Permaculture is a creative design process which emulates the processes found in nature in our daily life. Adoption of the philosophy enables the transition from dependent and wasteful consumerism to more ethical food production, land usage and housing.
There are no hard or fast rules to permaculture as its implementation depends upon the environment and natural conditions currently available. However, there are principles or guidelines which can be adopted in order to make the transition. The practical application of the principles has led to some refinement and debate about which are the most important, but there some that are suggested as the basis for designing sustainable systems.
The Principles of Permaculture
Observe and interact: In any environment, it is possible to observed what plants thrive where and what ‘companions’ like to occupy the same space. Observation of which plants attract pollinating insects and other wildlife, where water flows and stagnates, and the effects of wind upon the landscape, will make apparent the natural patterns that can be used within the process of designing a productive and naturally balanced system.
Work with nature, not against it: The observation of natural patterns means that design elements can work with and facilitate nature. Human agriculture has the habit of constantly battling with nature. Why create so much work when harmonious cohabitation is possible?
Use small and slow solutions: There is no denying that humans make a significant impact on the environment they live in. And what a mess they make! Small change is preferable to big change. The principle of observation applies here, small-scale interventions are kinder to nature and their effects can be more closely monitored.
Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
Nature provides its own source of feedback. However, perhaps the most important principle of the design process is self-development, self-regulation and ethical responsibility. The psychology of attitude change has shown how personal attitudes do not often translate into behaviour. Finding yourself a critical friend or two will help in the process of self-regulation and mastery, as long as you’re willing to accept their feedback of course!
Obtain a yield
We all need to eat and drink to live, so creating opportunities for self-sufficient food production is a priority. This principle emphasises the need to design your space in such a way that you maximise opportunities for self-reliance. Yields are not limited to food, but to fibres, dyes, energy sources, aesthetically pleasing spaces, structural materials … the possibilities are only limited by our own imaginations.
More later ……..