Permaculture provides us with a spectrum of techniques and methods for improving our quality of life, and they all work by redesigning our habitat and lifestyle so as to minimise energy use and optimise our resilience.
These practical ways of ensuring our survival enable us to move beyond recycling and nature conservancy into a deeper shade of green.
This week Green Planet FM features a three-way interview, with Finn Mackesy and Gary Marshall joining Dennis Frank to tell listeners about their role in developing permaculture in Aotearoa.
Topics start with various definitions of permaculture, and range through the role of design in our lives, Finn Gary's personal histories in the field, the community and educational services provided by Auckland Permaculture workshop, and their current expansion plan and strategy.
Wikipedia informs us that permaculture integrates ecological design with sustainable systems thinking and traditional practices proven to have ensured the survival of tribes, families and communities for long time periods without ecosystem destruction in their bioregions.
It draws from several disciplines including organic farming, integrated farming, agroforestry, sustainable development, and applied ecology.
The primary agenda of the movement has been to assist people to become more self reliant through the design and development of productive and sustainable gardens and farms. However in more recent years the trend has been towards the greening of cities and towns, to make the urban habitat more livable and satisfying, and more inclusive of nature.
Permaculture design asks these questions in each specific situation:
Where does this element go? How can it be placed for the maximum benefit of the system?" To answer this question, the designer must optimise the useful connections between all components of the design so as to generate optimal synergy in the composite system that the design produces.
This is a good example of applied holism, where the focus is on how the parts configure in the creation of the whole, and catalyse the emergence of new valuable features in the operational system and resilient habitat
Permaculture design therefore seeks to minimize waste, human labor, and energy input by building systems with maximal benefits between design elements to achieve a high level of synergy.
Permaculture designs evolve over time via these dynamic relationships and elements and can become extremely complex systems that produce a high density of food and materials with minimal input.
How has permaculture transformed traditional gardening? Designing microclimates into your living environment enables you to grow marginal plants better.
Find out how to build soil so that it becomes more productive. Survival skills like this are increasingly important now that we can no longer rely on the global trade of goods.
After the interview there's a report on recent developments in solar power, including this country's first zero-energy and how you can monitor it's performance online.
Green Planet FM, keeping you up to date with all things green.
* Image courtesy Permaculture Principles