Permaculture: An Approach to Sustainable Living

Do you want to live in a more sustainable way? Are you looking for a comprehensive ethical system you can use to live more sustainably? Do you want to learn some practical strategies and techniques you can use now in your daily life? Have you heard the term permaculture and want to learn more about it? The purpose of this course is to give you a practical understanding of permaculture, some useful strategies and techniques for applying permaculture in your life, and resources for learning more about permaculture.

How to take the course
You can complete the course online or print out the files. Click on the links below in the Course Contents to take the course online . Click on this link to print out the course files.

Course Contents
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Lesson One: What is sustainable living? Lesson Two: What is permaculture?
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What is the origin of permaculture? Who is practicing permaculture? How can you practice permaculture?

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Lesson Three: What are the ethics of permaculture? Lesson Four: What are some principles of permaculture? Lesson Five: How do you apply permaculture ethics and principles?

The site design/redesign process

Lesson Six: What are some useful strategies and techniques for applying permaculture? Lesson Seven: How can I learn more about permaculture?
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Permaculture demonstration sites Permaculture design course and design apprentice certification Permaculture websites Permaculture bibliography

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Post Course Assessment Glossary Course Feedback

Lesson One What is sustainable living?
In this lesson you will:
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Learn one definition of sustainable living Learn that sustainable living means different things to different people

What do you think it means to live sustainably? A. Living within Earth's limits B. Reducing our impact on the earth's resources C. Making lifestyle and consumer choices to limit our use of resources D. Living more simply E. Taking care of nature so nature can take care of us F. Meeting our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs G. Creating a balance between our natural systems, our economic system and our social system H. All of the above The best answer would be H. Sustainable living and sustainability mean different things to different people. Here's a definition from Teaching Tolerance, "A Standard to Sustain," Number 24 (Fall 2003), p. 14: "It [sustainability] has come to mean the ability to meet present needs without damaging or depleting the environmental, economic or social resources that future generations will need." And that is what permaculture is all about.
Activities 1. Go to and explore the concept of sustainable living. 2. Write down your own definition of sustainable living. 3. In what ways are you living sustainably? What would you like to change in your own life so that you can live more sustainably?

Lesson Two What is permaculture?
In this lesson you will learn:
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One definition of permaculture The term permaculture has many definitions

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The origin of permaculture Who is practicing permaculture

"Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted & thoughtful observation rather than protracted & thoughtless labour; of looking at plants & animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single-product system." Bill Mollison (from the website) This definition of permaculture expresses a basic concept in permaculture - examining and following nature's patterns. Permaculture advocates designing human systems based on natural ecosystems. But, there are many other definitions of permaculture, just as there are many definitions of sustainable living. The term permaculture is a contraction of the words "permanent," "agriculture,” and “culture.” Although the original focus of permaculture was sustainable food production, the philosophy of permaculture has expanded over time to encompass economic and social systems. It is a dynamic movement that is still evolving. For example, some practitioners are integrating spirituality and personal growth work into the framework of permaculture.
What is the origin of permaculture?

Permaculture was created in the 1970's by Bill Mollison, an Australian ecologist and University of Tasmania professor. He had spent many years out in nature as a wildlife biologist observing how natural systems work and became very distressed at the destruction that he saw going on around him. He decided that instead of being angry about what was happening and reacting against the destruction he wanted to work on creating a positive solution And he thought the solution would be living based on the patterns he had observed in nature. By observing nature, Mollison came up with several important insights. He observed that natural systems, such as forests and wetlands, are sustainable. They provide for their own energy needs and recycle their own wastes. He also observed that all the different parts of a natural ecosystem work together. Each component of the system performs important tasks. For example, bees help to pollinate, birds provide pest control, certain plants pull nitrogen out of the air and fix it into a form that other plants can use. So everything does useful work. He applied these and other insights to design and create sustainable agricultural systems. In the 1970's he and his student David Holmgren wrote and published some books explaining his ideas. In the 1980s he published his design manual and started teaching permaculture design courses to spread his ideas around the world. By the 1990s permaculture had started spreading throughout the US, although it's more well-known in other countries around the world. To this day, it's continuing to grow as a global grassroots movement and people primarily learn about it through permaculture design courses and workshops that generally happen outside of academia.
Who is practicing permaculture?

Besides permaculture practitioners who study and learn about permaculture and consciously use permaculture to live in a more sustainable way, there are many people who practice

permaculture without realizing it – concerned environmentalists, organic gardeners, conservationists, land use planners, urban activists, recyclers, indigenous peoples and anyone working toward creating a sustainable human civilization. The reason for this is that the philosophy of permaculture draws on a lot of ideas and practices that have been around for a long time. Have you heard the terms ecological design, sustainable design, applied ecology or green design? These are other terms that describe the basic philosophy of using nature as a model to foster sustainability. The difference between these approaches and permaculture is their scope and focus. Permaculture draws on these systems and incorporates them into a broader framework. Permaculture is a comprehensive system that can be applied to all aspects of one's life although food production remains an important focus. As mentioned earlier, it is a dynamic, living philosophy which is continuing to evolve.
How can you practice permaculture?

Because permaculture is a comprehensive, dynamic system it can be practiced in different ways and at different levels. To help you begin to use permaculture in your life, the rest of this course will present (1) the ethics the philosophical core of permaculture, (2) some principles - guidelines for applying permaculture, (3) strategies - goals to help you focus as you apply permaculture, and (4) techniques - concrete ways that you can apply permaculture. You, too, can become a permaculture practitioner!
Activities 1. Go to and read other definitions of permaculture. 2. Write down the definition that speaks to you.

Lesson Three What are the ethics of permaculture?
In this lesson you will learn:
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That permaculture is an ethical system The three ethics of permaculture

The ethics of permaculture

When we talk about permaculture we can start by talking about the ethics because permaculture is an ethical design system. The ethics are at the core of permaculture. They define how one should behave toward the earth and each other.

The three ethics of permaculture 1. Care of the earth means that our number one priority is taking care of the earth, making sure we don't damage its natural systems.

2. Care of the people means meeting people's needs so that people's lives can be sustained and have a good quality of life as well but without damaging the earth.
3. Accepting limits to population and consumption is realizing that as a human species we cannot continue to increase and also sustain the planet. We must put limits on our own growth and on our own consumption. Sometimes you will hear this ethic phrased as "share the surplus, invest all of your means in the first two ethics". This means limiting your consumption so that you can invest your resources in caring for the earth and caring for the people. Activities 1. Do you agree with the permaculture ethics? Why or why not? 2. What are your ethics and how do they guide your personal lifestyle choices?

