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Bill Mollison: 1928-2016  RSS feed

 
Destiny Hagest
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Bill Mollison, often called the father of permaculture, was an author, scientist, teacher, biologist, and leading voice in the global pursuit of a more sustainable future in permaculture.

He's authored several books, which many feel serve as the most comprehensive educational foundation for permaculture:

Permaculture: A Designer's Manual

Introduction to Permaculture

The Permaculture Book of Ferment and Human Nutrition

Permaculture One: A Perennial Agriculture for Human Settlements

Permaculture Two: Practical Design for Town and Country in Permanent Agriculture

Travels in Dreams: An Autobiography


Bill has also put together a video lecture, which serves as yet another excellent introduction to permaculture:

Bill Mollison's Video Series

You can also find a number of videos on YouTube featuring him in both lectures and interviews:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn27R5jiaByq84NGXlYrWng

Related Podcasts

Paul Wheaton on the Sample Hour

Jack Spirko on Modern Survivalism






Bill Mollison left a mark on this world that won't soon be forgotten. His closest friends and family have asked that the world honor him by planting a tree to remember him by. If you share images of your tree for Bill online, please use the hashtag #PlantedForBill.
 
Destiny Hagest
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Maddy Harland at Permaculture Magazine wrote:


World Class Environmental Visionary, Bill Mollison, Has Died

Joint press release from the Permaculture Association and Permaculture Magazine


Australian educator, author and co-inventor of Permaculture, Bruce Charles 'Bill' Mollison, died on the 24 September 2016 in Sisters Creek, Tasmania, and has been praised across the world for his visionary work.

Born 1928 in the Bass Strait fishing village of Stanley, Tasmania, Bill's colourful life story included backwoodsman, academic, storyteller, lady’s man, and to many just ‘Uncle Bill’, doing all these things par excellence. Bill was co-founder, with David Holmgren, of the permaculture movement – a worldwide network of remarkable resilience, with organisations now operating in 126 countries and projects in at least 140, inspiring individuals and communities to take initiatives in fields as diverse as food production, building design, community economics and community development.

Bill left much useful information and numerous words of guidance and encouragement for those who will miss him most: “The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”

Growing up in Stanley, Tasmania he left school at fifteen to help run the family bakery and before 26 went through the occupations of shark fisherman and seaman (bringing vessels from post-war disposals to southern ports), forester, mill-worker, trapper, snarer, tractor-driver and naturalist. His lack of formal education gave him many learning opportunities in how the real world works.

Bill joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO, Wildlife Survey Section) in 1954 and gained extensive research knowledge. His time in the Tasmanian rainforests gave him the founding structure for what became his life’s passion, Permaculture, the idea that we could consciously design sustainable systems which enabled human beings to live within their means and for all wildlife to flourish with us.

After spell at the Tasmanian Museum in curatorial duties, a return to field work with the Inland Fisheries Commission took him back to college in 1966 living on his wits running cattle, security bouncing at dances, shark fishing, and teaching part-time at an exclusive girls’ school. Upon receiving his degree in bio-geography, he was appointed to the University of Tasmania where he later developed the unit of Environmental Psychology. During his university period (which lasted for 10 years), Bill independently researched and published a three-volume treatise on the history and genealogies of the descendants of the Tasmanian aborigines.

In 1974, he with David Holmgren developed the beginning of the permaculture concept, leading to the publication of the book, Permaculture One. He became fixated on proving and promulgating what he saw as a world renewing concept. Leaving the University in 1978, abandoning a secure academic tenure at the age of 50 (an unheard of move) Bill devoted all his energies to furthering the system of permaculture and spreading the idea and principles worldwide.

He founded the Permaculture Institute in 1978, his ideas influencing hundreds of thousands students worldwide. As a prolific teacher, Bill taught thousands of students directly, and contributed to many articles, curricula, reports, and recommendations for farm projects, urban clusters and local government bodies.

