[permaculture] Fwd: [New post] A revolution disguised as organic gardening: in memory of Bill Mollison

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Wed Sep 28 18:29:42 EDT 2016


A revolution disguised as organic gardening: in memory of Bill Mollison
<https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/a-revolution-disguised-as-organic-gardening-in-memory-of-bill-mollison/>
by
mikestasse <https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/author/mikestasse/>

Samuel Alexander
<https://theconversation.com/profiles/samuel-alexander-102353>, *University
of Melbourne
<http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722>*

[image: billmollison]

Bill Mollison
<http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722>

*It is with great sadness that I acknowledge the passing of Bill Mollison
<http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-26/tributes-flow-in-for-permaculture-father-bill-mollison/7878118>
on Saturday, September 24 (1928-2016). He was one of the true pioneers of
the modern environmental movement, not just in Australia but globally.*

*Best known as co-originator of the “permaculture
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture>” concept with David Holmgren,
and recipient of the Right Livelihood Award in 1981, Mollison helped
develop a holistic body of environmental theory and practice which is
widely recognised as one of Australia’s finest and most original
contributions to the global sustainability challenge.*
A brief history of permaculture

Mollison grew up in Stanley, Tasmania. After leaving school at 15 he moved
through a range of occupations before joining the CSIRO in the Wildlife
Survey Section in 1954, where he developed his research experience and
understanding of ecological systems.

He was later appointed to the University of Tasmania, which is where, in
1974, he met the brilliant and radical young research student, David
Holmgren <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqwWdranB5A>

The collaboration between Mollison and Holmgren resulted in the
permaculture concept, culminating in the publication of their seminal
work, Permaculture
One
<https://www.amazon.com/Permaculture-One-Perennial-Agriculture-Settlements/dp/0938240005>
in 1978, which sparked the global movement
<https://holmgren.com.au/about-permaculture/permaculture-network/>.
What is permaculture?

Permaculture defies
<http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-06-11/what-permaculture-isn-t-and-is>
simple definition and understanding. The term began as a fusion of
“permanent” and “agriculture”. Even back in the 1970s, Mollison and
Holmgren could see how destructive industrial agriculture was to natural
habitats and topsoils, and how dependent it was on finite fossil fuels.[image:
permacultureone]

It was clear that these systems were unsustainable, a position ratified by
scientific reports today which expose the alarming effects industrial
agriculture has on biodiversity
<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/29/earth-lost-50-wildlife-in-40-years-wwf>
and climate stability <http://ijc.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.185/prod.269>.
The two pioneering ecologists began to wonder what a “permanent
agriculture” would look like. Thus permaculture was born.

In the broadest terms, permaculture is a design system that seeks to work
with the laws of nature rather than against them. It aims to efficiently
meet human needs without degrading the ecosystems we all rely on to
flourish.

Put otherwise, permaculture is an attempt to design human systems and
practices in ways that mimic the cycles of nature to eliminate waste,
increase resilience and allow for the just and harmonious co-existence of
human beings with other species.

A wide range of design principles
<http://www.gaiasguardians.info/12-permaculture-design-principles-david-holmgren/>
were developed to help put these broad ideas and values into practice. This
practical application and experimentation is what really defines
permaculture. Before all else, participants in the movement get their hands
in the soil and seek to walk the talk.

There is now a vast array of excellent books <https://holmgren.com.au/shop/>
detailing the practice of permaculture, as well as outstanding websites
such as the Permaculture Research Institute <http://permaculturenews.org/>
for those wanting to learn, share, explore and connect.

Although permaculture was initially focused on sustainable methods of
organic food production, the concept soon evolved to embrace the broader
design challenges of sustainable living – not just “permanent agriculture”,
but “permanent culture”.

Today we face profound environmental and social challenges: ecological
overshoot
<http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/earth_overshoot_day/>,
climate instability
<https://newrepublic.com/article/136987/recalculating-climate-math>, looming
resource scarcity
<http://energiaadebate.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Mohretal2015FossilFuelbyCountry.pdf>,
and inequitable concentrations of wealth
<https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/richest-62-billionaires-wealthy-half-world-population-combined>.
In such a world the permaculture ethics of “care of people, care of planet,
and fair share <https://permacultureprinciples.com/ethics/>” imply radical
changes to the way we live with each other and on the planet.

As well as transitioning away from fossil-fuel-dependent agriculture toward
local organic production, permaculture implies the embrace of renewable
energy systems, “simple living
<https://theconversation.com/the-simple-life-manifesto-and-how-it-could-save-us-33081>”
lifestyles of modest consumption, as well as retrofitting the suburbs
<http://simplicityinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/RetrofittingTheSuburbsSimplicityInstitute1.pdf>
for sustainability and energy efficiency.

>From a grassroots or community perspective, the transition towns
<http://simplicityinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/TransitionMovement.pdf>
and ecovillage <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUwLAvfBCzw> movements
acknowledge their profound debts to permaculture.