Lesson Four What are some principles of permaculture?
In this lesson you will learn:
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What a permaculture principle is Seven principles of permaculture

Permaculture principles

Permaculture principles are derived from observing nature. They are things we see happening in natural ecosystems that we want to copy. We observe nature and try to mimic what it does. The principles can be viewed as guidelines to follow when we apply permaculture. Permaculture practitioners have identified many principles, but we are going to focus on seven basic principles which will give you an understanding of the function and importance of permaculture principles.
Seven principles of permaculture 1. Conservation - Use only what is needed.

For example, a family uses a hand pump, pictured right, for water on their homestead. The hand pump encourages them to conserve water and makes them very conscious of how much they are using so they only use what they actually need. Another example of conserving water is showering instead of taking a bath. 2. Stacking functions - In permaculture we speak
about getting many yields (outputs) from one element (thing) in your system. For example, a tree might be an element in your system. A tree can provide shade, shelter wildlife, produce mulch and building materials, be a wind break, fertilize the soil, prevent erosion, raise the water table, etc. A tree can do a lot of different work for us in our system, and that's what we mean by stacking functions.

A tree provides many yields.

3. Repeating functions - We meet every need in multiple ways. For example, one family meets their household need for water in two ways. They have a spring, but in very dry years the spring dries up so they need a backup. They also have a rooftop water catchment system so they can catch the rainwater running off their roof for domestic purposes.


. Water catchment System 4. Reciprocity - Utilize the yields of each
element to meet the needs of other elements in the system. This means there is a give and a take between elements. The output from one element can be an input for another element. A good example of this is composting. Kitchen scraps could be an output from our kitchen where we have left over organic matter and we use that as an input to Composting our compost pile and when it's in the compost pile it will turn into valuable fertilizer which we can then put on our garden. And then an output of our garden is food which would again be an input into the kitchen. So, you can see that the inputs and the outputs are circulating within our system.

kitchen scraps - to - compost pile - to - fertilizer for garden - to - food from garden - to - kitchen scraps

5. Appropriate scale - What we design should be on a human scale and doable with the available time, skills, and money that we have

A good example of appropriate scale would be looking at a massive hydroelectric dam which can severely disrupt the patterns of flow of a river or a stream and also cause flooding and loss of habitat compared to a small hydroelectric generator which could be used to generate electricity from a small stream without diverting the flow, without causing flooding or disruption. So using a micro hydroelectric generator is probably much more of an "appropriate scale" than creating a large dam.

Micro hydroelectric generator 6. Diversity - We want to create resilience by utilizing many elements.

We can contrast a garden which has a variety of plants in it with a field containing only wheat (monocropping). If you have a drought year or a wet year or if you have a certain kind of pest, all the wheat will probably be susceptible to the same condition or pest and you might lose your whole crop. But if you have a system that's mixed, with a variety of crops or plants, they might not all be susceptible. You might have some plants that are drought tolerant, others that do better in wetter conditions - if you have a drought year you'll just lose some of your plants, but you'll still have others that will do well. So, the idea is that the way to create a resilient system that can survive and get through difficulties is by having many different elements.

7. Give away the surplus - Create systems that are abundant and share the abundance rather than hoarding it for ourselves.

An example of this is the perennial plant nursery at Port Street in Baltimore, MD. When plant nurseries in the local area have extra stock they donate it to this nursery and the Port Street nursery gives it away for free to community groups that are doing improvement Perennial plant nursery work in downtown neighborhoods. That's a Port Street really nice way of sharing the abundance. Baltimore, MD
Activities 1. Think of something in your life that illustrates each of the seven principles. 2. If you can’t think of something you are already doing that illustrates each principle, think of something you could do.

Lesson Five How do you apply permaculture ethics and principles?
In this lesson you will learn:
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A three-step process for designing or redesigning a site The concept of site characteristics The concept of sector design The concept of zones The concept of needs and yields

The most common way to apply permaculture is by selecting a place where you want to incorporate permaculture practices. The place can be your own life or a physical space such as your home, an empty lot, a field, or your yard. The physical space may be urban or rural, may contain buildings, and may be populated. In other words, the site could be any place you choose. In permaculture the place is often referred to as a "site" and the process of incorporating permaculture practices is referred to as "site design". Once the site has been selected, you can begin the site design or redesign process.
The site design/redesign process 1. Research/analyze the site 2. Create the site design 3. Implement the site design

1. Research and analyze the site

We need to remember that each site is unique. Although the permaculture principles are universally applicable, the way we would apply them is going to vary depending on the site. The key to designing your site is to observe it for a long time. You want to create a system that's going to work well and sustain itself without a lot of human intervention. To do that requires careful planning and extended periods of observation. Permaculture emphasizes the idea of observing nature and imitating the patterns found in nature. It also emphasizes the interconnection of all the elements or things in a system and the relationships among them. "To enable a design component (pond, house, woodlot, garden, windbreak, etc.) to function efficiently, we must put it in the right place." (Introductoin to Permaculture, Bill Mollison and Reny Mia Slay, Tagari Publications, 1991, Tyalgum, Australia, p. 5). That is the purpose of this step in the process. Here are five ways to research and analyze the design site: Identify the characteristics of your site - Examine its topography, climate, soils, water, flora, fauna, and infrastructure. You can locate existing maps of the site and create some of your own to document your findings. Analyze the human element - Whose space is it? What are their goals and resources? Both the people and the earth need to be cared for. Analyze incoming energies - What direction is the sunlight coming from? The wind? Pedestrian traffic? Sector design is the term used for observing and documenting the energy flows from these and other elements that might be present at a site during different times of the year. A sector drawing would show the different directions in which energies from these elements are flowing in and would help determine where to place elements when designing a site. Analyze according to zones - Zones are another concept to use in design work to help place elements. Each zone is determined by how frequently you go there. Elements requiring more attention or used most frequently would be placed in the zones visited most frequently. An ideal location for an herb garden, for example, would be by the kitchen door. Zone 0: The home (occupied almost constantly) Zone 1: The immediate outdoors (visited daily) Zone 2: The yard and garden (visited several days a week) Zone 3: The food forest garden (visited weekly) Zone 4: The woods and meadow (visited monthly) Zone 5: The wilderness (visited yearly or never) Analyze needs and yields of the site's elements - What will each element produce or contribute to the site (output)? How many resources will it consume (input)? How much effort will you need to expend to maintain it? Remember the principles of stacking functions, repeating functions, and reciprocity. Permaculture is a holistic design system and we need to consider the relationship between all the elements in the system. 2. Create the site design

Using your findings from the research and analysis phase of the design process, create drawings showing the placement of different elements in your site. The site design drawings can have a timeline since it may not be possible to implement all of your design at one time. 3. Implement the site design The implementation may take place over a period of time. You can begin small and gradually extend the implementation as time, income and other resources permit. Changes in nature usually occur gradually over time.

