What is permaculture and why should you care?

What is Permaculture and Why Should You Care?

July 2019
Written by Zachary Barton

Out of all the different definitions of permaculture that I have heard over the years, a few stick out the most:

  1. A different way of thinking and living.
  2. The application of the principles of ecology in the design of sustainable habitats.
  3. Revolution dressed up as gardening.

The first definition speaks to fact that we are facing challenges unseen by any of our ancestors and that a new paradigm is needed in order for us to be able to come up with solutions and save our asses from extinction.  As our world has changed we also need to change our worldview and especially the way we have been living on this planet Earth, which now struggles to continue to care for all the sentinet beings which call it home.

The second definition is a little more broad and addresses how we can move forward, regenerating our degraded environment and creating an abundant future for all species that call this planet home.  The principles of ecology are the ways in which the earth and nature continually regenerate themselves in a cyclical manner without needing external inputs and without ever destroying the systems and elements it needs to sustain itself.  By applying these principles through design science we have the capacity to be a positive influence on the natural world around us.  Let’s think of ourselves as a “keystone species” capable of improving ecological systems the carry us and all other beings on this earth.

The last definition speaks to the dramatic change that can occur through the application of permaculture.  As many wait for the corporate and nation state entities to develop technologies or legislation to save the earth, the window of opportunity to address the climate crisis slowly closes.  But there are so many things that we can do as individuals and communities that can bring about greater change.  A simple action like growing your own garden and feeding your family is more revolutionary than anything else you could do.  The small and slow solutions are the one’s which have the greatest affect.

To answer the question of why should you care, you only need to take a look around you to see all the problems that we are facing.  Once you see these problems then think forward 10, 20 or even 50 years.  Ask yourself, “who will have to deal with these challenges and what resources will they have to do so”?

Permaculture is not a end in of itself but a model of how we can acknowledge our problems and mistakes and apply practical and effective solutions in our everyday life.  It is a pathway for us to walk on.  One leading to a healthy, happy, free and abundant life for us and future generations.

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