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Permaculture: Definition, Principles and Examples
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Blog...Permaculture: Definition, Principles and Examples

Permaculture: Definition, Principles and Examples

Green News
Food
A person walking in a green forest
What is permaculture, and how does it help the environment and the on-going fight against climate change?
Green News
2024-07-04T00:00:00.000Z
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A person walking in a green forest

There are many new methods of sustainability, but could permaculture be the most valuable lifestyle to establish in your life or business?

Nature is a powerful thing – it can self-heal and provide a plethora of resources to all living things on Earth. However, as the global population continues to skyrocket, things like increased industrialisation and urbanisation have birthed harmful rituals like ecocide and deforestation that continue to harm the environment instead of utilising the great gifts nature has provided for us to survive. 

What if there was a tactic that didn’t eradicate the concepts of urbanisation or industrialisation, whilst still working alongside mother nature and aiming to use what is available to accomplish our man-made, 21st century goals? 

It turns out that there is, and it’s called permaculture. 

👉 In this article, we'll discuss permaculture principles, the importance of natural ecosystems, permaculture ethics, and how seeking to use renewable resources via protracted and thoughtful observation could benefit natural building, organic gardening, agricultural systems, and all other sustainable systems.

What is Permaculture?

Define permaculture

The word permaculture refers to the concept of utilising land, resources, people and the environment in a manner that doesn’t produce any waste – and encourages the use of closed loop systems seen in nature. 

💡 Some individuals or companies may choose to take a permaculture design course to improve their knownledge on permaculture design principles. Permaculture design courses can help people to better understand how to utilise renewable energy, practice temperate climate permaculture, and develop agriculturally productive ecosystems.

Closed loop systems, when speaking about the environment, refer to the ideal where nothing should be wasted. For example, instead of tossing old clothing into the trash – the materials should be reused or the garments should be sold at a thrift store as second-hand clothing. 

Permaculture presents itself as a system that attempts to integrate conceptual strategies to promote beneficial impacts across all forms of life where a typically harmful environmental activity would usually present catastrophic effects.
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permanent agriculture

Some examples of implementing permaculture into society include:

  • regulating agriculture
  • how water and energy are sourced
  • rainwater harvesting
  • environmentally friendly building plans
  • mitigating deforestation
  • managing or reusing waste, promoting quality for animal life
  • promoting the importance of permaculture design process
  • creating agriculturally productive ecosystems
  • doing whatever possible to improve both the economic and social state of a community. 

Permaculture design is a system of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all its forms – striving to work alongside nature rather than against it. 

👉 Ultimately, permaculture strives to maintain various systems across the sector in an Eco-friendly manner while also pertaining to the diversity and stability of ecosystems. 

landscape

How does permaculture impact the environment? 

Climate change is illustrating continuous, drastic effects on sectors that are compulsory to survival: such as biodiversity, food and water supply, and overall human health. Rising global temperatures impact the human body both physically and mentally, and extensive dry periods mitigate the successful harvesting of crops and deplete our water supply. Changing global temperatures throw off the natural balance in our ecosystems, which is where our food chain begins. 

💡 In short, climate change isn’t helping anyone – but seeking to practice permaculture into various sectors could help these industries transition to more eco-friendly and sustainable habits with more ease. 

For example, in today’s world with the exceptional demand for crops due to urbanisation and various growing populations, agriculture has gotten into the bad habit of using toxic chemicals in order to increase the amount of crops harvested each season. These toxic chemicals aren’t good for the environment, but they also aren’t the best for the human body to be digesting.

With Permaculture, farmers can create a positive relationship between humans and systems like agriculture which are compulsory for survival. In other words, permaculture would seek a natural method to create an abundance of crops that is successful in correlation with nature’s natural resources. 

👉 Permaculture is one of the most seamless ways to help the environment, as it is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people, which ultimately means tackling the source of all vital elements for human life – the environment. 

pink sunset on water

What are the main goals of permaculture?

The main goal of permaculture is to influence individuals and businesses alike to work in conjunction with nature to achieve their goals instead of against it. Permaculture promotes the philosophy of mindfulness in all actions that have the potential to cause a domino-like, deleterious effect across multiple sectors. It’s easy to destroy a forest for the sake of urbanisation, but it’s often not until after the fact that one sees the other damage it has caused. 

Permaculture encourages those to thoroughly think through the actions before following through with them, and to recognise how one action may improve one situation – it may negatively impact another.

In a sense, permaculture is a lifestyle – it teaches us to evaluate all the potential consequences of our actions. This is why permaculture is a valuable skill that is different from other methods of environmental sustainability, as it can be used across all areas of our lives, and serves as a valuable skill that can provide one with the intrinsic motivation necessary to fight against climate change. 

💡 As human settlement has skyrocketed since the industrialization period in the 1800s, high carbon emitting activities have delineated that humans find it easy to produce waste and disrespect lands that are prone to suffer from human activity.

The sad truth is, humans have destroyed many natural systems and settlements that should have remained untouched – and permaculture strives to instill this value in humans moving forward.

In permaculture, natural systems and indigenous settlements should be viewed as indispensable resources that should not be altered or tampered with by any means. Any natural systems or settlements that have been impacted by activities like industrialization or urbanization should be given the attention and care they deserve for restoration. Plants and animals in danger should also receive the same support. 

The main mission of permaculture is to illustrate the importance of species and natural settlements. We can also build new mini malls or new apartment complexes, but we can never recreate the same natural ecosystem or habitat twice. The ideal of permaculture is for one to achieve their goals in the least-environmentally invasive way possible. 