1. Do a brief analysis of your living space.
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Who are the humans that occupy your living space? Which direction does the sun come from? The traffic? What are your zones?

2. What are your needs and yields?
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What elements in your system meet your needs? What elements do you provide inputs for?

Lesson Six What are some useful strategies and techniques for creating and implementing a site design?
In this lesson you will learn:
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What a strategy and a technique are and how they can help you in site design Nine areas to look at when creating and implementing a site design Strategies and techniques for each of the nine areas

Strategies can be thought of as goals that you can use to prioritize and focus your efforts in creating and implementing your design. Techniques are concrete ways of accomplishing those goals. We will look at strategies and techniques you can use to incorporate permaculture practices in nine different areas: natural systems, food, water, waste management, energy, shelter, social and economic systems, interpersonal relationships, and personal empowerment.

1. Natural systems

Natural systems, such as forests, wetlands, and streams, perform vital functions for us, and preserving them gives us multiple yields. Strategies:
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Repair and protect natural ecosystems. Protect and enhance biodiversity. Meet human needs using as little land as possible.

Repair and protect natural ecosystems. When forests are cut down there is less rainfall, more soil loss, lower productivity, more flooding and runoff, greater nutrient loss and higher sedimentation in the rivers. In areas where forests have been kept you actually have more rainfall because you have more evaporation and transpiration coming off the leaves, you have less erosion and runoff, less flooding, and better habitat. Wetlands are another natural system we want to preserve. They play a vital role in filtering our water. Finally, streams should be protected because they provide habitat for wildlife and a source of fresh water. Protect and enhance biodiversity because all species deserve a good quality of life. Permaculture believes that every living thing has value and contributes to the system even though it may not have a commercial value. Meet human needs using as little land as possible in order to preserve as much land as possible for natural systems. This is one of the key points of permaculture. Some people criticize permaculture by saying it focuses too much on humans and human needs, but the reason for that is that if we humans can learn to meet our own needs in sustainable ways - by using less resources and less land - then that means more for the natural systems. And the natural systems can take care of themselves - they don't need us. We need to learn to take care of ourselves in a responsible way. Techniques: Riparian buffers –One technique for protecting our streams is to plant riparian buffers. Riparian buffers are vegetative areas along streams. Ideally there should be at least 50 feet of vegetation on either side of a stream. That vegetation plays an important role - it helps to stabilize the bank, filters runoff, protects against floods, and can provide shade over the water, which is important for creating the right habitat for the aquatic life forms.

Riparian buffer on Codorus Creek in Glen Rock, PA.

2. Food production

Being able to meet our needs for food is an important part of a sustainable system and a focus of permaculture.

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Produce food onsite or locally. Use organic methods, polycultures, and perennials and limit fossil fuels. Treat animals humanely. Build up the biological resources of your site.

Produce food onsite or locally. Growing your own food can produce multiple yields, such as fresher produce, exercise, connection with the land, and community. Buying food grown locally creates a more vital local economy. Limiting the distance that food is transported conserves fossil fuels. Use organic methods, polycultures, and perennials and limit fossil fuels. Growing food organically means not using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. Polycultures, having many different kinds of plants in our system, rather than monocultures, support the principle of diversity. Right now our agricultural system focuses on annuals, crops that are planted and harvested every year. But in a sustainable system we would rely more on perennials (plants that persist for several years) to meet our food needs. And eventually we would like to eliminate the use of fossil fuels used to operate farm machinery and to produce chemical fertilizers. Treat animals humanely. Make sure the animals in your system are treated humanely and have a good quality of life. Animals are an important part of our food production system even if we don’t eat them. Some permaculturists are vegetarian and some are not. Even if you are vegetarian you always have animals, such as birds, worms, insects, and humans, that do useful work in your food production system. A chicken is often used as an example to illustrate the many outputs and functions of animals. They produce eggs, meat, feathers, manure, methane, etc. Scratching, fighting, flying, and foraging are some of the things they do. Again, we would also want to make sure that when we have chickens in our system that we meet all their needs - shelter, grit, dust, water, air, space, etc. - and other chickens so they can have a happy social life. This is in contrast to factory farming methods in which chickens are only viewed as a food product and are denied a good quality of life. Build up the biological resources of your site. Build up soil fertility as well as the number of useful plants on your site. Use native plants, and carefully select any exotics to ensure that they are not invasive. Think of it is as a form of investment. Instead of investing all your money in the bank or stock market, buy some trees or other useful perennials and plant them on your site. This will increase the value and productivity of your site and you will be able to meet more of your needs on that site long-term. Techniques: Here are some techniques for building up the soil, increasing soil fertility, and increasing the diversity of plants: Don't mix the top layers of soil. There are different layers of soil. The top two layers, the O-horizon and the A-

Soil Structure

horizon, are the layers we pay the most attention to. The O horizon is just organic matter, the A-horizon is a mix of rock materials and organic matter. In traditional agriculture you plow and rototill to mix those layers, but in permaculture you don't. Nature builds soil by depositing organic matter on top, so we want to do want nature does. This also maintains the proper soil structure. Within soils there are soil aggregates - clumps of soil that cluster together - and also little pores and channels where air and water can get through. We don't want to destroy that structure.

O-horizon: leaf litter, organic matter A-horizon: plough zone, rich in organic matter B-horizon: zone of accumulation C-horizon: weathering soil; little organic matter or life R-horizon: unweathered parent material

Sheet mulch to create new garden beds. Sheet mulching can be used to create new garden beds in areas that have vegetation that you do not want. Here are the steps:
1. Cut the vegetation down and lay it on the ground. 2. Cover it with a layer of compost or manure and other organic matter to attract the worms. 3. Put down a layer of cardboard and/or newspaper on top of your organic layer to form a barrier that prevents the plants from growing up again. 4. On top of the layer of paper put another layer of compost or manure to attract more worms. 5. Top it off with some mulch such as straw or leaves or grass clippings - basically anything organic. And there you have your sheet mulch garden bed!

Step 3 – putting a layer of cardboard on top of the compost and vegetation.

Step 5 – putting a layer of straw on top.

You can place plants directly into the sheet mulch garden bed at that time by cutting a hole in the sheet mulch, adding some compost, and putting in your plant. Or, you can let the mulched garden bed sit for perhaps six months before planting to allow nature to prepare the bed. The worms will be attracted to the compost and come up. They will work the soil for you, making it soft while maintaining proper soil structure. The cardboard will gradually decompose. In six months you could simply push the straw aside and plant seeds.

