Permaculture Ethics And Design Principles
The foundations of permaculture are the ethics (centre) which guide the use of the 12 design principles, ensuring that they are used in appropriate ways. These principles are seen as universal, although the methods used to express them will vary greatly according to the place and situation. They are applicable to our personal, economic, social and political reorganisation as illustrated in the permaculture flower.
Permaculture Ethics and Design Principles
The short video below is an extract from our Permaculture Ethics and Principles DVD, it gives an overview of how the ethics and design principles relate to each other and how they can be used in a design process.
The ethics earth care, people care and fair share form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies. Ethics are culturally evolved mechanisms that regulate self-interest, giving us a better understanding of good and bad outcomes.
By adopting the ethics and applying these principles in our daily life we can make the transition from being dependent consumers to becoming responsible producers. This journey builds skills and resilience at home and in our local communities that will help us prepare for an uncertain future with less available energy.
Permaculture therefore starts with ethics, which form the very foundations of this design system, and all actions we undertake in Permaculture activities are strictly always in agreement with the ethics of Permaculture.
I appreciate the inclusion of ethics as central to permaculture. Ethics as an integral part of endeavors seems to have fallen by the wayside a bit. Not all presentations of permaculture keep ethics so clearly front and center, as this course does. Thank you.
The discipline of permaculture design is based on observing what makes natural systems endure; establishing simple yet effective principles, and using them to mirror nature in whatever we choose to design. This can be gardens, farms, buildings, woodlands, communities, businesses, even towns and cities. Permaculture is essentially about creating beneficial relationships between individual elements and making sure energy is captured in, rather than lost from, a system. Its application is only as limited as our imaginations.
Imagine the originators of permaculture, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, in the 1970s, seeing the devastating effects of a temperate European agriculture on the fragile soils of an ancient Antipodean landscape. Like the dust bowls of Oklahoma in the 1930s, an alien agriculture has the capacity to turn a delicately balanced ecology into desert. Their initial response was to design a permanent agriculture with tree crops and other perennials inhabiting all the niches, from the canopy to the ground cover and below. The soil is left untilled to establish its own robust micro-ecology. Key to this is that the land must be biodiverse and stable for future generations.
In the context of our urban farm, permaculture is a low energy way to grow lots of food. But the theory can be applied to much more than just your garden design. The 12 permaculture principles can give us pointers towards living a slower and more sustainable life, in and beyond the garden. Each principle can be interpreted broadly, here are just a few examples of how you might apply them to your backyard or to your life.
For those just getting involved in the practice of permaculture, this presentation gives you an inspiring overview of permaculture ethics and design principles that can be applied to every aspect of life.
Following a brief but insightful coverage of the three ethics, Care of the Earth, Care of People and Fair Share, David focuses our attention in turn on each of twelve design principles that underpin the diversity of permaculture systems and solutions. Using simple yet powerful icons, proverbs and examples, David makes the link between the traditional wisdom of the elders and the power of systems thinking.
The Beginning Permaculture (Ethics and Design Principles) online and on demand course will provide you with an introduction to permaculture, allowing you to gain a start in this interesting and beneficial design for loving with plants and animals and the earth.
Permaculture is an approach to land management and settlement design that adopts arrangements observed in flourishing natural ecosystems. It includes a set of design principles derived using whole-systems thinking. It applies these principles in fields such as regenerative agriculture, town planning, rewilding, and community resilience. Permaculture originally came from "permanent agriculture", but was later adjusted to mean "permanent culture", incorporating social aspects. The term was coined in 1978 by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, who formulated the concept in opposition to modern industrialized methods instead adopting a more traditional or "natural" approach to agriculture.
Permaculture has been criticised as being poorly defined and unscientific. Critics have pushed for less reliance on anecdote and extrapolation from ecological first principles, in favor of peer-reviewed research to substantiate productivity claims and to clarify methodology. Peter Harper from the Centre for Alternative Technology suggests that most of what passes for permaculture has no relevance to real problems.
Following the publication of Permaculture One, Mollison responded to widespread enthusiasm for the work by traveling and teaching a three-week program that became known as the Permaculture Design Course. It addressed the application of permaculture design to growing in major climatic and soil conditions, to the use of renewable energy and natural building methods, and to "invisible structures" of human society. He found ready audiences in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Britain, and Europe, and from 1985 also reached the Indian subcontinent and southern Africa. Students of Mollison's Permaculture Design Course (PDC) included Max Lindegger, Lea Harrison, Robyn Francis, and Geoff Lawton in Australia, Tom Ward, Dave Jacke, Michael Pilarski, and Dan Hemenway in the USA, Andrew Langford in Britain, and Declan Kennedy and Margrit Kennedy in Europe. By the early 1980s, the concept had broadened from agricultural systems towards sustainable human habitats and at the 1st Intl. Permaculture Convergence, a gathering of graduates of the PDC held in Australia, the curriculum was formalized and its format shortened to two weeks. After Permaculture One, Mollison further refined and developed the ideas while designing hundreds of properties. This led to the 1988 publication of his global reference work, Permaculture: A Designers Manual. Mollison lectured in over 80 countries and taught the PDC to hundreds of students. Mollison encouraged graduates to become teachers and set up their own institutes and demonstration sites. Critics suggest that this success weakened permaculture's social aspirations of moving away from industrial social forms. They argue that the self-help model (akin to franchising) has had the effect of creating market-focused social relationships that the originators initially opposed.
Permaculture emphasizes patterns of landscape, function, and species assemblies. It determines where these elements should be placed so they can provide maximum benefit to the local environment. Permaculture maximizes useful connections between components and synergy of the final design. The focus of permaculture, therefore, is not on individual elements, but rather on the relationships among them. Properly done, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Permaculture seeks to minimize waste, human labor, and energy input and maximize benefits through synergy.
Permaculture design is founded in replicating or imitating natural patterns found in ecosystems because these solutions have emerged through evolution over thousands of years and have proven to be effective. As a result, the implementation of permaculture design will vary widely depending on the region of the Earth it is located in. Because permaculture's implementation is so localized and place specific, scientific literature for the field is lacking or not always applicable. Design principles derive from the science of systems ecology and the study of pre-industrial examples of sustainable land use. Permaculture draws from disciplines including organic farming, agroforestry, integrated farming, sustainable development, physics, meteorology, sociology, anthropology, biochemistry, engineering, and applied ecology.
Forest gardening/food forests involve systems designed to mimic natural forests. Forest gardens, like other permaculture designs, incorporate processes and relationships that the designers understand to be valuable in natural ecosystems.
The fundamental element of suburban and urban permaculture is the efficient utilization of space. Maximizing the space for food production and minimizing wasted space is important. Wildfire journal suggests using methods such as the keyhole garden to address this issue of space. Neighbors can also collaborate with each other to increase the scale of transformation. Sites such as recreation centers, neighborhood associations, city programs, faith groups, and schools can become part of a larger social and economic movement. Columbia, an ecovillage in Portland, Oregon, consisting of 37 apartment condominiums, influenced surrounding neighbors to implement similar green-minded principles of permaculture, including front-yard gardens. Suburban permaculture sites such as one in Eugene, Oregon, include rainwater catchment, edible landscaping, removing paved driveways, turning a garage into living space, changing a south side patio into passive solar, aesthetic features, detached structures.
The possibilities and challenges for developing suburban or urban permaculture differ greatly as a result of how the built environment is designed and property is treated in particular areas of the world. For example, a study comparing the built environment in Jaisalmer, India, and Los Angeles, United States, concluded that the American planned city is ecologically disastrous: 350c69d7ab