"The philosophy of permaculture is of protracted thoughtful observation rather than protracted thoughtless action; of looking at systems in all their functions, rather than asking only one yield
by Nathan Shannon
Permaculture Design Course Topics:
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962)
The Environmental Ethic:
1. Live in harmony with nature;
2. Preserve and learn from the natural places of the world;
3. Minimize the impact of man-made chemicals on natural systems;
4.Consider the implications of all human actions on the global web of life.
Charles Birch and John Cobb, The Liberation of Life: From the Cell to the Community (1984)
Six Principles of Natural Systems
1. Nothing in nature grows forever. There is a constant cycle of decay and rebirth.
2. Continuation of life depends on the maintenance of the global biogeochemical cycles of essential elements, in particular carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, and phosphorus.
3. The probability of extinction of populations or a species is greatest when the density is very high or very low. Both crowding and too few Individuals of a species may reach thresholds of extinction.
4. The chance that a species has to survive and reproduce is dependent primarily upon one or two key factors in the complex web of relations of the organism to its environment.
5. Our ability to change the face of the earth increases at a faster rate than our ability to foresee the consequence of change.
6. Living organisms are not only means but ends. In addition to their instrumental value to humans and other living organisms, they have an intrinsic worth.
Bill Mollison, Permaculture: a Designer’s Manual (1988)
The Prime Directive of Permaculture: the only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children’s.
Principle of Cooperation: cooperation, not competition, is the very basis of future survival and of existing life systems.
The Ethical Basis of Permaculture:
Rules of Use of Natural Resources:
Life Intervention Principle: In chaos lies unparalleled opportunity for imposing creative order.
Law of Return: Whatever we take, we must return, or Nature demands a return for every gift received, or The user must pay.
Directive of Return: Every object must responsibly provide for its replacement. Society must, as a conditions of use, replace an equal or greater resource than that used.
A Policy of Responsibility (to relinquish power):
The role of beneficial authority is to return function and responsibility to life and to people; if successful, no further authority is needed. The role of successful design is to create a self-managed system.
Categories of Resources:
Policy of Resource Management:
A responsible human society bans the use of resources which permanently reduce yields of sustainable resources, e.g. pollutants, persistent poisons, radioactives, large areas of concrete and highways, sewers from city to sea.
Principle of Disorder:
Order and harmony produce energy for other uses. Disorder consumes energy to no useful end. Neatness, tidiness, uniformity, and straightness signify an energy-maintained disorder in natural systems.
Law of Entropy (Asimov): The total energy of the universe is constant and the total entropy is increasing.
The Basic Law of Thermodynamics (Watt): Energy can be transferred from one form to another, but it cannot disappear, or be destroyed, or created. No energy conversion system is ever completely efficient.
Principle of Cyclic Opportunity: Every cyclic event increases the opportunity for yield. To increase cycling is to increase yield. Cycles in nature are diversion routes away from entropic ends-life itself cycles nutrients-giving opportunities for yield, and thus opportunities for species to occupy time niches.
Types of Niches:
Principle of Stress and Harmony: Stress may be defined as either prevention of natural function, or of forced function; and (conversely) harmony as the permission of chosen and natural functions and the supply of essential needs.
Principle of Stability: It is not the number of diverse things in a design that leads to stability, it is the number of beneficial connections between these components.
Set of Ethics on Natural Systems:
Information as a Resource: Information is the critical potential resource. It becomes a resource only when obtained and acted upon.
Practical Design Considerations:
Definition of System Yield:
System yield is the sum total of surplus energy produced by, stored, conserved, reused, or converted by the design. Energy is in surplus once the system itself has available all its needs for growth, reproduction, and maintenance.
The Role of Life in Yield:
Living things, including people, are the only effective intervening systems to capture resources on this planet, and to produce a yield. Thus, it is the sum and capacity of life forms which decide total system yield and surplus.
Limits to Yield:
Yield is not a fixed sum in any design system. It is the measure of the comprehension, understanding, and ability of the designers and managers of that design.
Undistributed Surplus is Pollution:
Any system or organism can accept only that quantity of a resource which can be used productively. Any resource input beyond that point throws the system or organism into disorder; oversupply of a resource is a form of chronic pollution.
|Bill Mollison Online PDC: http://www.networkearth.org/perma/culture.html|