Instant culture or Permaculture? Permaculture is not gardening.
It is clear what culture we've chosen as an industrialist nation of the West. Instant, like now, like no kidding, like KD Lang sings "I want it all" right now dammit. Another demand is it has to be cheap. Such cheapness that it becomes disposable, but is it really? The other side of disposable is garbage, we are drowning in garbage, which we have addressed in the last Carbon Economy Series workshop on Zero Wast. To give an example a tool like a spade had value, it was made with high quality materials crafted to last and passed on to our children. That no longer exists, instead, we will buy a dozen spades in our life time that break and end up in our ever increasing land fills. We are energy hogs here in the United States and we have completely lost touch of natural cycles, natural laws and systems of life. Petroleum and dynamite have corrupted our vision, our power of observation, our reflection and our interaction with nature and the web of life. We are blown out of scale when it comes to living sustainably on our earth today. This energy addiction to non renewable energy has polluted our home, exploited our people and altered our climate.
What would you rather have, instant culture or permanent culture? The contraction of these two words is what was coined as Permaculture design by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren who traveled the world looking at the relationship of humans with their environment and noted the principles of those that were more successful and sustainable through time and space. Perhaps you've heard the word before or maybe not. Permaculture is not gardening. Permaculture design uses gardens as a design feature and uses gardens as a demonstration of the design principles that govern this ethical based system. The ethics of Permaculture design are simple: love people, love the planet and use all our skills and effort to do the first two well so that there is yield for future generations. In other words, a way of living that seamlessly integrates humans into the natural cycle of life in such a way that perpetuate life by mimicking nature, creating more with less and working smarter rather harder. Each action is informed by long, sustained, hard observation of what is there and shaped by an inventory of resources and needs that are at the core of design. Very different from the instant culture that we live in. The huge energy available from petroleum and dynamite have allowed us to move beyond time and space at such an accelerated rate that it has us believe and that we, as a unique species, do not have to follow natural laws or natural patterns. In fact, it has created an arrogance and a feeling of superiority over nature and each other such that we are hurling ourselves towards extinction. In the name of progress and science we have polluted, contaminated the waterways and oceans, we have changed face of the planet, exploited natural mineral deposits and created a consumer based society that cannot be sustained nor can it be exported, yet it is, at the peril of thousands of species including our own.
Permaculture is a sustainable design science rooted in observation of nature and providing solutions to some of our most pressing problems. The same branching pattern that's found in tree is also found in a river, in your heart, and numerous other places. That pattern maximizes edge (surface area for exchanging information or nutrients), increases diversity and serves a whole range of other functions. The very concepts of diversity increasing stability of natural living systems and edge increasing diversity are core permaculture teachings. A common example of biomimicry is velcro, which was invented by an engineer who removed burrs from his dog, and noticed how the small hooks on the burr grabbed to his dog's fur. Another great example is better packaging designs. Have you ever considered how nature packages orange juice inside an orange? Permaculture design has us look for multiple solutions to one problem and find one element to provide more than one function, in addition to doing more with less and using problems as the solutions. This way of designing requires less inputs for more yield and decrease our need for energy allowing biological solutions instead of man made chemical ones and using simple common sense before implementing high tech solutions.
Learn the basics of Permaculture design isn a fun setting, learn the core values, how to apply natural patterns and keep on track by looking at the indicators of sustainability. Bring your own home, business or community as a site to apply what you have learned during class. Walk out with an initial master plan for sustainability of your very own site with expert peer review. Permaculture Boot Camp March 15, 2013 at 7-9pm cost $10, Saturday and Sunday March16,17 2013 from 9:30- 4:00 pm, cost $175 for each or $300 for all three events at the SFCC in the Jemez room. Look us up www.carboneconomyseries.com or for mare information call 505 819-3828.