“We are nature, working.” -Penny Livingston Stark
The pivotal example often given is the forest- no one has to plow the forest or fertilize the forest or weed the forest. It's a integrated, self-sustaining system. So the idea is to great productive human landscapes that integrate our activities with the natural world.
At it's core, the ethics of permaculture are care to for the earth, care for people, and a commitment to sharing the surplus. Through careful and long observation of natural systems, folks have outlined some of the guiding principles that we can perceive in nature's design process, and we list them and call them permaculture principles.
1. Relative Location Each site or landscape presents its own unique opportunities, needs, and challenges. We have to design for the site, not for ourselves. Start with the site.
3. Each important function is supported by many elements Building redundancy into the system provides backup plans for each function- minimizing maintenance and input. For example, the important task of water preservation and storage may be served by water stored in the ground table, a pond, a rain barrel or cistern, and the well.
4. Conservation of energy I won't call nature lazy, but you definitely won't catch her carrying water uphill. With this principle, we're taking into account zones: which reflect human usage (not putting herbs you want to cut for each meal at the far end of the property) and sectors-factors in the landscape, like sun exposure, slope, the behavior of water, and using these factors to your advantage rather than trying to change them.
the next post.
Note: These photos were taken at Bear's Den in January. I'm now in Burkina Faso in a very different landscape...so this is a sweet little taste of home.