Permaculture is formation of sustainable systems on the basis of cooperation with nature. It is based on observation and use of natural cycles, bonds and relationships for designing everything we need for life: active and healthy food production, our housing systems providing energy and even human communities themselves. The aim is to improve the quality of life linked with the environment and nature-friendly. Permaculture uses ancient traditional practices but also modern technology and knowledge of contemporary science.
Permaculture is a set of instructions, a technique, a mindset and lifestyle... all in one. It is on each of us what we decide to assert in our everyday life from this system. Permaculture is formation of sustainable systems on the basis of cooperation with nature. It is largely based on observations and use of natural cycles, linkages and relationships and takes advantage of everything we could effectively, creatively and consciously connect and use within the frame of our life with great concern towards nature.
The aim of such conduct is a higher quality of life; producing healthy food, quality housing, which is also incorporated into nature in terms of design, and without much intervention. Support of systems providing energy to independent human communities is also to be linked with nature and natural environment, using ancient techniques as well as modern technology and knowledge of contemporary science.
Permaculture seeks, locates and offers solutions for current and future ecological crisis, which threatens the well-being of expanding world population already today and will probably threaten its continued survival in the future. Within a few generations, we will run out of fossil fuels and such a situation will return us to the principles of system design which can be observed in nature and in pre-industrial societies.
Basic Permaculture Principles
Three Ethic Rules of Permaculture
- Care of the Earth: We cooperate with nature; we intertwine with its cycles; let's not drain her resources and clog it with waste. We strive for sustainability of everything created by man on Earth.
- Care of humankind: This way of life does not mean privations; we substitute the consume way of life with something of higher quality. Emphasis on interpersonal relationships, creativity, happiness and beauty.
- Fair division. Let's share our excess wealth.
Other Permaculture Principles:
- respect for the laws of nature
- ethical treatment of natural resources
- using locally available resources
- Care of the Earth
- Care of other people
- connecting multiple elements into a single functioning whole
- maximum efficiency with minimum input energy
- diversity and originality
- positive and creative approach to troubleshooting
- sharing excess resources
- generating only recyclable waste
- effort to make life simple and more joyful
The concept of permaculture is based on observing and imitating a stable ecosystem where cooperation with nature prevails, based on understanding of all contexts. It is about creating a system in which everything cooperates and we can observe it joyfully. Nature is powerful and perfect. It is about understanding the "immune system" of a garden. The basis is taking care of the soil on which everything is built; we appreciate all the helpers hidden underneath the soil surface, without aggressive interventions such as digging, ploughing, careless watering, pesticides and fast-dissolving fertilizers. The most natural way of maintaining a microworld in order is mulching.
Mulching is natural process. Leaves fall from trees and remain under them, grass dies in autumn and stays in place. And so it is common and normal in nature.
- it protects the surface from drying, it reduces the need of the soil to be watered
- it prevents most weeds from growing
- it creates a perfect microclimate for soil life and plant roots
- it is capable of degrading into humus soil and helps create new earth
- it is an excellent form of recycling plant waste and remains
- it saves the man a lot of hard work with maintaining the areas between the plants
- thanks to all of the aforementioned qualities, you can also grow plants where they didn't want to grow before.
Mulch is placed primarily on land that is either bare or poorly fertile, dries quickly and gets overgrown by plants which are undesirable in such an amount. We put organic material on the surface (straw, grass clippings, tree bark, vegetable waste, etc.), it is also possible to use unprinted cardboard boxes and carpets made from natural materials for this purpose, without adding artificial fibres. It is good to plant the plants we grow even earlier before mulching, put a stick near them and cover their surroundings with a chosen material, which eventually creates a rich fertilizer for the land and also represents plant nutrition. In addition, mulch does not allow the growth of weeds or pests and it will naturally support the ecosystem.