>From a macroeconomic perspective, permaculture implies a degrowth
<https://theconversation.com/life-in-a-degrowth-economy-and-why-you-might-actually-enjoy-it-32224>
transition to a steady-state economy that operates within the sustainable
limits of the planet. Permaculture even has implications for what alternative
forms <http://thesimplerway.info/CHIKUKWA.htm> of global development might
look like.

So, in answer to the complex question “what is permaculture?”, perhaps the
most concise response is to say with others
<http://upliftconnect.com/permaculture-is-revolution/> that “permaculture
is a revolution disguised as organic gardening”.
Bill Mollison’s legacy: a challenge to us all

Despite developing into a thriving global movement, permaculture still has
not received the full attention it deserves. As the world continues to
degrade ecosystems through the poor design of social and economic systems,
it has never been clearer that permaculture is a way of life whose time has
come.

Nevertheless, permaculture is not a panacea that can answer all challenges.
Permaculture is not without its critics (see, for example, here
<http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-23/the-trouble-with-permaculture>
and here
<http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-05-18/the-decline-may-not-be-permacultured-part-1>).
But I would argue that the lens of permaculture can certainly illuminate
the path to a more sustainable and flourishing way of life, such that we
ignore its insights at our own peril.

Thank you, Bill Mollison, for the inspiration and insight – and the
challenge you have left us with to design a civilisation that regenerates
rather than degrades our one and only planet. May humanity learn the
lessons of permaculture sooner rather than later.

Only then, I suspect, will “Uncle Bill” rest in peace.

[image: The Conversation]

Samuel Alexander
<https://theconversation.com/profiles/samuel-alexander-102353>, Research
fellow, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, *University of Melbourne
<http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722>*

This article was originally published on The Conversation
<http://theconversation.com>. Read the original article
<https://theconversation.com/a-revolution-disguised-as-organic-gardening-in-memory-of-bill-mollison-66137>
.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Damn the Matrix <comment-reply at wordpress.com>
Date: Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 6:25 PM
Subject: [New post] A revolution disguised as organic gardening: in memory
of Bill Mollison
To: lfljvenaura at gmail.com


mikestasse posted: " Samuel Alexander, University of Melbourne It is with
great sadness that I acknowledge the passing of Bill Mollison on Saturday,
September 24 (1928-2016). He was one of the true pioneers of the modern
environmental movement, not just in Australia but g"
Respond to this post by replying above this line
New post on *Damn the Matrix*
<https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/author/mikestasse/> A revolution
disguised as organic gardening: in memory of Bill Mollison
<https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/a-revolution-disguised-as-organic-gardening-in-memory-of-bill-mollison/>
by
mikestasse <https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/author/mikestasse/>

Samuel Alexander
<https://theconversation.com/profiles/samuel-alexander-102353>, *University
of Melbourne
<http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722>*

[image: billmollison]

Bill Mollison
<http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722>

*It is with great sadness that I acknowledge the passing of Bill Mollison
<http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-26/tributes-flow-in-for-permaculture-father-bill-mollison/7878118>
on Saturday, September 24 (1928-2016). He was one of the true pioneers of
the modern environmental movement, not just in Australia but globally.*

*Best known as co-originator of the “permaculture
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture>” concept with David Holmgren,
and recipient of the Right Livelihood Award in 1981, Mollison helped
develop a holistic body of environmental theory and practice which is
widely recognised as one of Australia’s finest and most original
contributions to the global sustainability challenge.*
A brief history of permaculture

Mollison grew up in Stanley, Tasmania. After leaving school at 15 he moved
through a range of occupations before joining the CSIRO in the Wildlife
Survey Section in 1954, where he developed his research experience and
understanding of ecological systems.

He was later appointed to the University of Tasmania, which is where, in
1974, he met the brilliant and radical young research student, David
Holmgren <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqwWdranB5A>

The collaboration between Mollison and Holmgren resulted in the
permaculture concept, culminating in the publication of their seminal
work, Permaculture
One
<https://www.amazon.com/Permaculture-One-Perennial-Agriculture-Settlements/dp/0938240005>
in 1978, which sparked the global movement
<https://holmgren.com.au/about-permaculture/permaculture-network/>.
What is permaculture?

Permaculture defies
<http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-06-11/what-permaculture-isn-t-and-is>
simple definition and understanding. The term began as a fusion of
“permanent” and “agriculture”. Even back in the 1970s, Mollison and
Holmgren could see how destructive industrial agriculture was to natural
habitats and topsoils, and how dependent it was on finite fossil fuels.[image:
permacultureone]

It was clear that these systems were unsustainable, a position ratified by
scientific reports today which expose the alarming effects industrial
agriculture has on biodiversity
<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/29/earth-lost-50-wildlife-in-40-years-wwf>
and climate stability <http://ijc.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.185/prod.269>.
The two pioneering ecologists began to wonder what a “permanent
agriculture” would look like. Thus permaculture was born.

