Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Permaculture

This article in the NY Times focuses on the growth of a movement of innovative methods of farming design that has been coined “Permaculture.” Founded in the mid-1970’s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgreen, permaculture is a simple system for addressing the emerging planetary resource crisis by designing sustainable human settlements, restoring soil, planting year-round food landscapes, conserving water, redirecting the waste stream, and forming more companionable communities. The movement has been steadily spreading across the globe, infiltrating both rural farms as well as urban and suburban neighborhoods with activities such as worm trays, bee boxes, aquaponics ponds, chicken roosts, compost systems, rain barrels, solar panels, and earthships. Various sustainable techniques and methods of living coalesce into a holistic ecological package that is in harmony with natural forces that have been shaping the earth long before humans were introduced to the story of life. The golden rule of permaculture is: “care of the earth; care of people; and a return of surplus time, energy, and money, to the cause of bettering the earth and its people,” The article continues and shares stories of a handful of permaculturists or “permies” who have been successful with the practices and techniques.

The article made me really step back and take a look at the impact that our modern lifestyles are having on the planet. With growing population, climate change, and limited resources, permaculture sounds like one of the only logical steps that our culture can take toward a more sustainable future. Many people who are stuck in the destructive habits of modern culture are going to have a hard time accepting the changes that supporters of permaculture suggest we take. But for those who want change and for those who want to save time, money, and planetary resources, this movement is something to be followed. There are many corporations that rely on the unsustainable habits of industrial agriculture to survive, making permaculture a system that is not widely talked about or shared in the media. I think it is important that this movement of harmonious living is becoming more and more popular and that this is exactly what society needs in order to start fixing the damage that has been done.
--Kyle Espenshade

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