‘What does this land have to give to me?’
According to Bill Mollison, this question leads to a better route when doing broadscale design.
Observation and research are used to identify resources and limitations of a site.
Get maps of the property, records of wind, rainfall, flood, fire and species lists in the area. Ask around for problems about pests and how they deal with them.
‘Only by walking the site and observing it in every season can we discover its limitations and its resources…’
culled from Introduction to Permaculture, Bill Mollison with Reny Mia Slay
In the words of Bill Mollison,“so [permaculture is] a revolution. But permaculture is anti-politcal. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends”.
London: You once described modern technological agriculture as a form of “witchcraft.”
Mollison: Well, it is a sort of witchcraft. Today we have more soil scientists than at any other time in history. If you plot the rise of soil scientists against the loss of soil, you see that the more of them you have, the more soil you lose.
Mollison: I remember seeing soldiers returning from the War in 1947. They had these little steel canisters with a snap-off top. When they snapped the tops off, they sprayed DDT all over the room so you never saw any more flies or mosquitoes — or cats. [Laughs] After the war, they started to use those chemicals in agriculture. The gases used by the Nazis were now developed for agriculture. Tanks were made into plows. Part of the reason for the huge surge in artificial fertilizer was that the industry was geared up to produce nitrates for explosives. Then they suddenly discovered you could put it on your crops and get great results.
London: So the green revolution was a kind of war against the land, in a manner of speaking.
Mollison: That’s right. Governments still support this kind of agriculture to the tune of about $40 billion each year. None of that goes to supporting alternative systems like organic or soil-creating agriculture. Even China is adopting modern chemical agriculture now.
When religions cease to obliterate trees in order to build temples or human artefacts, and instead generalize love and respect to all living systems as a witness to the potential of all creation, they too will join the many of us now deeply appreciating the complexity and self-sustaining properties of natural systems, from whole universes to simple molecules.
PERMACULTURE: A Practical Guide for a Sustainable Future
One of the keyhole beds.
In chaos lies unparalleled opportunity for imposing creative order.
The core of permaculture is design. Design is a connection between things. It’s not water, or a chicken, or the tree. It’s how the water, the chicken and the tree are connected.
Permaculture’s always been much more than a gardening system. It arose from questioning in the 60’s and the previous questioning of the 1890’s and the 1930’s about why this society with all it’s schools and intelligence and resources, keeps falling into holes of it’s own making, and the word ‘permaculture’ really, was said to be from ‘permanent agriculture,’ but I always had it in mind that it was from a permanence in culture itself.