Permaculture definition (was Re: design courses)

carmela leone cleone at
Fri Nov 10 03:20:26 EST 1995


I can understand why the definition I gave may not be one of your faves.  I
hadn't focussed on the 'human' part of the statement before and perhaps it
seems exclusive or narrow to suggest that Permaculture relates only to the
environments of humans(?) but many people who visit my Page don't know much
if anything about Permaculture, so I chose a definition I thought was
simple. I also chose that particular definition for my Page because it is a
quote from Bill Mollison  - who is probably the most well known identity
when it comes to Permaculture. I also present David Holmgren's Design
principles which to me help to define Permaculture.
I don't disagree with anything in your definition and I think you'll agree
that Permaculture covers alot of different areas.  I think that people
should get out of Permaculture what suits them and what is applicable to them.

This is a little snippet from my Page that contains some simple statements
to introduce Permaculture to people who may not know anything about it -

Permaculture is about:

Thinking about the consequences of the things you do,
Working with Nature rather than against it,
Working where it counts,
Seeing solutions not problems,
Co-operation not competition...

Bringing food production back to the cities,
Energy efficiency and using low energy systems,
Recycling wastes and getting the most use out of everything,
Reforestation of the earth,
Planting natives and beneficial naturalised species where possible,
Small-scale intensive systems,

Community and people care...

Saving the earth and ourselves.

Permaculture Design doesn't just apply to agriculture.  A friend of mine has
designed the layout of the fruit and vege shop he works in using
Permaculture design principles!  I have applied the principles to my own
family unit and that same friend is currently doing the same thing.  My next
goal is to find a way to incorporate Permaculture into my workplace.

Permaculture might be too broad to define in one particular way(?).  That
might have to be my final statement for now.

At 09:03 AM 11/10/95 GMT+0200, Mike.Morris at wrote:
>> > 
>> > '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
               'The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, 
                   but the cultivation and perfection of human beings'.   
                    Masanobu Fukuoka - 'The One-Straw Revolution'
                                 Carmela Leone
                          Email: cleone at
         Home Page:


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