' is "Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for the provision of local needs".

David's preferred definition is "the use of systems thinking and design principles that provide the organising framework for implementing the above vision". It draws together the diverse ideas, skills and ways of living which need to be rediscovered and developed in order to empower us to move from being dependent consumers to becoming responsible and productive citizens.

Bill Mollison described it as a 'positivistic response to environmental crisis', meaning it is about what we want to do and can do, rather that what we oppose and want others to change. It is a creative design response to a world of declining energy and resource availability. It emphasises bottom-up re-design processes starting with the individual and household as drivers for change at the market, community and cultural level. - Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability.

Dave Jacke
Permaculture is the conscious design and co-creative evolution of human cultures that have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural systems. The practice of permaculture design is only possible by the practice and development of liberating mental, emotional and spiritual ways of being. - Edible Forest Gardens.

Graham Bell
Permaculture is a way of life which shows us how to make the most of our resources by minimizing waste and maximizing potential. Living ecologically doesn't mean giving everything up, but relearning the value of nature & understanding new ways of being wealthy...Conscious design of a lifestyle which is highly productive and does not cause environmental damage..... Meeting our basic needs & still leaving the earth richer than we found it. Permaculture aims to remedy the dis-located society in which we live. The aim is to be a "located society" - to live and dwell in place, to know and nurture the contours of the land-place that supports us. - The Permaculture Way.

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