Permaculture: the design arm of a paradigm shift

June 3, 2015 at 9:01 am 1 comment

permaculture

I’m finding that the most fruitful way for me to think about permaculture is that it is the design arm of a paradigm shift. To be more specific, it’s the design approach for achieving the goals of the sustainability movement. And I mean sustainability in the largest sense, not just environmental sustainability but social and ethical as well.

The genius of permaculture is that it is both a tool for enacting the new paradigm of whole-systems thinking and a way to learn how to make that paradigm shift. To use permaculture effectively, we need to have made the transition to the holistic worldview. Until we have done that, permaculture can look like a set of gardening techniques, or at most a set of practices guided by a list of dogmatic principles and three ethics. We can’t get good at it until we have moved beyond the reductionist view that most of us were brought up in. But the beauty is, simply practicing permaculture teaches us to think in whole systems.

Permaculture, then, is a systematized program for enacting the worldview of the social justice and sustainability movements and for bringing the wisdom of indigenous knowledge into contemporary life. It is whole-systems thinking in action. It’s what we need to do to be living in alignment with the new paradigm, so nicely phrased by Rafter Sass Ferguson, of meeting human needs while retaining and enhancing ecosystem health.

Read Permaculture: the design arm of a paradigm shift, by Toby Hemenway at Pattern Literacy.

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Entry filed under: Permaculture, Resilience.

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