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Permaculture: A Designers' Manual - Preface and Chapter 1 - INTRODUCTION  RSS feed

 
Posts: 82
Location: Lantzville, Vancouver Island,BC Cool temperate, Lat. 49.245 Zone 8a
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:

So my focus right now falls out like this:
--10% about me and my own sustainability (this was more at one point but I have several good systems in place, so now it's less - it's been an evolving process)
--30% about my immediate neighborhood and surrounding 'hoods (organizing classes, talks, hands-on opportunities, cleanup events, social gatherings)
--20% about my city - working to change policy, etc
--40% about the broad landscape in which I live - working to change policy (in talks with the former mayor about proposed desalinization plants for Arizona/Mexico, care of wild lands w/Sierra Club, restoring riparian areas, etc)

For me, permaculture HAS to go beyond my property by necessity.

What do others think?



I know I'm jumping in really late with this reply to Jennifer's post.
I'm new to permaculture (currently taking Geoff Lawtons online PDC) but I have been in the landscape industry for over 30 years.

Jennifer your approach is admirable...I live in a small community and have been involved with a number of community groups including FUAL (Friend of Urban Agriculture in Lantzville- not FU...ALL as some of our detractors call us) so I see beyond my property boundaries. I think you have nailed it and we (communities in general) would benefit from this approach. It is a real challenge getting people involved with their communities unless they are directly effected by some issue, at least that is my experience in our small community (pop. 3600+-). I can see how urban settings would lend themselves to this broader approach, were I live 1-5 acre lots are the norm and people tend to isolate themselves.
Excellent ideas Jennifer, thanks.

 
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BUMP!!! So, i recently finished reading Chapter 1 of Permaculture: A Designer's Manual today, and these are my thoughts on it:

Section 1.1:

Bill Mollison wrote:The sad reality is that we are in danger of perishing from our own stupidity and lack of personal responsibility to life.


I really agree with this statement because I've done this as a kid growing up, but as school became more competitive and harder, I started to take more responsibility for my own actions and the effects that they have on others. The stupidity part is what irks me when I'm interacting with other people b/c I see so much avoidable stuff happen that it gets kind of annoying to see the same thing happen over and over again by various people.... On tangent, stupidity seems to be integrated into society by corporations and government, in my humble opinion, because everyone wants their money, and as a result, they care less about how they get it. On the other hand, in my perspective, since I have little money, I ask what is the value of money? Because I understand that there are many ways of obtaining what I need and want, I do question why I "need" to do certain things as perpetuated by different organizations and people. I need food, water, and clothing, and a community to live in. That is all I really need. Clothing could possibly be omitted if people were more comfortable with their bodies... That's a discussion for another time.

Bill Mllison wrote: To accumulate wealth, power, or land beyond one's needs in a limited world is to be truly immoral, be it as an individual, an institution, or a nation-state.


I could not agree with this more because I just don't see the value of various things in the world. Power is related to money, and businesses focus on getting big no matter the cost, and consumers consume whatever. Consumption is not a good model for economic sustainability because it requires the continuous manufacturing, buying, selling, and trashing of items. Perhaps, happiness, honor, or reputation points may be better standards for trade and the economy. For the most part, the human mind is the problem, and it is the solution, if we can change people's mindsets.

Bill Mollison wrote: Cooperation, not competition, is the very basis of existing life systems and of future survival.


That is very well said. There is a very good reason why I enjoy volunteer work, and why I wish that volunteer work was required in all around the world by everyone. Maybe four years of volunteer work would grant someone free college education. There is a need for people all the around the world. People need people. Why not fill in and help someone out?
 
Dave Burton
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I posted my analysis of Section 2 here.
 
Dave Burton
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Section 1.3:

I don't really have much to say about this section. Similar concepts were expressed when I took AP Environmental Science.
 
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I am new to interacting on forums and late to the party but I'm reading the PDM and thought I would add my notes and thoughts to this thread.

Even reading the preface for the book is a lot to take in and brings up more questions to think about.  

What is Permaculture?  I am often asked this question when I talk about permaculture in my personal and professional life.

How do others define it when asked.

Permaculture , by design, is hard to define.  It was set up in a way that allows the word to express its own evolution over time.

The Permaculture Institutes and their College of Graduates own the copyright for the word Permaculture. The word permaculture can be used by anybody as long as they are using it in a context that complies with the ethics and design principles of permaculture.  The only restriction is if you are teaching permaculture in which case you must be a graduate of the Permaculture Institute Permaculture Design Course.

