by guibi


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カテゴリ:Permaculture( 2 )

A quick intro to the principles and ethics of permaculture.

The principles and ethics of permaculture

"We don't want a world fit for our children any more. We want one that's fit for us now!"

I've gone through a bunch of handouts, books and links that I've collected over time, and have put together the following quotes that might serve as a good introduction to the principles and ethics of permaculture:

Why ethics?
For our guidance & inspiration - to give direction to our path, to underlie our
objectives, regardless of occupation. If we state our ethics, we can make
connections with other people with similar views.

Care of the Earth
Includes all living and non-living things (such as animals, plants, air, water, land) - provision for all life systems to continue and multiply - intrinsic value of all things, (not just those that are useful to us, that we can exploit or sell or that we can understand) - all life is connected. Law of necessitous use - leave an otherwise natural system alone unless we have to enter it; if we do, then:
Law of conservative use - use the smallest possible amount of land to meet our needs - (setting voluntary limits to consumption) - reduce waste and hence pollution - do environmental impact analysis of our actions & design to buffer against adverse effects - do energy accounting of our actions & replace at least as much as is used.

Care of People
Make sure all people have access to those resources necessary to their existence - need for a self-determined, equitable and sustainable society – society needs to be ecologically sound and economically viable to protect and promote peoples' health - for the world to be socially just and humane we need clean air, clean water, food, shelter, satisfying employment, meaningful human contact - self- reliance, interdependence and community responsibility.

Choose Limits to Consumption & Give Away Surplus
Frugal and equitable use of resources. The reinvestment of surpluses to further the above aims - this includes money, land, labour, information, etc. Needs not wants.

Take Responsibility
For our own existence and for that of our children - attitude shift: change is not something external to ourselves - not "Someone else ought to do it", but "I'm responsible". Take responsibility for change. Instead of being an observer,
powerless outside the current system, gain self-reliance through achievable
practical solutions - direct action.

Co-Operation, Not Competition
Is the very basis of existing natural systems and of future survival. Create harmony not competition - build self-managing systems - things not forced into a function but doing what they would do naturally - harmony is the integration of chosen natural functions to the supply of essential needs. Permaculture is about interconnections.

The principles provide a set of universally applicable guidelines that can be used when designing sustainable systems. These principles can be used in any climate, and at any scale. They have been derived from the thoughtful observation of nature, and from earlier work by ecologists, landscape designers and others.

☯ Relative location - place things so they work together beneficially.
☯ Each element performs many functions - 101 uses for nettles...
☯ Each important function is supported by many elements -
spread risk and use diversity.
☯ Efficient energy planning - use gravity and put things you
need regularly close by.
☯ Use biological resources - let living systems do the work, in
preference to machines or chemicals.
☯ Cycling of energy, nutrients, resources - reuse, recycle,
return to the earth.
☯ Small-scale intensive systems - use 3-D space and time
creatively to fit more in.
☯ Accelerating succession & evolution - speed up natural systems
by understanding how to they work, and how you can help.
☯ Diversity - including guilds of plants and animals that work
together beneficially to support each others needs.
☯ Edge effects - the most productive space is at the edge of
systems - pond/shore, woodland/field, the margins of society...
☯ Attitudinal principles: everything works both ways.
Permaculture is information & imagination-intensive.
From Introduction to Permaculture, by Bill Mollison & Reny Mia Slay

There are many simple ways that you can reduce your impact on the Earth, and improve your quality of life. Read a permaculture book, attend a course or get involved with local projects to find out more.

Here are some simple steps that you can take right now (if you haven’t already), that will help to reduce your impact on the earth, and reduce the amount of money you need to earn to get by:

☯ Eat less meat, or none at all
☯ Eat less processed food, and more that is locally grown, start your own window-box or garden
☯ Eat ethical and fairly traded for the things you can’t get locally
☯ Eat as large a proportion of your diet in the form of fresh fruit and veg
☯ Support local growers or box schemes, give them a hand
☯ Get rid of your car, take up cycling, (or join a car share scheme / share it with friends.)
☯ Avoid traveling on planes - the most destructive form of transport
☯ Insulate your house and do an energy audit (contact your local council). Wear jumpers in winter.
☯ Install a rain water harvesting system for watering your garden, learn to mulch!
☯ Be an ethical shopper - read the labels and investigate alternatives
☯ Become a recycling maniac, and take pleasure in finding new uses for old things!
by guibi | 2010-07-07 01:11 | Permaculture

Eleven go mad in Dorset and other great stories...

