Your Very Own Garden of Eden
Does it exist? It can. It's called permaculture and it can flourish right in your own back yard, in any climate.
The term permaculture was coined nearly thirty years ago by Australian Bill Mollison. It means permanent agriculture.
Some leaders in the field of permaculture refer to it as perennial agriculture because it is a diverse, yet productively stabile, agro-ecosystem. Its holistic design integrates biology, ecology, geography, agriculture, architecture, water and energy resources, technology and conservation into self-sustaining daily living. In short, it forms a symbiotic relationship between the human and Nature that bequeaths a beneficial legacy to fauna, flora, air, water, soil and man.
According to Bill Mollison, "Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single project system."
Permaculture (often referred to as PC) is an life ethic. It is a demonstration of the Earth-care and people-care. It is a consciously created, planning intensive, system that melds ecologically sound disciplines from our past, present and future into a self-reliant structure that can replenish and survive long after we have left this existence. Each aspect of the system enhances the function of all others.
Why is this important? As a Lakota friend told me, "Healing the Earth heals the soul. To exist in co-operation with Nature is to find harmony within and to energize one's own being."
On a global scale, permaculture demonstrates an abundance that can be achieved anywhere, no matter the climate or terrain. It was designed to sustain life in dry climates and has proven itself to be an economically effective way of feeding the population and maintaining the earth.
The philosophies of permaculture can be applied in both rural and urban settings, to an individual or community, as a form of self reliance or as a form of income. The ability to create self perpetuating, low-maintenance ecosystems that provide abundance in a non-destructive, non-polluting, conservational form is a gift we can return to Nature and give each other.
We must shift from passive learning to active participation and application to achieve this goal. As individuals we must begin apply our intelligence, creativity and insight to the health of Nature and ourselves and the ability to provide for all. Permaculture can be the first step in the road to physically healing our planet and spiritually healing ourselves.