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As with all evolving ideas put to work, the concept of permaculture is quite a pickle to grasp. The more we dig into it, the more we figure it is heaven on earth regarding the destination of the path mankind seems to be following, by contributing to environmental degradation and climate change.
We can start by looking at it as a philosophy and lifestyle. In its beginnings, it was described as a contraction of “permanent” and “agriculture”, blossoming along with the development of the idea into a more all-embracing mixture of “permanent” and “culture” itself. As an example and to better understand it, just think of it as the opposite of modern agriculture, which is highly mechanized and focused on mass production of certain crops, eyeing profits in an unsustainable way. As a perfect system of symbiosis with nature, in comparison with our industrialized methods, it doesn’t break ecological cycles, degrades soils, and doesn’t rely heavily on fertilizers and abundance of water.
“Permaculture creates a cultivated ecology, which is designed to produce more human and animal food than is generally found in nature.” - Bill Mollison
In a broader sense, it has become a global ethic method for the design of integrated systems, having sustainable development in mind at all times. It aims to emphasize a new outlook on nature and community, working as one.
Through these relationships and a positive approach to change, permaculture seeks to build self-sustainable and resilient communities that aren’t affected by it.
We can look at examples of this life-changing philosophy not only through agriculture but also from everything that is made of biodegradable local material, that is energy efficient and barely has an ecological footprint. In our economy, it translates into the generation of short circuits, social links, solidarity, and community cohesion. It tackles how to grow food, and how to build and create communities whilst minimizing environmental impact. Its principles are being constantly developed and refined by people throughout the world, so let’s join them!
But first, we need to understand the core of permaculture, through these 3 fundamental ethics: Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share. We also need to get inspired by and follow 12 principles that perfectly define the practice. Darren Roberts put them together in a brilliantly flowery way, have a look:
In sum, this type of “regenerative agriculture” focuses, in general, on maximizing outputs by being perfectly adapted to and working as one with nature. It works with, rather than against it. Using the knowledge it provides within its natural cycles, we can mimic nature's natural processes and thrive, going beyond sustainability into a lifestyle of complete symbiosis with earth, not harming it and ourselves like we tend to do. The efforts to nurture and design natural environments, especially our home landscapes, improve and support the local ecosystem in a way that it can be life-giving for generations.
What better way to help save the planet? See you next week!