Well, it's taken me a week to get myself sat down in front of the computer to type this, so here goes.
I got back from the UK last Wednesday, and what a time I had!

The first few days were at home in Farnham with sis and the folks. It was great to see them all again and everyone was looking relaxed and well. It was reassuring to see that the dining room table is still the place for heated political debate and putting the world to rights, just like it always was. The volume seems to rise at about the same rate as I remember too. No wonder Dad's starting to lose his hearing! I managed to catch up with Rog & family too which was great.

The other reason I was in the UK was to do a fortnight's Permaculture design course down in lovely Dorset.
The course was hosted at Pat Bowcock's "Ourganics", a debt free and self sustaining business that is a venue for permaculture courses and grows produce to sell to the local community. Our principal instructor was Aranya of Designed Visions. The residential (they provided a field and food, we brought tents) course spanned 14 days and covered all the usual stuff that a Permaculture Design course covers.

If you've read Bill Mollison's Permaculture a designers Manual, there won't be too many surprises, what the course does provide though is an intense and distraction free 2 weeks in which you can reinforce all the stuff that you've read about and studied by yourself. Further, you get to meet a bunch of highly motivated fellow travelers some of whom may well become life long friends or correspondents. Other things that stood out on the Designed Visions course I attended were the location, the field trips and the food. Yes, there was I expecting to lose kilos by the day (on reflection, I've no idea why I expected that. Guess I had this wrong image of scrappy veggie dishes and camp cooking in mind. Couldn't have been further from the truth!). Needless to say lose weight is precisely the opposite of what I did, and if you've seen the pics on my facebook page of late, you'll know what I'm talking about!

Anyway, suffice to say that I had an excellent two weeks, and ended up with a bunch more confidence that what I kind of thought I understood before, I really do now.

I mentioned the field trips. We visited four permaculture-ish projects in the vicinity.

The first was to The Treewise Co-operative, a terrace of thatched cottages run as a coop which aimed to provide a place of peace and learning for children and adults alike. They began their project by buying the cottages and an abandoned apple orchard behind it. Since then, they have restored the orchard, built a permaculture garden, and gradually expanded up the hill as land became available. Now the site covers 7 acres and goes right up to the ridge above the terrace.

The second was FivePenny Farm. This working farm is where the Peasant Evolution Producers Cooperative keep their shared resources, namely their kitchens, fruit presses, stores, dairy and processing rooms. These shared resources are all to be found in the beautiful timber frame barn (right) that the coop members built using local craftsmen and materials.
I was particularly inspired by the fact that this coop now has well over a dozen participating groups on board. When you think that some of the groups involved have a dozen or more members, think how many people that represents. It's fantastic that there's so much actually going on down there, and if it's happening there, it's probably going on all over the country and if that's the case, it's probably going on all over Europe and so on and so on...
Bloody excellent! The post capitalist society has really made a start.

The third place we visited was the Bridport TLC, a community resource & recycling project. There we saw how Bio-Diesel is produced, and learnt how this volunteer-led group is offering solutions to improve the local environment & contributing to a sustainable local economy by supporting all those working towards a more sustainable, climate-friendly environment. The project was started by two street performers and soon grew to offer community workshops, a small business recycling scheme, an arts & crafts scrapstore, rickshaws and other community based projects.

The fourth and, as far as I was concerned, most inspiring visit took us to Blackthorn Farm, a 28 acre, self described "Energy Farm" permaculture project. Yet another member of the Peasant Evolution Producers' Co-Operative, the farm is home to the Rainbow family (how appropriate is that!) who made us feel so incredibly at home that I was ready to doze off in the shade had I not been totally engrossed in talking to Mark Rainbow about all aspects of their project and especially their fantastic house. I'm sure Mark was understating it, but he made the whole self build thing sound like a doddle. What I found particularly cool, other than the design of the place itself, was how they'd managed to get everything ready for a crew of 30 or so friends and volunteers to put the whole building up in a mere 4 day weekend! Amazing.

All in all, it was a great two weeks made all the more special by the others there to teach and study. My special thanks go to Pat for hosting us all, Aranya for putting up with us, Tim, Trish, Izzy, Bokudan, Jo and all the others there who made it such a unique and special time. Thanks guys! See you next time you get out to Japan!
by guibi | 2010-06-15 13:52 | Permaculture


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