Plant in guilds. Planting in guilds means placing plants so they can work together. This creates a mini ecosystem. A typical guild might have:
1. A central overstory fruit tree such as an Asian pear. 2. A leguminous ground cover such as Dutch White Clover. The leguminous ground cover will fix nitrogen, which helps to fertilize the soil. 3. Deep-rooted dynamic accumulators such as comfrey and rhubarb. These plants bring nutrients from deep within the soil nearer to the surface so that other plants can use them. 4. Plants, such as yarrow and fennel, that attract beneficial insects.

Create food forests. A food forest or forest garden is a perennial agricultural system that is modeled on a natural forest. It is more productive than an annual garden because you can grow food and fiber in seven different layers:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Large fruit and nut trees Lower trees Layer of shrubs Layer of herbs Root layer Ground cover layer 7. Vertical layer - climbing vines

First edible forest garden in an urban area, Asheville, NC. The man who came up with the idea of the forest garden was Robert Hart. He lived in Britain and was well-known for his forest gardening ideas. Mollison incorporated Hart's ideas into permaculture. Use greenhouses and cold frames to extend the growing season. Greenhouses and cold frames trap the sun’s energy, creating higher temperatures, which enables us to grow plants in cold weather. These structures can be built very inexpensively using straw bales and recycled materials. A cold frame is essentially a mini greenhouse and can be located inside or outside a greenhouse. The greenhouse pictured to the right was made out of straw bales, a wood frame, metal poles and plastic. Even in the depths of winter, this greenhouse generated temperatures up to 100 degrees.

Inside the greenhouse at Riverpearl Farm is a cold frame. It was just a border of straw bales topped off by an old glass door. By being in the greenhouse, the cold frame produced even hotter temperatures.

Grow food in containers. This technique is particularly applicable to urban areas. You might not have a lot of open space where you can grow things, so you can use containers in areas

without soil, such as sidewalks and rooftops. Because the soil in cities may be of poor quality and even contaminated, you may want to use containers instead of planting directly in the soil. You may need to bring in organic matter and top soil for your containers. Rent a publicly owned garden plot. Lots of cities have garden plots that you can rent to grow food in the city. City Farm urban gardens at Patterson Park in Baltimore, MD is pictured to the right.

3. Water

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Capture and store the water on site. Use water as many times as possible in the system. Conserve water as much as possible. Release water from the system clean.

Capture and store the water on site. This way we can most efficiently utilize the water that comes to our site naturally. Use water as many times as possible in the system. If we capture it high on the landscape we can make it do as much work as possible on the way down. Conserve water as much as possible. This supports the principle of conservation. Release it from the system clean. We need to be responsible users of our resources. Techniques: Use a front loading washing machine. Front loading washing machines use about one third the water that top loading models use. Swales. Swales (a shallow ditch that's on a contour) help to trap the water rather than having it run off.

Create a rooftop water catchment system. You can capture the water that falls on your roof and use it in your system. At Heathcote, pictured at right, they set up a simple system using a plastic 55 gallon drum that fills up with water from a roof. They then use it to water their garden.

Capture and use greywater. Blackwater has human excrement; greywater is from laundry, the kitchen, showers and similar uses. There are many different types of greywater systems. An example of a low tech system is catching your shower water in a bucket and using it to water your plants. A more complex system might involve running the water through beds of wetland plants to filter it.
4. Waste management

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Produce no "waste" or pollution. Refuse to use substances that cannot be recycled. Reduce what you use. Reuse materials. Recycle materials.

Produce no "waste" or pollution. Instead of producing waste we want everything to be recycled within the system. Refuse to use substances that cannot be recycled. In particular, refuse to use toxic substances. Reduce what you use. By reducing the amount of materials that we use, we will have less to recycle. This also supports the principle of conservation. Reuse materials. Reuse materials to get as much out of them as possible. Recycle materials. Use all materials as inputs for other elements in the system. Techniques: Here are some waste management techniques:

Compost. There are many types of composting systems. You can purchase them or build one. Worm composting systems are particularly good for urban areas where you don't have much space to work with. You put the worms in trays and put your kitchen scraps in with them along with some layers of newspapers. As the worms process the kitchen scraps they produce a liquid - worm poop mixed with water - which is very fertile and can be used to water plants. Worm composting system Composting Toilets. Human excrement can be recycled to use as a fertilizer. Instead of mixing it with drinking water the way we do with flush toilets, the excrements can be collected, mixed with sawdust or other carbon-rich materials, and composted. Composted “humanure” can be applied to perennial and ornamental plants as a fertilizer.
5. Energy

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Use renewable energy sources. Maximize efficiency and minimize emissions. Use fossil fuels only to establish systems that create more energy than they consume.

Use renewable energy sources. Use renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydro, human, animal, geothermal, etc. as much as possible. Maximize efficiency and minimize emissions. Use technologies that are as efficient as possible. Minimize the release of greenhouse gases, particulates, and toxic emissions from the combustion of fuels. Use fossil fuels only to establish systems that create more energy than they consume. Systems that depend on fossil fuels are not sustainable, because fossil fuels may not always be available and the combustion of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases that can cause climate change. However, at this time in history, fossil fuels and the machines and infrastructure that are dependent upon fossils fuels are readily available and can be used to construct and establish systems that are sustainable. For example, earth moving equipment powered by fossil fuels can be used to create a pond that will create more energy, in the form of biomass, than was consumed to create the pond. Techniques: Here are some techniques for more sustainable energy use: Use a drying rack or clothesline to dry your clothes. This will enable you to utilize solar energy instead of fossil fuels to dry your clothes.

Utilize natural methods of heating and cooling. Design buildings to use passive solar heating by including south facing windows and a heat sink to absorb and store the sun’s energy. Cool your buildings naturally with proper ventilation, awnings over south facing windows, and shade trees. The Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, MD, utilizes passive solar heating. Build an outdoor solar shower for use during the summer in rural areas. Use a micro hydro electric generator. This is a small electric generator that can generate power from a small stream without disturbing the flow or aquatic life of the stream.
6. Shelter

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Locate buildings to minimize environmental impact and transportation requirements. Renovate older buildings. Use natural and recyclable materials. Design buildings to incorporate sustainable energy, water, food production, and waste management systems.