In the broadest terms, permaculture is a design system that seeks to work
with the laws of nature rather than against them. It aims to efficiently
meet human needs without degrading the ecosystems we all rely on to
flourish.

Put otherwise, permaculture is an attempt to design human systems and
practices in ways that mimic the cycles of nature to eliminate waste,
increase resilience and allow for the just and harmonious co-existence of
human beings with other species.

A wide range of design principles
<http://www.gaiasguardians.info/12-permaculture-design-principles-david-holmgren/>
were developed to help put these broad ideas and values into practice. This
practical application and experimentation is what really defines
permaculture. Before all else, participants in the movement get their hands
in the soil and seek to walk the talk.

There is now a vast array of excellent books <https://holmgren.com.au/shop/>
detailing the practice of permaculture, as well as outstanding websites
such as the Permaculture Research Institute <http://permaculturenews.org/>
for those wanting to learn, share, explore and connect.

Although permaculture was initially focused on sustainable methods of
organic food production, the concept soon evolved to embrace the broader
design challenges of sustainable living – not just “permanent agriculture”,
but “permanent culture”.

Today we face profound environmental and social challenges: ecological
overshoot
<http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/earth_overshoot_day/>,
climate instability
<https://newrepublic.com/article/136987/recalculating-climate-math>, looming
resource scarcity
<http://energiaadebate.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Mohretal2015FossilFuelbyCountry.pdf>,
and inequitable concentrations of wealth
<https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/richest-62-billionaires-wealthy-half-world-population-combined>.
In such a world the permaculture ethics of “care of people, care of planet,
and fair share <https://permacultureprinciples.com/ethics/>” imply radical
changes to the way we live with each other and on the planet.

As well as transitioning away from fossil-fuel-dependent agriculture toward
local organic production, permaculture implies the embrace of renewable
energy systems, “simple living
<https://theconversation.com/the-simple-life-manifesto-and-how-it-could-save-us-33081>”
lifestyles of modest consumption, as well as retrofitting the suburbs
<http://simplicityinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/RetrofittingTheSuburbsSimplicityInstitute1.pdf>
for sustainability and energy efficiency.

>From a grassroots or community perspective, the transition towns
<http://simplicityinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/TransitionMovement.pdf>
and ecovillage <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUwLAvfBCzw> movements
acknowledge their profound debts to permaculture.

>From a macroeconomic perspective, permaculture implies a degrowth
<https://theconversation.com/life-in-a-degrowth-economy-and-why-you-might-actually-enjoy-it-32224>
transition to a steady-state economy that operates within the sustainable
limits of the planet. Permaculture even has implications for what alternative
forms <http://thesimplerway.info/CHIKUKWA.htm> of global development might
look like.

So, in answer to the complex question “what is permaculture?”, perhaps the
most concise response is to say with others
<http://upliftconnect.com/permaculture-is-revolution/> that “permaculture
is a revolution disguised as organic gardening”.
Bill Mollison’s legacy: a challenge to us all

Despite developing into a thriving global movement, permaculture still has
not received the full attention it deserves. As the world continues to
degrade ecosystems through the poor design of social and economic systems,
it has never been clearer that permaculture is a way of life whose time has
come.

Nevertheless, permaculture is not a panacea that can answer all challenges.
Permaculture is not without its critics (see, for example, here
<http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-01-23/the-trouble-with-permaculture>
and here
<http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-05-18/the-decline-may-not-be-permacultured-part-1>).
But I would argue that the lens of permaculture can certainly illuminate
the path to a more sustainable and flourishing way of life, such that we
ignore its insights at our own peril.

Thank you, Bill Mollison, for the inspiration and insight – and the
challenge you have left us with to design a civilisation that regenerates
rather than degrades our one and only planet. May humanity learn the
lessons of permaculture sooner rather than later.

Only then, I suspect, will “Uncle Bill” rest in peace.

[image: The Conversation]

Samuel Alexander
<https://theconversation.com/profiles/samuel-alexander-102353>, Research
fellow, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, *University of Melbourne
<http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722>*

This article was originally published on The Conversation
<http://theconversation.com>. Read the original article
<https://theconversation.com/a-revolution-disguised-as-organic-gardening-in-memory-of-bill-mollison-66137>
.

*mikestasse <https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/author/mikestasse/>* |
29/09/2016 at 8:25 am | Tags: bill mollison
<https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/?tag=bill-mollison>, permaculture
<https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/?tag=permaculture>, revolution
<https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/?tag=revolution>, sustainability
<https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/?tag=sustainability> | Categories:
permaculture <https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/?cat=45796>,
sustainability <https://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/?cat=34973420> | URL:
http://wp.me/pbVMJ-2ll

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