What is Permaculture about?

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“Sitting at our back doorsteps, all we need to live a good life lies about us. Sun, wind, people, buildings, stones, sea, birds and plants surround us. Cooperation with all these things brings harmony, opposition to them brings disaster and chaos.”  -Bill Mollison

It’s amazingly beautiful to realize that every being in nature has its place in life’s cycle.  Birds flying in the sky or giant whales crossing the world under the seas are not nature’s random choices of what to do and where to do it, life on this planet is always adapting and evolving. What about humans? We are also nature, like the rivers we have veins, like the forest we have a respiratory system, like hyphae in mycelium we have nerves, and so on, so what should be our role in this perfect weaving creation that holds it self playing into balance? We have evolved creating and organizing resources intelligently to make our lives easier. We have invented technologies for every task to do, and we have found the integral relationship within everything. Here is where Permaculture asks us what if we all humans decided to focus all that imagination, wondering and dedication to be once again part of nature’s dynamics as regenerators, the ones who have the tools and consciousness to protect all the other beings we share this existence with instead of consuming excessively.

When you see closely to nature, you may find patterns that silently appear in different contexts just to reveal a secret for those who observe, just to remind us the breath-taking truth that everything is connected, these patterns, these perfect designs created collectively by infinite millions of organisms and events are the structure of where Permaculture wants to be based on, the same foundation that repeats over and over again creatively finding new ways to keep nature flowing in evolution. Agriculture, social designs, economics, medicine crafting, and gardening we can fit all these human aspects in a way that can be inclusive for everybody.

Permaculture calls for designing, being prepared and adaptable at the same time.  Having in mind what David Holmgren called the Permaculture Ethics: Earth care, People care and Fair Share. Earth care opens the cycle by setting what is a fundamental for a growing life, a healthy Earth, a regenerated and nurtured Earth were everything that comes out of it is alive as its source. We all can prosper if our foundation is strong, dynamic and healthy. Ethically use of natural resources can break that idea of resources as something you can take just because, instead of that, caring for the earth asks us to be conscious of why and how we are using nature’s elements in our favor, just like the other animals do, use what you need.

People care is when we bring the attention to us, taking care of our needs to grow and be confortable with our existence, in social justice. One of the most important characteristics in Permaculture is community, our tribe. Taking care of ourselves, our families and the community, is the way to connect our web firmly and the beginning of new social generations based on equality, giving each participant the same opportunities to unwind themselves without judgment and taking advantage of everybody’s virtues to make the community grow as a living system. Not forgetting our inner work, what you do for your self, your doing it for the whole species, call it yoga, meditation, conscious diets, laugh out loud, or even just switching our ways of seeing the world, knowing that your reality is were you focus your attention.

Between taking care of ourselves and the Earth who brought us to life is the last of the Ethics, Fair Share is the way we rethink on how we are going to plan our projects, make them more permanently fair for everyone in nature, count here humans, animals, plants, fungi, and how to distribute the production or the excess of it leaving to one side the anthropocentrism and integrate all beings involved, as a community we build our lives together and we share together.

Principles of Permaculture

Following this philosophy of creating and organizing we have 12 principles that supports this commitment, these principles guide us to a better understanding of what a permanent culture fells like, always inspired and moved by mimicking natures patterns observed in every ecosystem.

These 12 Principles are:

·      Observe and Interact

·      Catch and store energy

·      Obtain a yield

·      Apply self-regulation and accept feedback

·      Use and value renewable resources

·      Produce no waste

·      Design from patterns to details

·      Integrate rather then segregate

·      Use small and slow solutions

·      Use and value the marginal

·      Creatively use and respond to change.

Permaculture in our every day life

Permaculture is about working with nature and not against it, observing how plants and animals behave and how we can learn from that and how to develop ourselves in coexistence and bringing regenerative designs for all the life around us. It looks for a resilient habitat where we can all coexist, its the future inspired by our past giving us the opportunity to break the chains of dependency of our health, social, economy and food systems, creating a more permanent structure for all life to thrive. Sustainability is not enough in a world full of pollution and over population, regeneration can heal what is broken and at the same time leaves the terrain ready for the next generation.

There is something that needs to be cleared out; even though agriculture is a big part of permaculture, this doesn’t mean that you need a huge area to apply all this information, you can start anywhere. For example, if you live in a tiny apartment in the middle of a massive city you can always get creative and see what is around you and how you can maximize the resources available, natural light coming in an specific window where maybe you can place your medicinal plants in pots, beautifying the space and letting the new oxygen spread from there. Is there to much rain? What about a rain catchment so you can flush the toilet with it, you name it, just like a piece of art you can create your own habitat.

So, permaculture is a way to be responsible with the regeneration of life as we know it, leaving behind selfishness and bringing up love and compassion, not to a specific line of thinking, but pure raw love, the one that is, the one that moves us forward as members of this existence, seeding opportunities and obtaining more and more equality.

If you are interested in learning more about an integral experience of Permaculture and Medicine crafting, come and join us in the magical and exotic farm Finca Exótica in Peninsula de Osa, Costa Rica on July 24th to 28th

* Written by Carlos Avendaño. Enthusiast of plants., with great knowlodge of herbalism, permaculture, Yoga, Massage and healing therapies. https://www.facebook.com/junglemoonherbalist/