Locate buildings to minimize environmental impact and transportation requirements. Put buildings in areas that are already developed or in areas that are close to where we might be working or going to school or close to public transportation so we have minimum driving time. Renovate older buildings. That way we don't have to build new ones using new materials. Use natural and recyclable materials. Worldwide building construction is estimated to consume 3 billion tons of raw materials annually. The materials used in building construction affect the health of a building’s occupants. Every building will eventually deteriorate and be demolished, creating solid waste that must be disposed of. For these reasons, proper selection of building materials is important. Many conventional building materials, such as pressuretreated wood, are toxic and should be avoided. Natural materials, such as untreated wood, stone, brick, straw, and earth, are better for the health of occupants and the earth. These materials can also be recycled when the building is demolished. Design buildings to incorporate sustainable energy, water, food production, and waste management systems. Buildings are a great place to integrate all of the elements in a sustainable system. Techniques:

Here are some examples of natural building techniques: Cobb. Cobb is a building material made from mud and clay mixed together with straw. Straw bale. Straw bale is a great building material because it's often a waste product and in some areas they actually burn it, creating air pollution. But it can be baled together and made into a very sturdy building material and has very good insulating properties.

Cobb hut at Earthaven Ecovillage , NC.
7. Social and economic systems

Building with straw bales.

These are an important part of any sustainable system. We need to redesign our social and economic systems to support sustainable living. Strategies:
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Practice domestic self-reliance. Build cooperative communities. Create local, alternative economic systems.

Practice domestic self-reliance. Try to meet as many of your own needs as possible. Build cooperative communities. It's impossible to meet all your own needs by yourself. Therefore, we want to build cooperative communities so people can work together to meet their needs. Permaculture supports cooperation rather than competition. Create local, alternative economic systems. Capitalism creates large disparities between the wealthy and the poor. Private ownership of land puts money into private pockets when community land values increase. Large corporations take money out of communities to enrich sharesholders and corporate executives who live far away. In contrast, permaculture seeks to recycle wealth within local communities and ensure that resources are equitably distributed by creating alternative economic institutions such as cooperatives and land trusts. Techniques: Practice voluntary simplicity. Make a conscious choice to limit your consumption of material goods.

Establish or live in an intentional community. An intentional community is a small, localized, often rural community of persons or families pursuing common interests or concentrating on certain basic values. (from For more information about intentional communities go to Barter. In a barter system, individuals trade goods or services instead of using money to purchase them. Create a cooperative or join existing cooperatives. Cooperatives are organizations or entities that are jointly owned by its members. Users of cooperatives usually buy shares in the cooperative and may participate in its management. There are cooperative businesses, schools, and apartment buildings. Credit unions are cooperative financial institutions. Land trusts. In a land trust the land is held in common, usually by a non-profit organization, rather than being held privately so the profits that come from the land go to benefit the greater community rather than going into private pockets.
8. Interpersonal relationships

Interpersonal relationships are another important part of creating a sustainable culture. We can consciously design our relationships to be more loving and fulfilling. Strategies: Create cooperative, caring relationships. In our mainstream cultures we are often not taught the skills necessary to create cooperative, caring relationships. Some of the things we want to focus on are: attuning to our own authentic feelings to learn what we are actually feeling, listening well to others, communicating clearly, resolving conflicts nonviolently, and making decisions together using consensus. Techniques: Nonviolent conflict resolution. Learn how to resolve conflicts nonviolently. There are a variety of approaches that you can study. For example, the Quakers offer workshops called “Help Increase the Peace.” Nonviolent communication is another approach that was developed by Marshall Rosenberg and is practiced in 25 countries worldwide. It is a set of principles, ideas, and tools designed to help people become aware of their own and others’ feelings, foster compassion, communicate clearly, and resolve conflicts. Consensus decision-making. Right now the model that is used most widely in our culture is the model of voting. In voting everyone gets a say but there are winners and losers, and the losers basically don't get any say. But with the consensus model everyone needs to agree so everyone will at least have a decision that they can live with.
9. Personal empowerment

Permaculturists refer to the mental and emotional state of the self as “Zone Zero.” We can redesign our own “internal ecosystem” so that we are more empowered and better able to create a sustainable culture. Spirituality can be integrated into permaculture as a tool for personal empowerment.

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Love and nurture yourself. Engage in inner healing work. Cultivate inner peace.

Love and nurture yourself. Recognize and appreciate your worth. The philosophy of permacuture believes that every element in a system has value. Take care of yourself so you can enjoy life and contribute to our world. Care of the people is one of the ethics of permaculture. Engage in inner healing work. If we don't heal ourselves we won't be able to do any of the things that we've just been talking about. Within our culture many people have been harmed by various kinds of abuses, addictions, and oppressions. We need to heal ourselves from those so that we no longer play the roles of victim or oppressor and can act from a place of empowerment. Cultivate inner peace. Environmentally destructive behaviors, such as over-consumption, result from our futile attempts to fill a spiritual void. When we learn how to fill ourselves from within, we stop seeking gratification from outside of ourselves and are able to live in harmony with our environment. Techniques: Provide yourself with proper nutrition, exercise, rest, and relaxation. This may seem simple but it is actually very challenging in our high-stress culture. Remember, burnout is not sustainable! Commit to making time to care for yourself. A sustainable lifestyle begins with sustaining our own physical and emotional well-being. Engage in healing practices. If you have been harmed by abuse, addiction, or oppression, engage in practices that will help you to heal. These may include therapy, co-counseling, breath work, empowerment workshops, etc. Engage in spiritual practices. We can train our minds to be happy and peaceful by engaging in spiritual practices. These may include prayer, meditation, ritual, and selfless service. These techniques have universal value and can be effective regardless of one’s religion or spiritual beliefs.
Activities 1. 1. Identify some permaculture techniques that you are already practicing. 2. 2. Identify some permaculture techniques that you can easily incorporate into your daily life.

