Climate change adaption
Efforts by concerned citizens and self-organised groups to undertake meaningful action to combat climate change in the context of their everyday lives are continuously increasing. Many have taken personal responsibility to make a difference to the planet. This quiet but vital growth in climate action contrasts with the lack of political consciousness most countries are experiencing.
Common to numerous community-based responses to climate change globally is the adoption of permaculture as a tool and guiding philosophy for climate action. Permaculture is fast gaining attention, in 2020, there was a 39% increase globally in Google searches. Despite the vast increase in interest, the term remains widely unknown. Many understand it as a form of ecological agriculture, while this an essential aspect of it, the scope of the term is far broader.
Climate change goes beyond being a technical issue, it is an opportunity to re-assess humanity’s interaction with the natural world and transform global society to ensure our continued survival. Permaculture originated in this re-assessment and has become a vital element to the climate movement.
So, what is permaculture?
Permaculture is an innovation framework for creating sustainable ways of living. Ecologically harmonious and efficient systems are developed by this practical method that can be used by anyone, anywhere.
Careful thinking about how we use our resources such as food, energy, and other material and non-material needs enables us to get much more out of life while using less. Such thinking allows us to be more productive for less effort, enabling us to enjoy benefits to the environment and ourselves, not only for now but for generations to come. The essence of permaculture is designing ecologically sound ways of living in all aspects of our lives, from households to businesses. Cooperating with nature and caring for the earth and humanity create this harmony.
The principles and practices of permaculture are universal, it is not an exclusive movement. This way of living encourages us to be self-resilient and resourceful. The ecological design system enables us to find solutions to problems we are facing at a local and global scale.
Closed loop systems
A system that provides for its own energy needs is intrinsically sustainable. The concept goes beyond solutions such as biofuels and solar power and extends to food and fertiliser. For example, instead of importing fertiliser to a garden or farm, the system could be designed to provide for its own fertility needs, such as from cover crops or livestock manure. Additionally, if you have livestock, you are encouraged to grow and provide the food yourself rather than importing it. Successful closed loop systems turn waste into resources, nothing leaves the system, and nothing is brought in.
One of the primary ideas of permaculture is that within a structure or landscape, every component should fulfil more than one function. Strategic design and placement of components create an integrated, self-sufficient system. For example, a fence to contain animals may also function as a trellis or reflective surface to ensure nearby plants are receiving extra sunlight.
The idea of multiple functions is rooted in ensuring nothing is wasted. Water conservation is a large focus of the concept, ensuring that every last drop of rain is directed towards a useful purpose. For example, by creating canals for plants to ensure that multiple functions are achieved while losing no water.
Permaculture in a changing world
As humans increasingly deplete the earth of its finite resources, we need to focus on sustainable ways of living to safeguard the future of the planet and ourselves. Permaculture provides a platform for this by encouraging sustainable living and discouraging the current wasteful nature of humans. Closed loop systems with multiple functions are an ideal basis for developing our lifestyles off. Such practices and principles should be adopted in our everyday lives for numerous reasons, but primarily to reduce waste and the volume of carbon we currently emit into the atmosphere.
With an unpredictable future, permaculture is the only existing viable food production system. It forces us to take responsibility for our carbon footprint and bring it within sustainable levels by minimising the need for many carbon-based resources.
Are you already involved in permaculture? Let us know, we’d love to hear more!