CHAPTER 1. TRANSCRIPT OF A PE...
previous human interference. In other words:
. Is it possible to dothis in such a way that at the same time, we can meet all the essential needs of the human population? While this question is most central to the very existenceof mankind, and the need for an answer more urgent than ever, man has not yetmanaged to ﬁnally solve this puzzle. Nevertheless, as Nobel Laureate Dario Fowould say, “Great People are born out of necessity”: the problems in particularof the last few decades are of a very special and rather novel kind. Therefore,one should not be overly surprised to see that some people took them as a strongincentive to investigate this question much deeper and ﬁnd ways to do betterthan we did so far.One should, however, be aware that here, we are not dealing with an issueof the “someone else will ﬁnd some solution – just leave that to the well-paidexperts” type. Fundamentally, one idiot can create more devastation than allprofessors in the world can repair. That is the tragedy of human existence. So,getting out of the mess we got ourselves into will certainly need our combinedeﬀort. And quite heroic eﬀort indeed. In the end, it will be up to
to getyour garden going and up to
to get mine going.Bill Mollison, who received the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the“Alternative Nobel Prize”) for his “Permaculture” concept in 1981, managed todemonstrate quite dramatically what can be achieved by working with naturerather than trying to impose our will on it by force and gave many coursesin which he taught his integrated framework. In these days, there are Perma-culture associations in many countries that oﬀer standardized “PermacultureDesign Courses” based on Bill’s lectures, and, in particular, the material inthe Permaculture Designer’s Manual. This set of lectures is a typographicallymore friendly re-edited variant (extended with many additional comments) of a freely available (in PDF form, at [URL]
) transcript of one of the originalPermaculture Design Courses given by Bill Mollison back in 1981.This material is interesting for many diﬀerent reasons. For one, it is a freeresource which gives quite a detailed idea what Permaculture is about. Likewise,it should serve to give a good idea of what Permaculture actually is not about!While Permaculture to a large extent is a clever amalgamation of rather soundsimple physical, engineering, and ecological principles, it certainly is not somemystic esoteric occult Hippie New-Age woo woo hanky panky. True, Permacul-ture is attractive to many diﬀerent groups of people, which may in particularinclude Hippies, Pagans and Druids, but just as well Biologists, Physicists,Hackers, and ordinary people. Furthermore, the main reference text on Perma-culture, Bill Mollison’s “Permaculture – A Designer’s Manual” unfortunately isa bit cryptic in some places, and these lecture notes frequently provide a diﬀer-ent and much more colloquial re-phrasing of some important concepts, whichcan help a lot to comprehend what some technique is supposed to do and how itworks. Still, for a more detailed and more well-structured discussion, one is verystrongly advised to consult the “Permaculture Designer’s Manual”. Quite a fairbit of the content we ﬁnd in this course transcript, and to much lesser degree inthe Designer’s Manual, is easily misinterpreted. For example, Bill occasionallysays “10” when a physicist would rather say “about an order of magnitude”.(Actually, this holds true for quite many works on resource management, in-cluding as well the Bible, for instance.)