👉 Intertwining the modern needs of humans with sustainable efforts in mind to protect nature and its resources is the ultimate goal of permaculture.  

mountains and forest trees

7 successful examples of permaculture 

Permaculture is most commonly exercised in agriculture, as it is one of the most essential human activities to supply our food chain.

Here are just a few examples of farming organizations around the world that have implemented permaculture into their farming or educational practices. 

Happy Food Farm

Happy Food Farm is based in Nanning, China, – and produces a variety of vegetables, flowers, fish, and chicken. This farm pertains to permaculture as they self-provide their livestock with their own fruits and vegetables, which mitigates any potential waste. Additionally, they are passionate about sharing the benefits of permaculture to the children in their local community to ensure the next generation implements permaculture with more ease. 

IDEP Foundation

This non-profit organization based in Bali is committed to providing training for those who are interested in sustainable development using the methods of permaculture. IDEP educates their local communities on the importance of permaculture, the impact of natural disasters, and how to respond when climate change impacts their community and rebuild using the ideals of permaculture. 

Konga Institute

Implementing habits pertaining to permaculture doesn’t always directly take place on a farm. Based in New Zealand, one of the purest places on Earth, the Konga Institute is home to the biggest organic seed shop. The Konga Institute is also globally known for educating students and teachers on the importance of permaculture – as their workshops are designed for those interested in sustainable living and motivated to encourage their own communities to do the same. 

Permaculture Association of South Australia 

This non-profit organization in Australia aims to promote the ideals of permaculture in South Australia by focusing on caring for nature, people, and limiting consumption of valuable resources. PASA strives to promote permaculture all throughout Southern Australia. 

Permaculture in Ukraine

Another non-profit organization dedicated to permaculture in Ukraine, this NGO is dedicated to create a collective effort to employ permaculture techniques in the households of their local communities and inspire others to do the same. The ultimate goal of Permaculture in Ukraine is to help others in society understand the importance of permaculture, with a focus on specifying the best permaculture actions to take depending on the local communities needs. 

Permaculture Institute of North America

Permaculture Institute of North America strives to create sustainable, professional standards that also pertain to the priorities of permaculture – such as design, teaching, and daily habits. PIMA also offers a program to receive a permaculture accreditation to ensure that they have thoroughly learned and practiced implementing permaculture so that others may trust in their expertise. 

Senegal Permaculture Project

Farmers don’t only care about money, but sustainability. Born from a Senegalese landowner asking local governments to develop a plan for better local growth and sustainability in agriculture, this project uses an 11-acre farm of eleven acres as a live demo for village or land owners. This encourages people with access to feasible amounts of land and the environment to make better choices to respect nature and the potential consequences of their environmental actions on society. The Senegal Permaculture Project accomplishes this by providing live demonstrations on how to plant trees, utilize soil fertility, source water responsibly, and protect animals in a system that strives to align with the values of permaculture.

small red flowers in field

How can you help contribute to the ideals of permaculture and prevent overall environmental damage?

Although permaculture is most often implemented in agriculture, the ideals of permaculture can be implemented into your own life. That’s why there are so many institutions around the world that are dedicated to educating people on the principles of permaculture – with the hopes that it will influence the lifestyles of future generations to create a more sustainable world.  

So, how can you implement permaculture into your own life and create a better understanding and respect for nature? 

First, it’s important to recognize that there is always room for improvement. We may think that we’ve done a good job implementing sustainable habits, but we can always do better. 

Here are a few ways to support your ecological vision with the help of permaculture principles:

Improve Design System

Cultivated ecology refers to the process over time of how organism flourish in the environment, which is one of the key aspects to defining permaculture.

Encouraging your business or household to improve the way it works to support plants, store energy, or move forward with food production can help to create a more ecologically sound business model and ultimately implement the ideals of permaculture.

Renewable Energy

Anything you do that subscribes to the elements of permaculture usually involves reducing your carbon footprint in some way. For example, committing to the use of renewable energy in your company’s industrialization habits, or even in your daily life, helps demonstrate your commitment to common ideals depicted in permaculture: like working alongside nature to achieve your goals and mitigating waste. 

Public Transportation

Taking public transportation or recycling whenever possible is a huge aspect of permaculture, as it shows your commitment to sustainability. Permaculture isn’t about perfection; we can’t all avoid plastic when so many common products still use it in packaging. Therefore, it’s important to note that permaculture is about putting your best foot forward and doing the best you can to use sustainable resources. 

Reusable Goods & Upcycling

One way this can be done is by using reusable grocery bags instead of plastic ones at the grocery store. Yes, odds are – you’ll have to purchase something with plastic packaging, but you won’t be condoning the use of plastic bags if you bring your own reusable one. You’re making a difference where you can, and that is what permaculture strives to do. 

It’s important to implement permaculture in a way that is personal to you. If you’re passionate about clothing, make a commitment to donate or reuse garments whenever you can. If you love to cook, look up recipes that use parts of vegetables that are often thrown away – or start a compost bin. 

👉 Permaculture is all about small, but impactful and mindful habits that allow us to use nature’s resources to pave the way for new solutions.

In the end, permaculture can show us not only how to help the environment – but how to help ourselves. Creativity is the key to many of life’s predicaments – including the global concern of climate change. Change can bring good things, but we have to be open to the time and effort it takes to improve. Thanks to permaculture, we can change our mindsets and the state of the world at the same time.

What about Greenly? 

If reading this article about permaculture has made you interested in reducing your carbon emission to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

Greenly can help you make an environmental change for the better, starting with a carbon footprint assessment to know how much carbon emissions your company produces.

Click here to learn more about Greenly and how we can help you reduce your carbon footprint. 

carbon footprint on Greenly platform

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