In 1981, he received the Right Livelihood Award (sometimes called the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’) for his work in environmental design. In recent years, he established a ‘Trust in Aid’ fund to enable permaculture teachers to reach groups in need, particularly in poorer parts of the world, with the aim of leaving a core of teachers locally to continue appropriate educational work.

Of all the accolades he received, however, the one he was most proud of was the Vavilov Medal, in large part due to the tenacity, courage and contributions of the award’s namesake, who Bill considered a personal hero. Bill was also the first foreigner invited and admitted to the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Bill came to the UK in the early ’80s, visiting city farms and early permaculture projects, teaching courses and visiting the newly formed Permaculture Association. His charismatic style drew large audiences and led to a flurry of new projects and programmes.

We are helped in remembering Bill by his 1996 autobiography Travels in Dreams. Typically he laughs at himself: “This book is a work of fiction: most if not all of it is lies. Even the lies are imprecise reports of old lies overheard.” He wasn’t universally liked. One reason being he was committed to disrupting the status quo in it’s misguided and unfeeling management. “First feel fear, then get angry. Then go with your life into the fight.” He was eloquent about the need for peaceful ‘warriors’, as he called them, to challenge the stupidity of ill-governance on a global scale. Despite, or perhaps because, he was an iconoclast, he engendered a global respect which will endure and grow as others develop his foundation thinking.

He authored a number of books on the permaculture design system, the best known being Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual, published in 1988, and often cited as his most outstanding work. Bill collected solutions and his Permaculture Book of Ferment and Human Nutrition, is an outstanding compendium of traditional food storage systems from across the world. Few could match his intellectual vigour or ability to recount stories that thrilled and taught deeper lessons about our relationship with each other and nature.

Bill asked: “Are we the public or the private person?” The truth of the matter is that for all seasons we are both. Perceived as challenging, a huge harvester of great ideas from around the world (and not always crediting their sources), Bill was also a sensitive man, eloquent raconteur, poet and appreciative of the poetry of others. He knew how to provoke others to action, but also when to withdraw and let others carry on the work. He paraphrased Lao Tzu: “True change is to so change things that it seems natural to everybody but no-one knows who thought of it.” And: “Our best will not be our children’s best.”

Bill’s legacy is that hundreds of thousands of past students have created a worldwide network to take his concept forwards. In a world in which we are acutely aware of our environment, its capacity and limitations, permaculture design offers a systemic approach to meeting human needs which respect those limitations and provide strategies to actively repair ecosystems. The effect of Bill’s legacy will only grow as the world recognises the urgent need to work together on environmental solutions.



EDITORS NOTES

For comment:
Andy Goldring, Chief Executive, Permaculture Association, andyg@permaculture.org.uk 07986 346525
Maddy Harland, co-founder and editor, Permaculture Magazine, maddy@permaculture.co.uk 01730 823311 077666 47017

The Permaculture Association is the national charity that supports people to learn about and use permaculture. www.permaculture.org.uk 0113 2307658



Permaculture Magazine is published by Permanent Publications, the world’s leading publisher of permaculture books, magazines and digital media since 1990. www.permaculture.co.uk 01730 823311

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Cassie Langstraat
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Hey everyone. What a sad day for the permaculture community.

Permaculture Magazine, North America is doing a big tribute spread in our next issue for Bill. We are hoping to get short quotes from folks about Bill to put in the spread.

If anyone wants to leave a quote about him here in this thread, feel free. And then if you don't mind me using it for the magazine, maybe you could just leave a tiny note at the bottom that says *PMNA Permission Granted

 
Josephine Howland
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So sad.  I am just finishing up chapter 8, soils in his Permaculture, A Designer's Manual.  I couldn't afford to buy the book, but luckily my library was able to find it for an inter library loan.   He was such an inspirational man, and will be remembered for all of his good works.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Destiny Hagest wrote:[

Bill Mollison left a mark on this world that won't soon be forgotten. His closest friends and family have asked that the world honor him by planting a tree to remember him by. If you share images of your tree for Bill online, please use the hashtag #PlantedForBill.


