Permaculture: main ideas and principles
Permaculture was officially established in 1978, which makes it a rather young movement, but its origins are derived from organic farming and similar ideas that were present even in 1900s. That moment of official establishment happened when an Australian professor (Bill Mollison) and his graduate student (David Holmgren) published a book named “Permaculture One”, in which they presented an elaborate system of codes and principles directed towards sustainable living and healthy environment. They coined the term “permaculture” which was referred to “permanent agriculture” – an idea that first appeared in 1929 when an American environmentalist and author, Joseph Russell Smith, published his work “Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture” where he elaborated on his experiments with fruits and crops. Masanobu Fukuoka was another big role-model for those two Australians, since his ideas on natural farming were popular all over the world.
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Permaculture was imagined as a system that can help people re-connect with nature, and use natural resources in the best possible way. Designs and patterns found in nature are very important in this philosophy, because only with mimicking and replicating those laws of nature can a man achieve maximum sustainability and benefits, with minimum of resources used or labor put into production. Permaculture seeks to integrate all elements of society, and therefore it can be applied on various fields of human activity – from agriculture and gardening (which are the most popular, but certainly not the only ones!) to natural building, ecology and economy.
Mollison and Holmgren gave numerous lectures and courses over the years, and also published a lot, but there were some things that were solid and constant in their teachings, and those are called the core tenets. There are three of them:
- Care for Earth: this idea is focused on the idea of protection and preservation of our environment and our planet in total, since without a healthy Earth there can hardly be any more people
- Care for the people: idea that focuses on availability of resources to all people, since equality will bring peace and then a happy lifestyle can be achieved
- Return of surplus: the idea of recycling and harvesting waste, or as some call it “the Fair Share” practice, which requires the return of any excess to the system and using only as mush as we need, not more
Holmgren also published a book named “Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability”, where he introduced twelve principles of permaculture. Some of them included the likes of: observe and interact; catching and storing energy; no-waste productivity; small and slow solutions; permaculture guilds design examples; integration of elements; etc.
Nowadays, permaculture can be learned in courses, design schools and lectures, and people only need to have the will to make a change. Vladislav Davidzon, CEO and founder of Regenerative Leadership Institute, which specializes in providing expert courses on permaculture and sustainable living, decided to take it all to the next level, and since 2013 courses from his design school are available for free on their internet website, where people can get all the necessary information about ideas and principles of permaculture.