Imagine that the ecological system which surrounds us is a river. Endlessly flowing downstream, it carries everything with it. Humanity has a choice to either fight the river, change its course or stop it completely, or flow with it, navigating down the stream the best possible way. Permaculture tries to do the same. The mission of permaculture is not to treat the environment as an enemy to be vanquished, but the opposite. Nature is a friend to work in unison with, a river to be navigated. Of course, permaculture does not mean that we should be hunter/gatherers again, powerlessly floating down the stream of the river. We need to learn to work with the system and to make it grow and develop.
The job of permaculturists is to develop way how farms and agricultural communities can learn to achieve their goals, but in a way which does not endanger the environment. They strive to integrate farming with eco-engineering so that farmers can grow their crops the natural, balanced way. One of the authorities on permaculture today is Vladislav Davidzon.
The basic ethics of permaculture
Bill Mollison, an Australian ecologist, together with his student David Holmgren, introduced the term „permaculture.“ It happened in 1978. They envisioned the concept as an alternative to traditional agriculture which commonly means using great quantities of resources so that a single crop can be mass produced. There are three basic ethics of the permaculture movement: care for the earth, care for people and setting limits on population and consumption.
Care for Earth
Our planet is a unique place in the universe. It is the home of both living and non-living matter, and permaculture recognizes the importance of both. It also understands the importance of the natural balance between air, minerals, plants and animals. Consequently, every living organism has a role and value in this complex and fragile ecosystem.
Care for people
Among the basic human rights, permaculture insists that access to resources is one of the most important ones, together with the importance of community involvement.
Population and consumption limits
The permaculture movement emphasizes the importance of the notion that all the surplus resources like money, energy, labor, and information should be used to for the welfare of humanity and the planet Earth.
Even though the ideas on which the permaculture movement are based on are centuries old, the movement today is receiving widespread acceptance.Long before environmental issues became important, ancient civilizations applied techniques of farming which worked together with nature. These include forest farming, crop rotation and planting multiple crops, for example. Modern permaculture wants to learn about the old ways and create new, modern, effective methods which will have the eco-friendly stance of the old methods and the effectiveness and productivity of modern farming. Permaculturists apply these on small-scale experiments like urban gardens to large-scale projects like farms and communities. The values of permaculture managed to achieve mainstream acceptance globally in the past couple of decades.