by David Ring
Permaculture is a combination of two words, permanent culture, which evolved from a previous and narrower definition, permanent agriculture.
It is a way of life which nurtures and propagates a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, guided by its three tenets: earth care, people care, and fair share.
Permaculture, according to one of its founders, Bill Mollison, is:
…a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.
The monocrop, a large area of land where only one type of crop is cultivated, is a modern innovation that does not exist naturally. It is an easy way to produce a lot of one type of crop over a short time. But, as time passes, the crop will use up the soils resources and will be unable to grow, which thus necessitates for fertilizers, which provide the plant with enough of the nutrients for it to grow. There is no natural balance. In the same way, the abundance of a single crop creates an environment where pests, rodents, bacteria, insects, etc., which thrive on this crop will readily multiply, thus necessitating pesticides in order to curb this. Farmers who have adapted the monocrop system soon realize that they have become dependent on fertilizers and pesticides as their depleted soil can no longer produce crops on its own. These farmers must continue to rely on non-natural and non-renewable methods of sustaining their crop and thus their livelihood, which has led to hundreds of thousands of farmers, reaping little beyond despair, committing suicide.
This system, including the fertilizers and pesticides, even without considering the genetically modified seeds whose predatory nature has resulted in billion dollar lawsuits, is neither healthy nor sustainable. It supplies us with the food we need, though the nutritional equality has been controversial, at the cost of exposing these dangerous pesticides to us and our environment. Yet, nature has provided us with a working system that eliminates all of these unhealthy elements. Permaculture stems from the incorporation of that natural system and adapting it into our modern lives.Permaculture continues to extend beyond this by using natural resources to create buildings. Rammed earth, bamboo, log, or other natural ways to build homes have
By adapting a natural method of cultivation, we create a way for the earth to continue to be used for future generations, earth care, while still utilizing it for our needs, people care.
By limiting our dependencies, by modelling after nature, and by helping each other through the sharing of knowledge and resources, a simple but happy lifestyle can readily be achieved.
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