Permaculture definition (was Re: design courses)

Mike Morris MIKE at
Fri Nov 10 09:03:47 EST 1995

> > 
> > 'Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human
> > environments' is one of Bill Mollison's definitions.
> > 
> > Carmela

...and one that I like less than most.
> How is it different from the sustainable agriculture movement?
> What elements make it permaculture, rather that sust. ag., bio dynamic, etc.?
> Jeff Jacobsen

One of the things that I think distinguishes it (though it's a small
distinction) is that creating sustainable environments for /all/ the
life-forms on the planet is an explicit goal of permaculture -- which
is the reason I don't really like the definition Carmela quoted. 

This in turn implies an effort at remediation of damaged biomes, 
though not necessarily with species that were the original 
inhabitants, and with the recognition that we humans are part of 
nature too, and not separate from it.

Hmmmm...  this seems to be getting needlessly tangled.  What I'm 
trying to say is that (to me) permaculture includes the notions that
  .  Humans have caused grave environmental damage
  .  We can repair this damage, and still live well
  .  Repair/sustainable development does not necessarily imply that 
     we should attempt to return an area to some idealised, 
     "pristine" state
  .  Ecosystems evolve
  .  It's OK for us to evolve ecosystems to suit ourselves as long as 
     we recognise the rights of all other life-forms to continued 
     existence and well-being
...other threads going through my mind right now, but I think/hope you 
get the idea-web I'm trying to get across.  Of course it's only a 
small slice of a picture...

Why is permaculture so hung-up on trying to define permaculture?

Mike Morris                     We do not inherit land from our ancestors
Mike.Morris at         We borrow it from our children.

Ph: +27-21-788-4171        Cape Town, South Africa        34.40'S 18.30'E

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