The best way to predict the future is to design it.” Buckminster Fuller, visionary, designer, architect, inventor, and American writer.

We ask ourselves every day: how can we satisfy our needs? Permaculture poses a broader question: How can we satisfy our needs as individuals, families, and communities while taking care of the health of nature, its ecosystems, and the different species that compose it?

Image above: Credits to the “Permaculture Principles” website

Permaculture was born in the 1970s from the work of Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. The word permaculture is a combination of the terms “permanent culture” and “permanent agriculture.

Image above: Credits to the “Milkwood” website

Permaculture is, on the one hand, a philosophy of life with a set of 3 ethics and 12 principles, and on the other, an intelligent logic and tools “box” or design methodology, that allow us to plan any human system (farms, villages, etc.). It is also a compilation of techniques and practices (sometimes very simple) collected from all over the world, often in so-called “third world” countries. These techniques have allowed many peoples to survive in places with scarce resources such as water or vegetation.

The 12 Principles of Permaculture

1 – Observe and interact
2 – Catch and store energy

3 – Obtain a yield

4 – Apply self-regulation & accept feedback

5 – Use & value renewable resources & services

6 – Produce no waste

7 – Design from patterns to details

8 – Integrate rather than segregate

9 – Use small and slow solutions

10 – Use and value diversity

11 – Use edges & value the marginal

12 – Creatively use and respond to change

Permaculture is for everyone. We are part of the solution. In permaculture, we closely examine how nature works, studying the different interconnections and interdependencies between plants, trees, insects, birds, people, soil life, etc. Permaculture tells us that everything is connected, the fish to the river, to the rain, to the oak, to the owl, to the fox, to the moss; when we benefit one, we benefit all, and when we harm one, we harm everything and everyone.

Knowing these connections allows us to make decisions that improve our quality of life and that of the nature that surrounds us.

We cannot live on this planet without causing some kind of impact. We consume resources and products that come from afar, generate immense waste, and degrade the health of nature. The health of rivers and streams, the health of soils, plants, animals, and of course, our health as well. Permaculture helps us understand the problems and then see the opportunities and possibilities for solving it. With practice, it becomes much easier to deal with problems and solve them.

Permaculture is design, engineering, physics, biology, anthropology, and architecture combined into one. Obviously, we do not become experts in all these fields just by studying permaculture, but it is possible to acquire solid foundations in these disciplines while gaining perspectives on how we humans fit into this planet.

With these comprehensive foundations, it is possible to begin designing around our life needs while creating positive change.

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Image above: Credits to the “Another Day” website

We can say that with all the “tools” that permaculture gives us, we can “design” or organize a space such as a farm, village, or even an industrial area, in a way that improves the performance of all elements, saving energy and closing cycles, because pollution is ultimately energy in the wrong place.

It is a positive philosophy, and no one remains indifferent when attending a permaculture design course.

Taking care of the earth, because we have to stop mistreating the mother earth and assume a more positive existence;

Taking care of people, because happy and fulfilled people take good care of the planet and their fellow human beings;

Sharing surpluses, because we simply do not need most of what we have or acquire.

What permaculturists are doing is the most important activity that any group is doing on the planet. We don’t know what details of a truly sustainable future are going to be like, but we need options, we need people experimenting in all kinds of ways and permaculturists are one of the critical groups that are doing that.” – Dr. David Suzuki