Saturday, April 01, 2006

Explaining permaculture

When in the 'about me' I referred to myself as a 'permie', I figured that people who weren't in the know were going to be wondering what the heck that is.

People who practice permaculture refer to themselves as 'permies'. It is so much shorter than to say 'permaculture practitioner'. Plus, it sounds cooler. PLUS, it sounds very australian, which is it.

Here is a brief history.
Two Australians, David Holmgren and Bill Mollison came up with the term permaculture as an alternative to the monocropping agriculture that they saw severely depleting soils, and as a replacement to the way people looked at agriculture philosophically, economically and practically.

If you are not sure if you even want to read further, I say, ok, don't. BUT... if there is anything that could visually make you see where this is heading, check out Geoff Lawton's online video of when they changed the agricultural practice in a part of Jordan by the dead sea. I think you'll be amazed and excited about the ramifications if growing food where there is precious little water is done differently that currently is the case. Please check out Geoff Lawton!

No two permaculture definition is the same because it encompasses many aspects of sustainable living approaches. The one my instructors Dick Pierce and Selwyn Polit gave is ;

An ethical design system for ecological living

For example;

One of the aims is to reforest the Earth. Think for example of mangroves. In certain parts of Asia, cutting away the mangroves has lead to thousands of deaths due to tsunamis. Mangroves are an obstacle of the water and on top sustain a multitude of life.

Another goal is to reclaim the soil. Monocropping practices dictate that fruits and vegetables are grown in straight rows in order to allow machinery to drive in between and pick the food. The paths in between are not mulched which leads to nutritional depletion of the soil from the sun plus the soil gets stirred up and gets lost by way of dust.

Yet another very important one is to grow the food where people live. That one is very significant for local economies and places that have farmer's markets. It makes for healthier grown food (organic plus the longer fruits and vegetables take to your plate, the more nutrition it loses), plus it supports local farmers and diverse growing practices.

A major part of permaculture is ethics. The three major ones is to take care of the earth, care of the people who live on it and give away the surplus.

As you can imagine, practicing permaculture is not solely about growing food organically. It requires a belief system that goes against the current economic thinking. It is not liberal in the literal sense. It is communal and inclusive.

For those of you who live in countries that are economically burdened, or who rely on foreign aid, you can imagine what difference it can make if the outlook of the West changed from market driven, only profit driven system,to one that I would say is more Islamic and takes care of the community. Well, in the Islamic way how it is proposed in the Koran anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

r u sure it's not cause u have a perm, and belong to a community with people with perms?

cause i rather liked that def.! i mean, urs is ok as well, i guess, all eco friendly of u and sustainable and n all...


6:41 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

well, I have to say your definition is so original, consider it an internal perm..i.e. perm twisties of the brain as you have to have some 'twisties' to be thinking sustainable is attainable..
how's that A? =)


7:30 PM  
Anonymous dude said...

ooops, i forgot write dude(tte), it's not really a., its d.



PS: ok, the last bit is getting on my nerves, so we shall dispense with it, its dude... there, laziness got the better of me...

PPS: and no, no one who has lived in the developing world or in the west as well is ever in their right mind going to think sustainable development of any sort works... i am a cynic, and i have seen too many WB & IMF & EU & UN projects on the ground to be anything other than a cynic...

6:26 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

the beauty of permaculture is that it is very grassroots. It's the kind of thing that works from a central location out rather than is imposed from out to in. (have I confused you enough??)
It is also something that the originators Holmgren and Mollison wanted to be something that individuals and communities decide upon rather than imposed by government etc. That is why it works..but you kinda need to read a bit more to understand what I mean. I do agree with you though, those big org's have a way to impede what they supposedly want to accomplish, although there are always exceptions...
btw..are you burnin' from the dryness yet down there in FL?
Be safe,

6:33 PM  
Anonymous dude said...

formerly in fla, not now, currently freezing tail off waiting for spring, though today was pure joy.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

I am researching for tomorrow's story when I saw your post.
I know about freezing tushies..formerly having lived in Ottawa Canada..brrrr.
btw..I checked out the sepia blog,thx! Very interesting and definitely worthwhile going back to.
glad you mentioned it..
if you have any other away!

10:25 PM  
Anonymous dude said...

=), glad u liked..

i forget how i stumbled on to it, but i am quite addicted to sepia. they got us all good on 4.1.06 by pretending they got taken over by cyber squaters..

i like it due primarily to the fact that most, not all, of the commentors are well educated professionals from various fields, though mostly from south asia.

its a learning experince for non south asians i think, lot of idiosyncratic stuff.. but the comments are great.. some get a bit caty and well down right rude and obnoxious, but they could REALLY do with some more non-sAsian commentors.

my advise, start commenting, see how they all react to you. and definitely keep your name, Ingrid, 1) so i know its u =), 2) so they know ur not sAsian...

they get a bit too comfortable sometimes with being around their own fellow sAsians, need a good kick in the pants is what i think..

i am down to rp and sepia and gothamist, engadget and gizmodo and dpreview... just no time, i got rid of all other bad bloging habits... i have recently started flickring too, and that takes up majority of time now...

BAD interwebs, i dont remember what i used to do before.. i think i used to talk to people and go outside.. dont remember.. s-u-c-h a l-o-n-g t-i-m-e ago

PS: then there is my own frigging blog to update as well...

1:18 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

good, I'll check those out as well. And good point about commenting on Sepia. When I perused, I did not go to the comment section so we'll see.I do tend to speak my mind whether it goes against the crowd or not. One blog I do always go to besides RP is Saudi Jeans.
Thanks for keep stopping by btw D..If you do have any comments regarding my style of writing, choice of topics what have you..pls..I do need feedback, positive or the constructive critique kind..
and yes D(!!), do tell me the name of your're allowed now


8:09 PM  
Anonymous dude said...

good lord, dont just peruse, i have spent too long 'perusing' too many blogs, waste of time really, if u dont comment, thats the power of blogs, like me here, writing, its interactive, otherwise we could all go back to reading bbc only.

i almost always check out blogs of commentors if they have links... (um, like i arrived here)

my blog is COMPLETELY different than sepia or rp. its arts and photography... if u flickr, i can give u link to my picts though.

oadn, my profession is compltely unrelated to arts or photography or writing or polital economy..

one must have escapes, even if one must escape from oneself...

PS: i will give u feedback if u really want it...

PPS: i diligently do my entries everyday, no one other than the few i have told about it look at it, and that they do out of fear of me askign if they read it i think.. its a way of expression for me...

12:48 AM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

I will not peruse if I can help it, but I am a wee bit stretched. There are certain days where I have plenty of time to relax and read and comment, then, there are days when I can do things in between. At least I know when those times are (kids at school).

So a photo blog? I'd love to see that. I took so many pictures when I lived in Saudi Arabia. In the divorce with husband #1, he took the negatives which was quite the dumb thing because he ended up staying in that part of the world.
Pictures from the old city of Jeddah (as opposed to the new part); an old village built in the days before air conditioning which made sense (lots of air tunnels, buildings close together)..fascinating.

And yes, (she said with some trepidation), feedback would be good. What if someone checked out the blog and wasn't as friendly as you and said,this sucks, I ain't coming back!

Years ago, after I had been in Canada for a good 3 yrs, someone finally corrected me when I said, "to pig in" , which was really to "pig out".. I felt so stupid that no one ever bothered to correct me when I obviously did not know better. They must have been polite Canadians ...
alrightie, gotta get kiddie #2 up and ready for school..


8:51 AM  

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