[permaculture] Permaculture defined?

Earth Passengers earthpassengers at gmail.com
Fri May 26 08:09:06 EDT 2006

I have the same question. I've been interested in permaculture for over a
decade, and am part of a permaculture group in Taipei and still have a hard
time defining what "permaculture" means. The standard fall-back Taiwan
Mandarin translation for permaculture is literally "sustainable cultivation"
(yong-hsu-dzai-pei)... but not many of us are satisfied with that name
(partially because the Taiwan Mandarin word for "sustainable" has been so
overused/abused in the past decade that it means nothing anymore). Perhaps
permaculture really is a general nebulous concept.... Or just too complex
to describe in one paragraph?

I've presented permaculture to others as "care of the planet, care of
people, and distribution of extra-time and resources to help people reach
the same goal" and it just doesn't click with people. It's "Yeah, right,
sure, what else?"

I've also presented permaculture as Holmgren's 12 design principles:
1. observe and interact
2. catch and store energy
3. obtain a yield
4. apply self-regulation and accept feedback
5. use and value renewable resources and services
6. produce no waste
7. design from patterns to details
8. integrate rather than segregate
9. use small and slow solutions
10. use and value diversity
11. use edges and value the marginal
12. creatively use and respond to change

...and it immediately clicks with most people, they get a good idea of what
it's all about right away.

Peter Morehead

On 5/26/06, webmaster at pfaf.org <webmaster at pfaf.org> wrote:
> An interesting question on the Wikipedia page on permaculture
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Permaculture#Criticisms
> > Yeah, I think putting some definitions and limits on what
> "Permaculture" is is very important. Then practical comparisons (between
> conventional agriculture and Permaculture) are possible. The broad
> "principles" -  - are way
> too broad to form, in themselves, any definition of what Permaculture
> is. Indeed, these principles arguably could apply to the Boy Scouts,
> certain conceptions of "socialism," the "public radio" movement, a
> creative plan for retired life, and many other "good things". Unless the
> actual common practices of Permaculture are pinned down, nothing can be
> evaluated, and no sense of success or failure of Permaculture, as a
> system or as a movement, can even be attempted.
> >
> > Whether or not a person advocates Permaculture is even beside the
> point here. Because if it's left as nebulous as a shifting, cottony
> cloud, then what is there to either advocate, oppose (or criticize)?
> It would be interesting to know what others think of permacultures
> nebelous definition?
> Rich
> --
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