I'll be planting a tree but like many others, don't have the ability to use a hashtag anywhere.  How ever many trees can be counted via the hashtag thing, just know there will be hundreds if not thousands more trees not on the official list.
 
Ty Morrison
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Sigh.

To all good things there is an end. 

Bill's work changed my life and views in so many ways.

Even his age was a beautiful pattern of a life well lived, "88" infinity twice over?

I will definitely plant a food tree (or two) in his honor.

It is now our turn to carry the flag into battle.

Let us hope that our swords, beaten into plowshares, will feed the world in abundance.
 
Jerry McIntire
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Ty wrote, "Even his age was a beautiful pattern of a life well lived, "88" infinity twice over?"

Yes, and what that means to me is that Bill's life is a good thing that never will end. His work goes on in the hearts and the lives of all of us who appreciate and have benefitted from the sustainable design movement that he founded and nurtured.
 
Robert Jordan
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May he rest in peace. God bless hom.
RJ
 
R Hasting
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Yesterday, I watched three hours of Bill teaching a PDC in 1995. He had a wicked sense of humor and really seemed to enjoy life. He was clearly an amazing man that created an insurrection that could not be stopped. There should be a special place in heaven for a man that can create a system that revolves around the golden rule like he did. Goodbye Bill, there are rumors that you have died. I know that they are lying.
 
Pen Else
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My trees aren't ready yet, but I've been growing many from seed because of his inspiration.  I'm going to grow and guerilla-plant many food-trees and shrubs every year, and every one will be #PlantedforBill.

As a slight aside as to how my mindset has changed in the last year of learning about Permaculture - I've been watching The Walking Dead, a favourite - and looked at shots of Alexandria and thought "Jayzus, look at all that lawn along your streets, it should all be food forest."
 
Richard Force
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I'm just now hearing about Bill Mollison and have to say it's a sad thing to hear I've never been one to say I had heroes in my life but Bill was that exception. So I find this as a heavy blow and I don't know what I'll do right now but what ever I do it will be for the one of few persons I can truly say was a hero in my eyes.

So when I get my own plot of land I will not be dedication the first tree to Bill instead I will dedicate the first food forest.

I had already planned on dedicating a tree for each of my children (5 of them) but they will be part of my personal Bill Mollison Memorial.

 
bob day
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I think whether we know it or not, we have all been inspired either directly by his example, or indirectly through people who were inspired by him. I can only think that every Permaculture thing I do at any time will always be in some way a direct  honor to his memory.

I can't help but imagine whatever plane of existence he is on (even if it's just in our memories) that he is prodding and laughing and inspiring us on to greater and greater things.
 
Daniel Quinn
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Please add verses to this song, and post them here.


SONG Walk with me Bill Mollison
Bill Bill Bill Molison
Walk over here, where the water's crystal clear
Bill Bill Molison
not over there where the waters dirty
...
come over here where the air is sweet to breath
bil bil molison
not over there where the airs polluted bill

come over here where the foods abundant
not over there wheres there's war and famine

SONG Walk with me Bill Mollison
 
Nick Ritar
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Vale Bill.

Local media in Australia has been covering Bill's passing"

The ABC (The Australian Broadcasting Corporation our main public broadcaster) had this article the day after he passed.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-26/tributes-flow-in-for-permaculture-father-bill-mollison/7878118 and http://www.abc.net.au/site-archive/rural/legends/stories/4_1.htm

It was also covered on Radio National with this interview with David Holmgren.
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/blueprintforliving/vale-bill-mollison/7887872


 
Cassie Langstraat
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Just a few months before Bill passed, we did an interview with Stuart Muir Wilson, one of Bill's grandsons. The interview is pretty heavily focused on Bill's influence and impact on Stuart. We published it in our second issue, but thought it'd be good to share online right now as well.


