The future belongs to permaculture.

So, you’ve heard the term “permaculture” thrown around, but either didn’t feel comfortable asking what it is, or dismissed it as too abstract a notion to implement in your everyday life.

Farming with a focus on sustainability, self-sufficiency, environmental friendliness, and ethics.

As its name implies, permaculture is an all-encompassing lifestyle that promotes ecological sustainability by minimizing waste, optimizing resources, and mixing in some high-tech gimmickry for good measure.

Permaculture was coined by Bill Millison, the son of a fisherman in Tasmania who went on to get a doctorate and teach at a university.

“The conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems that have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems,” he said, summarizing the definition of permaculture.

Increasing numbers of people are turning to permaculture not merely because it raises living standards but also because it provides a source of optimism in a world where so much seems to be in disarray and our very survival seems to be in question.

David Holmgren, who developed permaculture alongside Mollison, formulated its 12 guiding principles. These principles emphasize caring for the environment and the community, as well as distributing any surplus equitably.

Permaculture’s 12 guiding principles

  1. Learn from your experiences and the people around you so you can make ethical and sustainable choices in your daily life.
  2. Grow food and use passive solar energy systems to store energy from the sun.
  3. Produce something useful, whether it’s food from your garden or something more intangible like joy, health, or peace of mind.
  4. Learn from our successes and failures by using self-control and feedback. Simple things like making ethical purchases, recycling, and reusing materials, etc., can make a big difference.
  5. Take advantage of renewable energy sources like the sun, wind, and water to run our households, produce our food, and revitalize our ecosystems.
  6. Don’t throw anything away; instead, reuse, recycle, and compost everything.
  7. Plan everything down to the last detail, whether it’s a new vegetable garden or a radical new approach to eco-friendly living. We should take a step back from the details and consider the bigger picture.
  8. Don’t separate, rather than divide. Plants, like people, thrive in inclusive environments, so using multiple plant species together is highly recommended.
  9. Take baby steps and go slowly. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, it’s best to take baby steps toward a more sustainable future.
  10. Leverage and appreciate variety. Human societies thrive, like plant communities, when they contain a wide range of individuals.
  11. Make good use of margins and edges. This simply implies making good use of the space, facilities, and people at your disposal.
  12. Use and adapt to Change in a novel way. To put ideas into action and transition to a more ethical and sustainable way of life, we must design for the changing seasons, changing attitudes, and changing climate.

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