Permaculture is a discipline which takes the knowledge of nature’s resilient and regenerative systems and mimics the connectivity of its elements to create sustainable and prosperous human settlements. It is an integration of many skills and disciplines, brought together to consider ways of living sustainably in the 21 st century, but is best known as a landscape design system, a portmanteau of “permanent’ and ‘agriculture’. However, permaculture has moved beyond just a focus on regenerative landscape design, to include perspectives of all human systems. It seeks to manifest a more ‘permanent culture’ by examining the purpose and structure of these systems; economics, education, technology, spirituality etc. and considers ways that these could be better designed to align with sustainable principles and ecological limits.
At its core, permaculture is guided by the ethics of earth care, people care and fair share.
Earth care, the first of the ethics, asks us to recognise our place in Nature and to respect and preserve the biodiversity of the planet that sustains us, so that it can continue to perform the functions that support all life on Earth.
People care, the second ethic, is about considering the wellbeing of people in the decisions we make. It’s about taking care of our community, our friends and family and ourselves, and considering how people-oriented systems can be improved to benefit all humanity.
Fair share, the third ethic, is particularly concerned with equality and social justice. There are two main aspects to fair share; the first is the necessity to place limits on consumption (not to use more than your fair share) and to avoid exceeding natural limits or exploiting others with our choices. The second aspect encourages sharing of surplus resources with others ‘Some for all, forever’ Permaculture invites us to be the solution in the world, to pursue economic, social and ecological justice, which leads to proactive and remedial action towards a more sustainable Earth culture.
Written by Elja Parsons – An excerpt from her post-graduate diploma with Central Queensland University
Miller’s Corner and Permaculture
Miller’s Corner has used the ethics and principles of permaculture in designing a sustainable and ecologically-conscious community. It has been the site for permaculture workshops and will continue to use these principles in its landscape design and build environment.