If anybody can use the word and define it as they see fit within the context of three simple ethics and a base of ecomimitic design principles then there is no single definition.  Everybody can have their own definition.

It is easier to define what permaculture is not.  Permacutlure is not herb spirals, holistic planned grazing, hugelculture, rocket mass heaters, or swales.  These are techniques.  Permaculture is a systems approach to design.

Defining what permaculture isn't does not help answer the question.  What is Permaculture?

Larry Santoyo's definition resonates with me.  Permaculture is a set of design protocols for critical thinking, decision making and problem solving - all based on the patterns of nature.

Larry's definition is succinct and thought provoking.  It is also still open for interpretation.

So, what is Permacutlure?

Permaculture is multi-disciplinary applied design system that integrates often segregated area of expertise into an integrated whole.  It can be applied to agriculture, architecture, engineering, business, and life design.  

Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of productive ecosystems which have the following qualities of functional living systems.

* diversity
* stability
* resilience

Permaculture is the integration of living systems and human systems.  Where providing our food, energy, water, shelter, and other material and non-material needs restorative and mutually beneficial for people and planet.

Permaculture is the intentional assembly of conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit all living things.

Permaculture works with rather than against nature.   Remember nature bats last.

Permaculture is thoughtful observation and interaction with the systems that support us rather than thoughtless action and consumption without consideration for consequences.

Permaculture design is observing systems in all their functions.  Creating systems that are resilient where any given system competent has multiple yields and multiple inputs from the system for support.

Permaculture designs are inherently simple and become complex over time as they demonstrate their own evolutions.

The definition of permaculture is unique to the individual.  

So, what is permaculture to me?

I think of permaculture as an integrated and applied design science but I don't have a succinct definition yet.  I hope to develop one as I work my way through the Permaculture Designers Manual.  I will be posting my notes as I go.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.
 
Justin Stenkamp
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As I read through the Permaculture Designers Manual I am struck by Bill Molllisons ability to write.  The words he chooses seem so intentional and filled with meaning.  Each sentence is like a paragraph, each paragraph a page, and each page a chapter and each chapter a book.  

The general philosophy of permaculture design is made up of a Prime Directive and an overarching Principle of Cooperation.

"A person of courage today is a person of peace.  The courage we need is to refuse authority and to accept only personal responsible decisions.  Like war, growth at any cost is an outmoded and discredited concept.  it is our lives being laid to waste.  What is worse, it is our children's world which is being destroyed." ~Bill Mollison, PDM

The Prime Directive of Permaculture ~ The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children.  MAKE IT NOW.

The Prime Directive of Permaculture is a great filter for decision making and is similar to axioms like we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.  Another great filter for decision making I hear at the sustainability related conferences I go to is the 7th generation principle thought by Native Americans.  It says that every decision, be it personal, governmental or corporate, we must consider how it will affect our descendants seven generations into the future.  Powerful ideas.

What stands out to me about the Prime Directive of Permaculture is it's focus on ethics and personal responsibility as it is applied to design.  Personal responsibility to act and understand our interaction in and cooperation with the rest of the living world.

Principle of Cooperation ~ Cooperation, not competition, is the very basis of existing life systems and of future survival.

"Life is cooperative rather than competitive, and life forms of very different qualities may interact beneficially with one another and with their physical environment." ~Bill Mollison ~ PDM

The principle brings up the idea for me of a distinction between biology and ecology.  Between biomimicry and ecomimicry.

Biology is a natural science that studys life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, and evolution.  Evolution is the foundational and underlying concept of biology.  Evolution is driven by selection pressure and an organisms ability to adapt to that selection pressure.  This leads to the idea of survival of the fittest.  Essentially evolution and by extension biology is based largely on competition.  When I think of Biomimicry I think of organisms ability to live in it's environment, how that organism evolved to thrive in its environment.  

Ecology is the scientific analysis and study of interactions among organisms and their environment.  Ecology is the study of systems.   The functionality of ecosystems is dependent on the cooperation of the various organisms in the system.  

I believe the key to restorative design is understanding and optimizing the interaction of different elements in the design, not optimizing the individual elements.  Basically mimicking ecosystems rather than organisms.

In the end competition and cooperation are both important components of functional resilient systems.

The general philosophy of Permaculture leads to a philosophical framework grounded in a set of ethics.

 
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