Lesson Seven How can I learn more about permaculture?
In this lesson you will find:

A list of permaculture demonstration sites

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Information about a permaculture design course and how to obtain permaculture design apprentice certification A list of permaculture websites A list of permaculture books and articles

Permaculture demonstration sites

This is a list of communities and locations that are practicing permaculture or incorporating permaculture etics and principles into their lifestyle.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. - Village Homes in Davis, CA ( - Valle Cielo in Santa Fe, NM - Riverpearl Farm in Glen Rock, PA - Heathcote Community in Freeland, MD - Earthaven Ecovillage, Black Mountain, NC

Permaculture design course and certification

The course is offered at Heathcote in two formats, a two-week intensive course in a residential setting or an extended course with home study components interspersed with ten days of class meetings for hands-on work. Go to for more information or call Karen Stupski at 410-343-DIRT.
Permaculture websites 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Permaculture books and articles

*Those with asterisks are good resources to begin with. Ecological design - general Alexander, Christopher, 1977. A Pattern Language: Towns, Building, Construction. Mars, Ross. The Basics of Permaculture Design. McHarg, Ian. 1969. Design with Nature. The Natural History Press. *Mollison, Bill with Reny Slay. 1991. Introduction to Permaculture. Tyalgum, Australia: Tagari. *Mollison, Bill. 1988. Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual. Tyalgum, Australia: Tagari. Morrow, Rosemary. 1993. Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture. Kenthurst NSW: Kangaroo Press. Seymour, John and Herbert Girardet. 1987. Blueprint for a Green Planet: Your Practical Guide to Restoring the World’s Environment. New York: Prentice Hall. Smyser, Carol A. Nature’s Design. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press. Todd, John and Nancy. Bioshelter, Ocean Arks, City Farming: Ecology as the Basis of Design. *Van der Ryn, Sim and Stuart Cowan. 1996. Ecological Design. Washington D.C.: Island Press. Sustainability Agenda 21 The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. 1992. Bookchin, Murray. 1980. Toward an Ecological Society. Montreal: Black Rose Books. Brown, Lester. 1981. Building a Sustainable Society. New York: W. W. Norton. Meadows, Donella, Dennis Meadows, 1972. The Limits to Growth. New York: Signet. National Research Council. 1999. Our Common Journey: A Transition Toward Sustainability. Washington DC: National Academy Press. Revelle, Penelope and Charles. The Global Environment: Securing a Sustainable Future. *Wackernagel, Mathis and William Rees. Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth. Gabriola Island, B.C.: New Society Publishers.

World Commission on Economic Development. 1987. Our Common Future. New York: Oxford University Press. Ecological Restoration *Sauer, Leslie Jones. 1998. The Once and Future Forest: A Guide to Forest Restoration Strategies. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. Shelter systems Anderson, Bruce. 1987. The New Solar Home Book. Andover, MA: Brick House Books. Berthold-Bond, Annie. 1990. Clean and Green: The Complete Guide to Nontoxic and Environmentally Safe Housekeeping. Woodstock, NY: Ceres Press. Borer, Pat and Cindy Harris. 1998. The Whole House Book: Ecological Building Design and Materials. Machynlleth, Powys, UK: Centre for Alternative Technology Publications. Kennedy, Joseph, Michael G. Smith and Catherine Wanek, eds. 2002. The Art of Natural Building: Design, Construction, Resources. Gabriola Island, Canada: New Society Publishers. Kern, Ken. The Owner Built Home. *Kilbert, Charles, ed. Reshaping the Built Environment: Ecology, Ethics and Economics. Washington, DC: Island Press, 1999. King, Bruce. 1996. Buildings of Earth and Straw: Structural Design for Rammed Earth and Straw-bale Architecture. Saulsalito, CA: Ecological Design Press. Mazria, Edward. 1979. The Passive Solar Energy Book: A Complete Guide to Passive Solar Home, Greenhouse and Building Design. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press. MacDonald, S.O. and Orien MacDonald. A Straw Bale Primer. Nisson, J.D. and Gautam Dutt. 1985. The Superinsulated House Book. John Wiley. Reynolds, Michael. Earthships, Volumes I - III. Smith, Michael. 1998. The Cobber’s Companion. Rodale, ed. Solarizing Your Present Home. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press. University of Minnesota, Underground Space Center. Earth Sheltered Housing Designs, Guidelines, examples, references. Van Dresser, Peter. 1977. Passive Solar House Basics. Santa Fe, NW: Ancient City Press. Energy systems

Andrassy, Stella. 1978. The Solar Food Dryer Book. Earth Books. Bainbridge. The Integral Passive Solar Water Heater Book. Coffin, W. and R. Alward. 1986. A Design Guide for Underground Heat Storage Systems. Quebec: Brace Research Institute. Fowler Solar Electric. 1989. The Solar Electric Independent Home Book. . Hinrichs, Roger A. 1996. Energy: Its Use and the Environment. Saunders College Publishing. *Holmgren, David. “Energy and Permaculture,” The Permaculture Activist 31, May 1994. Inversin, Allen. 1986. Micro Hydropower Sourcebook. Intermadiate Technology Group of North America. Rodale Press, Producing Your Own Power: How to Make Nature’s Energy Sources Work for You. Saxenian, Mike and Ken Saxenian. 1986. Appropriate Technology Sourcebook. Stanford, CA: Volunteers in Asia. Schaeffer, John, ed. 1992. The Alternative Energy Sourcebook: A Comprehensive Guide to Energy Sensible Technologies. Ukiah, CA: Real Goods Trading Corporation. U.S. Government. Small Scale Wind, Hydro and Photovoltaic Systems. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Water systems Campbell, Stu. 1978. The Home Water Supply: How to Find, Filter, Store and Conserve It. NY: Bootstrap Publications. Dunne, Thomas and Luna Leopold. 1978. Water in Environmental Planning. W.H. Freeman. Ludwig, Art. Date? Builder’s Greywater Guide: Installation of Greywater Systems in New Construction and Remodeling. Santa Barbara, CA: PIP Printing. *Ludwig, Art. 1994. Create an Oasis with Greywater: Your Complete Guide to Managing Greywater in the Landscape. Santa Barbara, CA: PIP Printing. Matson, Tim. 1991. Earth Ponds: The Country Pond Maker’s Guide to Building, Maintenance and Restoration. *Riley, A. L., et. al. 1981. Captured Rainfall: Small-Scale Water Supply Systems. California: Department of Water Resources, The Resources Agency.