From Stuart in the interview: "One of the greatest lessons from my grandfather was the lesson of empowerment through the theory and practice of permaculture education and the powerful contribution it has had, and will further make, towards saving humanity and protecting the earth for generations to come."


Stuart Muir Wilson Interview: Lessons Handed Down From His Grandfather, Bill Mollison



 
Simon Koreshoff
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Bill Mollison was a great Australian. Here is an obituary that appeared in the Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/10/bill-mollison-obituary
I particularly like this bit: Other characteristics that he observed in the Tasmanian wilderness informed permaculture, for instance that the interfaces between different habitats are the most productive and that elements such as plants and animals need to be placed together so they are mutually beneficial – as once when he pointed out: “You don’t have a slug problem, you have a duck deficiency!”
Vale Bill Mollison
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Today, Charlie Mgee of Formidable Vegetable Sound System posted a lovely video song for Bill.

Unfortunately, so far I can only find it on Facebook:  Trees Eat Us All in The End - Tribute to Bill Mollison. (I think that link will get you there.)

I couldn't help it:  the song makes me think of the poop beast thread and Paul's podcast with Maddie Harland about natural burials.

#plantatreeforbill

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Formidable Vegetable Sound System FB screenshot Trees Eat Us All in The End - Bill Mollison Tribute
 
Thekla McDaniels
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won't play for me.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:won't play for me.


Did you try this link?

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Unfortunately, so far I can only find it on Facebook:  Trees Eat Us All in The End - Tribute to Bill Mollison. (I think that link will get you there.)



(The image at the bottom with the play button, is just an image.)
 
Thekla McDaniels
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The link did work for me.  I was trying to play the image with the arrow in it.  It is a lovely tribute for  a man who was so generous..
 
Charlie Mgee
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Hi folks, I've uploaded the video to YouTube. Feel free to share:



Rest in Pea-Straw, Bill. X
 
Tracy Wandling
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Bill passed away on the first day of our PDC. It was one of those things that really tugged at my heart strings, and made me sad for the world. But I'm so glad that he will live on and continue to spread his ideas via the internet. It is one of the reasons that I want to become a permaculture teacher - to continue his good works and help people along on their journey toward resilience and abundance. I'll definitely be thinking of him as I plant my trees, my garden, and make my home a safe and resilient little slice of paradise.

I was introduced to Permaculture via this video:

 
Karlos Basak
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this is just now news to me.... hmmm.
I want to ruminate on this pivotal person's life for some quiet time now, but I don't want to leave without saying that he will live on through his gifts to us!
 
Daniel Quinn
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Bill Song pt 2

one evening as the sun went down and the swagman's bushfire's burning
down the path came bill molison hiking and he said boys i'm not turning
i'm headed for a land that's far away
beside the swale fed fountain
some come with me we'll go and see the permaculture mountain

in the permaculture mountain there's a land that's quite all' roit
where the jackfruits grow in bussells, and you grille out everynight
the jumbucks grow on pastergrass, yet errosion goes away
there's abundant yeild which is  psycic sheild you have to swing your machette
to get up the hill, in the permaculture mountain

in the p m
the designers all recline
the nitrogen iz fixed by beans, and we all drink homebrew wine
the soil health iz on the rise and malnutrition fades away
there are plenty of jobs, but we look like slobs, we will build a vermaculture
with blacksoilderfly grobs
in the p m

on the p m
the hugelbeds are full of sticks
and all the kids drink elderflower and the livestocks don't get sick
the willow trees build coppise fence and the locust pods are sweet
you increase the edge and grow boocoo veg the concrete is broken with
sledgehammerhedge
in the p m

AUDIO VERSION:
https://archive.org/details/DeadnettlezHelloMasonobaPermacultureMountain

 
Craig Dobbson
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Charlie  and Hugo collaborate on a new version of the song "trees eats us all":


 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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