Sunday, July 20, 2008

Permaculture Ethics

Permaculture is based on some pretty sound and well-proven foundations. Those foundations are found in the ethics and principles of permaculture.

First ethic of permaculture is
Care of Earth

this is where it all begin for permaculture, rebuilding the natural capital.
Soil building
Increasing organic matter in the soil
Keeping water in the soil
Protecting the soil
Treating soil as a valuable resource
Not degrading it
Not spraying it with chemicals
Not concreting over the top of everything
It extends to care of the landscape and care of the environment.

One of the most interesting things I noticed after I did my Permaculture Design Course (PDC) was the way I viewed the landscape. I could see where to place a swale, where to put a turkey nest dam, prevailing wind directions, how air and water moved across its surface and evidence of what was happening below the surface.

My PDC allowed me to see the landscape through permaculture eyes. It taught me how to read it like a book.

Caring for the soil, the Earth, the environment is crucial. But we all know that, it's just not many of us actually live it.

Next up we have
Care of people
Starting with self, kin and then community.

This reminds us to care for ourselves. Not in some greedy selfish way, but in a way that we honour ourselves as a resource. So many people in permaculture burn out. Volunteerism is rife and often little value is placed on education and teaching. Caring for ourselves means we renew our energies, we take care, we ensure we are resilent and strong for the things that lie ahead for all of us (climate change and peak oil). Then we care for our nearest and dearest, then that spread out into our community. We make connections, we network, we support others. We build community just as we build soil.

Third and final ethic has many names
Fair Share
Reduce consumption
Fair distribution
Redistribution of surplus

It all says the thing - take your fair share, but consider others (see ethics 1 and 2 for clarification on this one!).
We all know how unfairly the world's resources and finances are distributed. We live in a highly inequitable world. A cruel world that uses the poor to support the rich. Ensuring you take responsibility for what you consume and that you take as little as you need ensures you are doing what you can to right this wrong.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

First permaculture groups

Yesterday a group of students from Crystal Waters visited our gardens to take a look through our food production systems and to talk Transition Towns.

They have been at CW for 4 months as part of a residential eco-village course with Max Lindegger.

It was great to catch up with Max and to talk about permaculture and how it has developed over since the 70's.

In 1976 an article was published in a Tasmanian organic gardening and farming magazine which included an interview with Bill Mollison about this new idea "permaculture".

It was probably the very first mention of the concept, this is two years before Permaculture One was published.

Max was in Queensland at the time and contact Bill to invite him up here to do a talk. Max then started Permaculture Nambour - which is most likely the first ever permaculture group.

Max placed an ad in the local paper and held meetings in his home. Geoff Lawton was there (he went on to start Permaculture Noosa which is still going strong - and Geoff continues to promote the formation of pc groups around the world). The idea was to have a permaculture group in every council shire.

The Sunshine Coast has Permaculture Noosa, Permaculture Maroochy and I believe there used to be a Permaculture Caloundra. These reflected the three coast councils - they have now amalgamated into the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, so it's time to look at the formation of Permaculture Sunshine Coast too.

But back to Permaculture Nambour - Nambour is the nearest 'big' town to where I live and I'm planning on relaunching it this spring (sounds like a fashion collection doesn't it?).

Whether its Permaculture Nambour or Transition Town Nambour, I don't know yet. There are a group of people who are interested in being part of it.

It doesn't reflect the council boundaries, but Nambour is set to become somewhat of a sustainability hub in the future, so permaculture certainly has a place there.

I heading up to Crystal Waters in the next week or so to take a look around (haven't been there for a while) and to talk more about permaculture with Max and his group of international students.

It will be interesting to see how this new manifestation of permaculture - in the form of energy descent action planning and transition towns - will unfold for all our futures.