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Permaculture is a whole systems approach to designing and building human settlements that restore, protect, and beautify the places where we live, work and play.  A philosophy of thoughtful observation, working in partnership with nature, and responding with whole systems design of regenerative habitats and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.
The term permaculture was first coined in 1978 in Australia by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. The word permaculture originally referred to “permanent agriculture” but was expanded to stand also for “permanent culture,” as it was seen that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system.The foundations of permaculture are the ethics which guide the use of the 12 design principles:
permaculture-core-ethics
Image via permacultureprinciples.com1. Care for the earth
2. Care for people
3. Fair share – re-distribute surplus resources

Twelve Design Principles

Twelve Permaculture design principles articulated by David Holmgren in his Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability:

Permaculture-Principles

Image via permacultureprinciples.com

  1. Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.

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