Watt, S. B. 1984. Ferrocement Water Tanks and Their Construction. London: Intermadiate Technology Publications, Ltd. Waste disposal and nutrient recycling systems Appelhof, Mary. 1982. Worms Eat My Garbage. Flower Press. *Del Porto, David and Carol Steinfeld. 1999. The Composting Toilet Systems Book: A Practical Guide to Choosing, Planning and Maintaining Composting Toilet Systems, an Alternative to Sewer and Septic Systems. Concord, MA: The Center for Ecological Pollution Prevention. EPA. 1988. Constructed Wetlands and Aquatic Plant Systems for Municipal Wastewater Treatment. Washington, DC: EPA Office of Research and Development. EPA/625/1-88/022. EPA. 1980. Onsite Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems. Washington, DC: EPA Office of Research and Development. EPA 625/1-80-012. Grant, Nick, Mark Moodie, and Chris Weedon. 2000. Sewage Solutions: Answering the Call of Nature. Machynlleth, Powys, UK: Centre for Alternative Technology Publications. Harper, Peter and Louise Halestrap. 1999. Lifting the Lid: An Ecological Approach to Toilet Systems. Machynlleth, Powys, UK: Centre for Alternative Technology Publications. *Jenkins, J.C. 1994. The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure. Grove City, PA: Jenkins Publishing. National Small Flows Clearinghouse, West Virginia University, PO Box 6064, Morgantown, WV, 26506-6064. 1-800-624-8301. More than 200 publications. TVA. 1991. General Design, Construction and Operation Guidelines: Constructed Wetlands Wastewater Treatment Systems for Small Users Including Individual Residences. Chattanooga: Tennessee Valley Authority. Food production systems Bell, Graham. 1994. The Permaculture Garden. London: Thorsons. Coleman, Eliot. 1992. Four Season Harvest: How to harvest fresh, organic vegetables from your home garden all year long. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing Company. Crawford, Martin. 1992. Directory of Useful Plants for Temperate Climates. Devon, UK: Agroforestry Research Trust. Duke, James. 1992. Handbook of Edible Weeds. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. Facciola, Stephen. 1990. Cornucopia: A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Pub.

Fishman, Ram. 1986. The Handbook for Fruit Explorers. Chapin, IL: North American Fruit Explorers. Fukuoka, Masanobu. 1978. The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press. Hart, Robert. 1991. Forest Gardening: Cultivating an Edible Landscape. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing Company. *Hemenway, Toby. 2001. Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green. Hunt, Marjorie and B. Bortz. 1986. High-Yield Gardening: How to Get More from Your Garden Space and More From Your Gardening Season. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press. Jaynes, Richard A., ed. 1979. Nut Tree Culture in North America. New Carlise, OH: Northern Nut Growers Association. *Jeavons, John. 1974. How to Grow More Vegetables than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land than You can Imagine. Palo Alto, CA: Ecology Action. *Kourik, Robert. 1986. Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally. Metamorphic Press. Logston, Gene. 1981. Organic Orcharding: A Grove of Trees to Live In. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press. Logston, Gene. 1978. Getting Food from Water: a Guide to Backyard Aquaculture. McLarney. 1984. The Freshwater Aquaculture Book: A Handbook for Small Scale Fish Culture in North America. Cloudburst Press. McLeod, Edward. 1982. Feed the Soil. Organic Agricultural Research Institute, Box 475, Graton, CA 95444. Reinjntjes, Coen, Bertus Haverkort and Ann Waters-Bayer. 1992. Farming for the Future: an Introduction to Low-External-Input and Sustainable Agriculture. Macmillian. Rodale, Robert. 1971. The Basic Book of Organic Gardening. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press. Schuler, Stanley and E. Schuler. 1973. Preserving the Fruits of the Earth: How to ‘Put Up’ Almost Every Food Grown in the United States in Almost Every Way. Galahad Books. Smith, J. Russell. 1929, 1950. Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture. Island Press. Tilth. 1982. The Future is Abundant: A Guide to Sustainable Agriculture. Arlington, WA: Tilth. Whealy, Kent. 198?. Fruit, Berry and Nut Inventory. Seed Savers Publications.

*Whitefield, Patrick. 1996. How to Make a Forest Garden. Hampshire: Permanent Publications. Yepson, Roger. 1981. Home Food Systems: Rodale’s Catalog of Methods and Tools for Producing, Processing, and Preserving Naturally Good Foods. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press. Culture and Social Organization *Butler, C.T. and Amy Rothstein. 1991. On Conflict and Consensus: a Handbook on Formal Consensus Decisionmaking. Portland, ME: Food Not Bombs Publishing. *Chinn, Peggy L. 1995. Peace and Power: Building Communities for the Future. New York: NLN Press. *Durning, Alan. How Much is Enough? The Consumer Society and the Future of the Earth. New York: W.W. Norton, 1992. Eisler, Riane. 1987. The Chalice and the Blade. New York: HarperCollins. Eisler, Riane and David Loye. 1990. The Partnership Way. New York: HarperCollins. Macy, Joanna. 1998. Coming Back to Life: Practice to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers. Starhawk. 1990. Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery. San Francisco: Harper. Economics *Brandt, Barbara. 1995. Whole Life Economics: Revaluing Daily Life. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers. Greco, Tom. New Money for Healthy Communities. Hawken, Paul. The Ecology of Commerce. New York: HarperCollins, 1993. Hawken, Paul, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins. 1999. Natural Capitalism. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. Kennedy, Margrit. 1988. Interest and Inflation Free Money: How to Create an Exchange Medium that Works for Everybody. Steyerberg, West Germany: Permakultur Publikationen. Nattrass, Brian and Mary Altomare. 1999. The Natural Step for Business: Wealth, Ecology and the Evolutionary Corporation. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers. *Schumacher, E. F. 1973. Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. New York: Harper and Row. Urban Permaculture

*Olkowski, Helga and Bill, Tom Javits and the Farallones Institute Staff. 1979. The Integral Urban House: Self-Reliant Living in the City. Sierra Club Books. *O’Meara, Molly. Reinventing Cities for People and the Planet. Worldwatch Paper #147. Register, Richard and Brady Peeks. 1997. Village Wisdom/Future Cities: The Third International Ecocity and Ecovillage Conference. Oakland: Ecocity Builders. Spirn, Anne. 1984. The Granite Garden. Basic Books. Walter, Bob, Lois Arkin and Richard Crenshaw. 1992. Sustainable Cities: Concepts and Strategies for Eco-City Development. Los Angeles: Eco-Home Media.

Test your permaculture knowledge!
Post-course assessment

1. Select from the statements below all those that apply to permaculture.
A. Permaculture is an ethical design system. B. The terms “permanent,” “agriculture” and “culture” help explain the origin and meaning of permaculture. C. There are many people who consciously and unconsciously practice permaculture. D. Bill Mollison created the philosophy of permaculture. E. Ecological design, sustainable design and applied ecology are other names for permaculture. F. Mollison advocates observing nature and then copying the patterns that exist in nature.

2. Name the three ethics of permaculture. The three words below provide clues to the three ethics.
A. Earth B. People C. Limits -

3. Which permaculture principles are illustrated by actions in the following scenario: The Bennett family wanted a backyard garden. They decided to put the garden in the far corner of their backyard. Tony rented a rototiller to turn and prepare the soil for planting. He then added the composting material from the composting bin by the kitchen for fertilizer. There wasn’t enough composting for the whole garden so he also bought some chemical fertilizer. Karen created the plan for the garden and decided she wanted a variety of plants that would grow under different conditions. The almanac was predicting a wet spring and a dry summer. She planted marigolds between the various types of plants to keep away the insects, create a divider between the plants and for color and beauty in the garden. In the mornings Tony would water the garden before going to work with water from the barrel by the roof that caught rain water. During the dry summer he used a sprinkler system with water from the outdoor spigot. Because there was a shortage of water from the dry weather, he was always careful not to over water the garden. By midsummer the garden was in full production and producing more tomatoes and squash than they could eat, so they took produce to work to share and gave some to their neighbors.

