What is Permaculture?
“Permaculture is a design science. It is a system that supplies all the needs of humanity – all the basic needs and all the intricate needs – in a way that also benefits the environment” – Geoff Lawton
Permaculture is a holistic approach to make systems more and more sustainable by conscious design where the designer works with nature and not against it to benefit humans and at the same time all living beings without harming the environment.
The term ‘Permaculture’ was first coined by David Holmgren, then a graduate student, and his professor, Bill Mollison, in 1978. The word ‘Permaculture’ originally referred to ‘permanent agriculture’ but was expanded to stand for ‘permanent culture’ (which also necessarily includes permanent agriculture) as it was understood that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system.
Why do we need Permaculture today?
Indigenous settlements (all over the world) have proved to be great examples of sustainability for millions of years. The techniques used to grow food were such that they made no loss of soil and water, or harmed Mother Nature in any way. Also, the food grown was highly nutritious leading to a healthy body and mind. In those days, we, as stewards of land, worked hand in hand with nature. Over time, the need to grow more food and to make more profits in a shorter period of time, led us to abuse nature to work FOR us instead of we working WITH her and eventually, we started working AGAINST her.
As a result, today, along with other serious problems of deforestation and pollution, we face the greatest threat to mankind and to the living world – SOIL EROSION.
Soil is the life-giver of living beings for, the very basic need for survival, FOOD, is dependent on healthy, living soil. We have to take up the responsibility to reverse the damage done and bring our earth back to being a sustainable closed system. We need to conserve soil and restore land, if we need to survive as a species. This problem can be addressed and solved only by designing sustainable systems for ourselves to live in by working with nature and not against it. Anyone can contribute towards this goal. We need not wait for the perfect time, simply because the damage done and is being done is so large and rapid that, we, as a species, cannot afford to wait.
The most important thing we could do is TAKE ACTION, and now!
We need to learn from the distant past, improve upon the destructive present and move towards a sustainable and abundant future by conscious design. Permaculture is a powerful tool for us to learn the ways to move forward in a positive direction!
“Permaculture is not a destination, it is a direction”. – Graham Bell