Paul sits back down with Alan Booker after a fourteen-month hiatus to get back into the Big Black Book, aka Permaculture a Designer's Manual by Bill Mollison.
The five Mollison-ian principles are best seen as complimentary to David Holmgren’s 12, and indeed both are being taught in Booker’s PDC. It should be pointed out that these principals are just that – principals, they can be applied effectively everywhere in the world, but can be overridden by climate-specific techniques and strategies. Before his first PDC, Paul had read damn near every permaculture book there was, except for Holmgren’s as he just couldn’t immerse himself in it for whatever reason. So if there’s any disagreement between him and Holmgren, it’s probably safe to take the latter’s stance. Naturally Paul’s stance on Holmgren’s is that he doesn’t have a problem with any of them, but he would be much happier if some of them were worded differently, but he resonates well with Mollison’s principals (possibly because he and Paul are both troublemakers whilst Holmgren is more quiet and gentle). This is possibly reinforced by his approach to permaculture is to embrace ethics and let them guide to solutions, while Paul’s prefers a more Sepp Holzer style of “here is a list of things that you can do, and if you do them you’ll be embracing those ethics”, so both operate similarly but in the opposite direction. Paul finds that letting the ethics guide you to solutions can easily lead to completely wacky “solutions” that may or may not work, and sometimes not even be ethical at all. Booker takes a third option – instead of describing the problem as top-down or bottom-up, he points out that any designer that has made something impressive doesn’t follow either one, but rather one then the other – following just one always leads to questionable results but using both in either order covers their weaknesses.
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