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The two things about Permaculture

 
pollinator
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I just read a good article. I'm not certain I agree with its premises, but it's interesting to think about:

The Two Things

There might be more than two essentials to this field, but it would be interesting to hear some perspectives if anyone can think of a good two-item summary of Permaculture.

In an earlier discussion with John Michael Greer on his blog, he stated "one of the reasons I tend to be a bit wary about permaculture is that I have yet to hear a simple, clear, jargon- and promotion-free description of what permaculture, as a contemporary social movement, actually means." I have given up on this issue with him, specifically, but I do think this topic could help address similar concerns from other people.

So: if we assume, for the sake of discussion, that "for every subject, there are really only two things you really need to know. Everything else is the application of those two things, or just not important,” what are the Two Things about permaculture?
 
master pollinator
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It's almost impossible to know what another person sees as "jargon." 

"Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.  It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way."  Bill Mollison

Doesn't seem very jargonish to me, but I guess it does to Greer?? 

Two things:

1. Ecosystems

(for)

2. People


But the problem is, I suppose, that you have to know what "ecosystems" are, and why people might need them! 

To complain about not having heard a simple explanation of a complex thing is, well, a bit on the lame side, but there ya go!

I have yet to hear a simple, jargon-free description of how to create a three-dimensional computer model. 
 
pollinator
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Ludi wrote:
I have yet to hear a simple, jargon-free description of how to create a three-dimensional computer model.   



It all math.

Of course that doesn't tell you much....
 
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I love John Michael Greer's blog, but I have to admit I have been wondering why he hasn't mentioned permaculture in any of his recent posts about "green magic." I usually read the posts before anybody has commented so I've missed these discussions.

Personally, I have found Bill Mollison's Permaculture: A Designer's Manual to be one of the most mystical and magical books I have ever read. When I first opened it and began perusing the pages, I was immediately reminded of Manly P. Hall's The Secret Teachings of All Ages.

I applaud Greer's efforts at creating "Green Magicians" but Bill Mollison, Sepp Holzer (and many others) have been doing just that for over 30 years; it seems silly not to acknowledge that.
 
Franklin Stone
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Okay, I just read a bunch of the comments over there and wish I hadn't.

A lot of very ugly intellectual trolling over semantics, "principles", evil permaculturist pyramid scams, etc.

I now see why Paul keeps such a tight reign over the whole "politics and religion" thing here at Permies.com now, and I REALLY appreciate how this forum focuses on the practical side of things.
 
gardener
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I can't keep it to two but here goes:

Permaculture is: Environmentally friendly housing, food, and energy production. The grammar might be off but I'm tired right now.
 
steward
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frankenstoen wrote:
Okay, I just read a bunch of the comments over there and wish I hadn't.

A lot of very ugly intellectual trolling over semantics, "principles", evil permaculturist pyramid scams, etc.

I now see why Paul keeps such a tight reign over the whole "politics and religion" thing here at Permies.com now, and I REALLY appreciate how this forum focuses on the practical side of things.



I really don't want to derail this thread, but I think some of the objections raised (certainly not all of them) are valid and we ignore them at our peril.  to me, that's the real value in paul's child, permies.com: it circumvents most of those objections and makes useful information available to a much wider audience than design courses are practical for.

I've taken a design course, and at a place many folks would consider one of the premier permaculture sites.  that was a valuable experience and I don't regret it, but I don't think the "pyramid scheme" criticism is that far from the truth.  that is, of course, completely separate from the substance of permaculture.  but if that's the public face of permaculture, I have a hard time faulting people for talking trash.


back on topic:
I don't think I'll succeed, but I'll have a shot.
1. nature is a good role model and ally
2. don't work so hard
 
Franklin Stone
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Yes, to get back on thread; here's how I've tried to describe it:

Forest Gardening, (a.k.a The Lazy Man's Method of Farming.)

Less work through better design.
 
Mother Tree
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From my own personal point of view, permaculture is what is going to enable me to live on my land, within my community, in such a way that the land supports me, and that as I grow old I will have less and less work to do and less and less input from beyond my local community.  When I die, my descendants can inherit my land and continue to benefit from the effort I have put into designing my system, which will be productive, easy to maintain, and self-supporting so that they in turn can pass it their descendants. 
 
pollinator
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1.diversity
2. more diversity

everything else is secondary
 
                    
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1) Agricultural systems are ecosystems;
2) Many farmers ignore or deny the first thing about agriculture, but permies embrace it and use it.
 
                                                                    
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1) Harmonizing with nature
2) No waste
 
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Perennial Polyculture

Think about it. It makes sense at the garden/plants level but also at the society/people level.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
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Thank you all!

Reading over your responses has encouraged me to give it a try, myself. I hope you'll forgive me for borrowing a bit:

1. Needs, including food, can be met via win-win relationships
2. Negotiating these relationships can be a lot of work, but not nearly as much as forcing an unconditional surrender: nature tends to regroup.
 
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paying attention via observation

focusing on things that need the least help after being introduced while producing the greatest return
 
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Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
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