A. Conservation B. Stacking functions C. Repeating functions D. Reciprocity E. Appropriate scale F. Diversity G. Give away the surplus 4. In the scenario described in Question #3 what actions were and were not appropriate according to the philosophy of permaculture? 5. The Haqski family is remodeling their home and yard to be more environmentally sustainable. They are permaculture practitioners and want to incorporate permaculture strategies and techniques into their design. Which of the following should they include in their design?
A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H. I. J. Install a full bathroom for each family member. Install awnings over the south-facing windows. Install composting toilets. Install a central air conditioning system. Install ceiling fans. Install energy efficient appliances. Extend the lawn by clearing bushes and trees next to the stream. Install a greywater system. Install a hot tub. Build a deck with pressure treated wood.


Question 1 Select from the statements below all those that apply to permaculture. A. True – The three ethics at the core of permaculture are: Care of the earth, Care of the people and Accepting limits to population and consumption. B. True - The term permaculture is a contraction of the words "permanent," "agriculture,” and “culture.” Although the original focus of permaculture was sustainable food production, the philosophy of permaculature has expanded over time to encompass economic and social systems. C. True - There are many people who practice permaculture without realizing it – concerned environmentalists, organic gardeners, conservationists, land use planners, urban activists,

recyclers, indigenous peoples and anyone working toward creating a sustainable human civilization. The reason for this is that the philosophy of permaculture draws on a lot of ideas and practices that have been around for a long time. And, of course, there are many permaculture practitioners who study and learn about permaculture and consciously use it to live in a more sustainable way. D. True – Bill Mollison created permaculture, and later he and his graduate student, David Holmgren published books about permaculture. E. False - Ecological design, sustainable design, and applied ecology are similar in that they also have sustainable living as their goal and look to nature as their basic model. The difference between these systems and permaculture is their scope and focus. Permaculture is a comprehensive system that can be applied to all aspects of one's life although food production remains an important focus. In addition, it is a dynamic, living philosophy which is continuing to evolve. F. True - Permaculture principles are derived from observing nature. They are things we observe happening in nature that we want to copy. Permaculturists observe nature and try to mimic what nature does. Question 2 Name the three ethics of permaculture. The three words below provide clues to the three ethics. A. Earth - Care of the earth B. People - Care of the people C. Limits - Accepting limits to population and consumption Question 3 Which permaculture principles are illustrated by actions in the scenario? A. Conservation Tony was always careful not to over water the garden. B. Stacking functions Karen planted marigold in the garden and got these yields: They kept insects away. They created a divider between plants. They brought beauty and color to the garden. C. Repeating functions

Tony had two ways to provide water for the garden: rain water from his catchment system and water from his community household system as a backup during dry weather. D. Reciprocity Tony used decomposed kitchen scraps from his composting bin for fertilizer. E. Appropriate scale Tony and Karen created a backyard garden which was appropriate for their needs. F. Diversity Karen planted a variety of plants that would grow under different conditions – the wet spring and the dry summer. G. Give away the surplus Karen and Tony’s garden was so productive that they grew more than needed. They shared the surplus with co-workers and neighbors. Question 4 In the scenario described in Question #3 what actions were and were not appropriate according to the philosophy of permaculture? Were appropriate: Tony used material from his composting bin as fertilizer in the garden. Karen created a plan for the garden. In permaculture you observe, research and analyze your site. Part of this process is creating drawings which illustrate the placement of elements at the site. However, Karen should have spent more time analyzing her site. She could have identified the characteristics of the site, analyzed the human element, analyzed the incoming energies (sector design), and analyzed it according to zones. Karen planted a variety of plants that would grow under different conditions for diversity. Karen planted marigolds, and the marigolds provided several yields. Tony watered the garden in the morning before going to work when it was cool and the water would be able to soak into the ground rather than quickly evaporate. He was also careful not to over water. This conserved water. Tony used two methods for watering the garden. The water catchment system conserved water and the sprinkler system using household water provided a backup during dry weather. Karen and Tony created an abundant garden and shared their abundance. Were not appropriate:

Karen and Tony placed their garden in the far corner of their backyard. According to the concept of zones, the best place for their garden would have been closer to their house where it would have been more accessible. They would be visiting their garden and harvesting food frequently. Tony used a rototiller. In permaculture you want to maintain the natural soil structure and not mix the layers of soil. Tony added chemical fertilizer to the garden. In permaculture you avoid the use of artificial and potentially toxic substances. Question 5 Which of the following should the Haqski family include in their remodeling design?
Appropriate design choices

B. Install awnings over the south-facing windows. This would provide shade in the summer and is an energy efficient method of cooling a home. C. Install composting toilets. This would conserve water and allow the waste to be used as fertilizer. E. Install ceiling fans. This is an example of a natural cooling technique. H. Install a greywater system. This would allow relatively clean household waste water to be reused to water the garden.
Inappropriate design choices

A. Install a full bathroom for each family member. This would not be a good use of resources. The third permaculture ethic asks us to accept limits to our consumption. G. Extend the lawn by clearing bushes and trees next to the stream. This would damage the stream by removing its riparian buffer. The buffer helps prevent erosion, reduce flooding and filter runoff. Lawns should be minimized because they have a low yield compared to forests and gardens and require an expenditure of time and energy to maintain. J. Build a deck with pressure treated wood.

Pressure treated wood should not be used because it is toxic. A deck that is built with natural wood or recycled materials and gets frequent use may be appropriate. However, decks are often neglected and become examples of excessive and needless consumption. May be appropriate D. Install a central air conditioning system. It’s preferable to use natural cooling techniques. However, in some circumstances (hot climates, health reasons) this may be an appropriate choice. F. Install energy efficient appliances. It’s preferable to use energy efficient appliances to conserve energy. However, if their old appliances are still usable, it may be better to continue using them rather than sending them to a landfill and replacing them with a new product. I. Install a hot tub. Hot tubs may be costly, require chemical treatment, and consume excessive energy. Yet, they can have many benefits such as relaxation, healing and social bonding. There may be ways to integrate them into a design so that they have a reciprocal relationship with other elements in the system.

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