Talk on Permaculture

Transition Hull Talk on Permaculture: ‘Achieving sustainability by following nature’s patterns’ , Nov 2013

Permaculture can be hard to define, so the first part of the talk looked at some alternative definitions, and some examples, e.g. a comparison of a wild wood, a wheat field and a forest garden. Sustainability was shown to be a key aspect of any permaculture ecosystem.

The principles of permaculture can be grouped under three headings

  • Earth Care
  • People Care
  • Fair-share

and these were discussed with reference to leaving a world fit for our grandchildren to live in.

Practical small changes can be made to everyone’s life to reduce their eco footprint. ‘Every little helps’ as the Transition movement reminds us.  A number of suggestions were presented for discussion, and the summary below includes extra suggestions from the audience.

  • Food:  eat less animal products and processed foods (which are big energy consumers); support local suppliers (to reduce food miles); think about what you are eating and keep yourself informed (just how is pate de fois gras made?); buy fair-trade good when you can’t buy local (eg bananas); eat foods in season, not strawberries at Christmas!
  • Travelling:  do you really need a car in a city? Is there a car share scheme? Make the best use of bikes, buses and other forms of public transport, and walk if it’s not too far.
  • At home:  improve your insulation, turn the thermostat down, wear a jumper, heat one room; use environment-friendly cleaning products (e.g BioD products which are produced locally); change to a renewable energy supplier (eg Ecotricity or Good Energy)
  • Garden:  collect rainwater, have a compost heap and wormery, redesign your garden to grow food, can mix flowers and veg, have herbs by the back door
  • Recycle:  reuse where possible, use charity shops or freecycle to recycle, rescue stuff from skips!
  • Banking:  promote ethical banks and pension schemes, credit unions, timebanks, ethical insurance (eg Naturesave)

An outline of the 12 principles of permaculture design concluded the talk. These are

  1. Observe and Interact
  2. Catch and Store Energy
  3. Obtain a Yield
  4. Apply Self-regulation and Accept Feedback
  5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services
  6. Produce No Waste
  7. Design from Patterns to Details
  8. Integrate rather than Segregate
  9. Use Small and Slow Solutions
  10. Use and Value Diversity
  11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal
  12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change

The talk was given by Lausanne Tranter, who has a Certificate in Permaculture Design and is currently an apprentice on the Diploma course in Applied Permaculture Design. She can be contacted on 07816 141169.

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