From Dr. Mercola:
Modern industrial farming, deforestation, overfishing, and other unsustainable practices are exhausting Earth’s resources at an alarming rate. More than a billion people have no access to safe drinking water, while 70 percent of the world’s fresh water is going to agriculture.
One organization putting forth a valiant effort to turn this around is the Permaculture Association,1 a national charity whose mission is to promote permaculture across the globe.
Every year, the Permaculture Association holds an International Permaculture Convergence (IPC), where experts from dozens of countries unite with the common goal of preparing for and mitigating our looming ecological crisis.
Their primary goal is clear: creating sustainability through self-reliance. The film “Permaculture A Quiet Revolution” covers the eighth IPC (IPC8), spanning across rural and urban Brazil.
The film illustrates permaculture’s basic design principles, centering on the concept of zones, and the proper placement of elements in a way that ensures maximal output for minimal input.
What Is Permaculture?
Permaculture epitomizes sustainability by harnessing mutually beneficial relationships to create synergistic, self-supporting ecosystems. Its principles incorporate the best of organic, biodynamic, and regenerative agriculture.
According to the Permaculture Institute:2
“Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor.
It teaches us how to design natural homes and abundant food production systems, regenerate degraded landscapes and ecosystems, develop ethical economies and communities, and much more.”
Permaculture is an agricultural system in which the parts of the system are all interconnected, working with nature as opposed to against it. The word “permaculture” derives from “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture.”
The focus is not on any one element of the system but on the relationships among them — animals, plants, insects, microorganisms, water, soil, and habitat — and how to use these relationships to create self-supporting ecosystems.
According to an article in Rodales’s Organic Life,3 the ultimate purpose of permaculture is to “develop a site until it meets all the needs of its inhabitants, including food, water, shelter, fuel, and entertainment.”
Every part of the system plays multiple roles. Permaculture is based on design — it’s not just organic. If the design element isn’t there, it may be green, it may be organic and environmentally sound, but it isn’t permaculture.
Designing by Zone
According to the Permaculture Association, permaculture design is defined as “a system of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all its forms.
It seeks to provide a sustainable and secure place for living things on this earth. The system that accomplishes this is called “zoning,” as illustrated in the following diagram.
Permaculture is much more than a garden or landscape. At its center are you and your house, but its outermost zone is untamed wilderness. Zones are organized in a way that maximizes energy efficiency — activities are sorted by frequency of use, tending, visits, etc.
Without making the colloquial value judgment here — you are “high maintenance!” Meaning, you require the most