[ecopath] Pc Design Manual - Overview (fwd)

Larry London london at metalab.unc.edu
Wed May 26 23:41:16 EDT 1999


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 07:57:02 -0700
From: Jeff Owens <kowens at teleport.com>
Reply-To: ecopath at csf.colorado.edu

Pc Design Manual - Overview

This may be the first post of a journey through the
Permaculture Design manual.  If interest isn't indicated
i'll drop it and move on to other things.  I don't want the
role of teacher, so this is a discussion not a course.  If
someone wants to assume the teacher role that is OK with
me, but they will need to be a graduate of a Pc design
course.

The Pc manual is divided into fourteen chapters as follows:

 1. Introduction
 2. Concepts and Themes in Design
 3. methods of Design
 4. Pattern Understanding
 5. Climatic Factors
 6. Trees and their Energy Transactions
 7. Water
 8. Soils
 9. Earthworking and Earth Resources
 10. The Humid Tropics
 11. Dryland strategies
 12. Humid cool to cold climates
 13. Aquaculture
 14. Strategies of an Alternate global Nation

My feeling is that some areas are abbreviated and need expansion.
These areas include:  Cultural tools, Urban techniques,
Transitional tools for difficult situations, and ideas about
Pc education that fit sustainability.  Also the Pc definition and
handling of ethics could be made less confusing.  The idea of
expanding Pc is consistent with its loose definition (and philosophy?)
so i view the Design Manual as a starting point.  Others may view
it as a bible.

The Preface to the Manual says: The word "permaculture" can be used
by anybody adhering to the ethics and principles expressed herein.
The only  restriction on the use is that of teaching; only
graduates of a Permaculture Institute can teach "permaculture", and they
adhere to agreed-on curriculae developed by the college of Graduates
of the institutes of Permaculture.

What i find interesting about the Preface is that it defines Pc
in terms of natural ecosystems and ignores the role of culture.
The word "permaculture" is called a contraction of Permanent and
Agriculture.  Since the date on my book is 1988 i assume the data
is now a little out of date.  Another book which goes into design
is the "Earth User's Guide to Permaculture" and it says:

  Today, there are many definitions of permaculture.  The
  early definitions dealt with permanence; later
  definitions concentrate on sustainable human settlements.

I'm not sure exactly what this quote is saying, but soon after
the word "community" was used and this leads me to believe they
are acknowledging the role of culture/community in sustainability.
My bias is that culture should be about half of a Pc Design manual
and its absence is a huge hole.

The preface also acknowledges the role of David Holmgren in helping
develop the initial ideas behind Pc.  This is interesting because
Holmgren sometimes gives a different viewpoint and the 
Design Manual seems to be all Mollisons creation.

Comments on the contents?  Other areas which are ignored by the
Design Manual?  Thoughts about the difference between a course
and a discussion?

jeff


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