Here’s one definition of permaculture, by ecologist and co-creator of permaculture, Bill Mollison:
“Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.“ —Bill Mollison
Here are some reflections on What’s Permaculture? from the National Diploma Gathering of the Permaculture Association in Nov 2014. The first speaker is Lausanne Tranter, co-ordinator of Transition & Permaculture Hull.
The Permaculture Association Website has some useful links to help you explore What’s Permaculture?
Basics of Permaculture https://www.permaculture.org.uk/knowledge-base/basics
Principles of Permaculture https://knowledgebase.permaculture.org.uk/principles
More information at Knowledge Base https://knowledgebase.permaculture.org.uk/
The Guardian obituary of Bill Mollison, ecologist and one of the co-creators of permaculture, gives a good insight into permaculture. Bill was born 4 May 1928 and died 24 September 2016. Here is a link to his obituary in the Guardian, written by Matt Dunwell, with accompanying photo. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/10/bill-mollison-obituary
The following article about Bill Mollison by Andrew Martin (editor of Oneness Publishing and author of Rethink …Your World Your Future… http://onenesspublishing.com/rethink/) contains 12 thought-provoking quotes.
12 Quotes in Remembrance of the Father of Permaculture – Bill Mollison (1928 to 2016)
With so many environmental, social, economic and energetic issues and challenges facing humanity, it seems like the problems are overwhelming. Yet there was one man who clearly understood how the world’s problems could be solved. That was Bill Mollison. Mollison along with co-founder David Holmgren set out a clear guide and blueprint for moving forward sustainably. Mollison born in 1928, co-founded the global permaculture movement, passed away recently ago in his home in Tasmania, Australia.
Mollison understood that the only way forward for humanity is to work in harmony with our natural systems. Mollison along with co-founder David Holmgren developed a system of design that can effectively solve all the worlds problems. Since Mollison and Holmgren wrote the original book, Permaculture One, in 1978, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people have been trained as permaculture designers and trainers globally.
Mollison considered the ‘father of permaculture’, understood the value of integrated systems of design which encompassed everything from agriculture, horticulture, architecture, and ecology, as well as economy and legal systems for businesses and communities. Much of the work done by Mollison centered around utilising patterns and mimicking natural ecosystems to provide self-maintaining habitat and regenerative ecosystems. These systems also produced significant yields in food, energy and water. The overriding core tenets of permaculture are: Care for the earth, Care for people and Return of Surplus.
The below quotes from Mollison illustrate his common sense approach to sustainability and his deep understanding of the natural world. Rest in Peace Bill Mollison…..
“Wealth is a deep understanding of the natural world.”
“The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves.”
“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”
“Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Without permanent agriculture there is no possibility of a stable social order.”
“I teach self-reliance, the world’s most subversive practice. I teach people how to grow their own food, which is shockingly subversive. So, yes, it’s seditious. But it’s peaceful sedition.”
“The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”
“Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.”
“The American lawn uses more resources than any other agricultural industry in the world. It uses more phosphates than India and puts on more poisons than any other form of agriculture.”
“If we lose the forests, we lose our only teachers.”
“Permaculture principles focus on thoughtful designs for small-scale intensive systems which are labor efficient and which use biological resources instead of fossil fuels. Designs stress ecological connections and closed energy and material loops. The core of permaculture is design and the working relationships and connections between all things.”
“The important thing is not to do any agriculture whatsoever, and particularly to make the modern agricultural sciences a forbidden area – they’re worse than witchcraft, really.”
“We’re only truly secure when we can look out our kitchen window and see our food growing and our friends working nearby.
Here are some more reflections on What’s Permaculture? from the National Diploma Gathering of the Permaculture Association in Nov 2014.
Permaculture Responds – inspiring stories about permaculture – is a new series of short films shot for the Permaculture Association by permaculture filmmakers at projects across England during 2021.