It is an ecological term indicating the development of the ecosystem over time and changes in the composition of its communities. We distinguish between the so-called primary succession, set in the new territory (i.e. escribing the formation of communities) and secondary succession, which deals with development in existing communities - for example, overgrowth of artificially induced and unmanaged grasslands. Individual stages of the successional development towards sustainability can not be achieved in one leap, in terms of evolutionary development with several intermediate stages, the formation of a sustainable world is a challenge for many generations. If we leave the ploughed field fallow, the freed space will be quickly occupied by the first fast-growing invasive weeds. Their activities will create conditions for perennial herbs, and after a few years even he first shrubs and trees, then a young forest, in whose shadow weeds or perennial plants will not flourish. However, there will be other types of trees growing, if the ecosystem doesn't get disturbed, over time they will become a mature forest with stable climatic conditions.
Four Stages of Our Society
Industrial society – is characterized by the growing consumption of fossil fuels, it is an era of construction when the material wealth of the society grows.
Scarce industry – needs to overcome long-term reduced availability of fossil fuels and consequently also other resources.
Gatherer society – needs to make do entirely without oil coal and natural gas; it begins to recycle the remains of industrial society.
Ecotechnical (sustainable) society - doesn't have fossil fuels or remains of industry to recycle, functions entirealy on the basis of reusable resources.
Only at the moment when most industrial structures and artefacts will be exhausted or recycled will there be conditions suitable for emergence of a sustainable society. These factors will have fundamental influence on the everyday life of the future society. We should keep in mind that actual prices of energies and food will grow in the long-term perspective, but household incomes will rather decline. Money may lose its value or availability fast; there may even be blackouts in the supplies of gas, oil or coal.
The development of technical civilization probably heads towards sustainable society by the pace with which we consume limited stock of fossil fuels. That is why we should be more aware and start working to improve the quality of our lives and housing in accordance with nature. Each of us has something to offer to others; we have many talents that we cannot develop in the current societal paradigm because their outcomes are not marketable in common markets as we know them.
The economic depression and decaying condition of society have created an environment for the need of change. Each of us has many needs we have resigned on often because of financial reasons. Money is only useful when people think it uselful; the usefulness of money means that the seller believes that they will buy something they deem valuable or needful for the profit.
Most of us want to be useful for something, belong somewhere, experience joy of meaningful relationships. And that is why LETS - LOCAL EXCHANGE TRADING SYSTEM) has been concieved. This new societal agreement means that for services or goods received we offer other services or goods.
Histori of LETS
The term LETS (Local Exchange Trading Systems) was coined by Michael Linton in 1983; Linton founded the Comox Valley LET - a system in British Columbia and Canada. The system was formed as a supplement to the national currency, not as its replacement; and it has been on until today. At present, there are many LETS working throughout Europe, North America, Australia, Asia and Africa.
Important Personalities of Permaculture
Bill Mollison -he is Australian and he is considered the founder of the permaculture concept that he created together with David Holmgren, the co-author of the first systematic paper on permaculture called Pemaculture one: A Perennial Agriculture for Human Settlements. He is also author of many other books and practical guides on permaculture design.
David Holmgren – comes from Australian Tasmania and he is the co-founder of permaculture and student of Bill Mollison's. The book Permaculture one was formed on the basis of his Diploma Thesis.
Franklin Hiram King – was an American scientist dealing with agriculture; he studied traditional agrarian procedures in China, Korea and Japan.
Masanobu Fukuoka – was a Japanese farmer, a pioneer of the "lazy" method; he paid atention to what can be omitted and not done.
Sepp Holzer – is an Austrian farmer applying permaculture, specializing in micro-climates in conditions with low temperature, around 4°C; he uses a system of ponds, wind-breaks and large rocks to this end.
Permaculture us a big complex of principles and partial procedures in individual areas:ecosystem, growing, applying alternative housing resources, in construction of low-energy houses and using sustainable resources. Thus it connects many societies of people who form support communities for this complex and mutual interaction with nature and among themselves.