Permaculture, soil, soul and society

I’ve been reading around the topic of Permaculture for many years but it took until the beginning of this year when my wife showed me an an advert for me to sign up for a Permaculture Design Course, the first step towards being recognised as a Permaculture practitioner.

The Permaculture Association describes Permaculture in the following way:

Permaculture works with nature to make a better world for all. By observing the natural world we can see a set of principles at work. Permaculture design uses these principles to develop integrated systems that provide for our needs of food, shelter, energy and community in ways that are healthy and efficient. We can use permaculture design methods to improve the quality and productivity of our individual lives, our society and our environment.

Permaculture is not just about growing plants to feed us, it is also about the buildings we live in, the organisational structures we set up, it is about our society and it’s relationship to the environment around us. In fact, Permaculture ethics summarise this:-

      Earth care
      People care
      Fair share
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Permaculture Ethics and Principles

I have also been a regular reader of Resurgence since re-discovering E.F. Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful. Satish Kumar summarises the the philosophy of Schumacher and Resurgence with the phrase “Soil, Soul, Society”.

As I reflect on my Permaculture studies, other readings and my faith I think that these are excellent ethics for our time. If we need a new emphasis for our times it has to be life giving, life enhancing, for people and planet. Our current economics and global politics seem to be geared up to making the minority rich at the expense of the poor and “sod the planet”. Caring for our planet, caring for it’s inhabitants and sharing the abundance of natural wealth in a sustainable way seems to me to fit in so much better with my understanding of Christian faith than the “money for nothing” route that our society and current banking system seems to be pursuing.

Over the next few years I intend to investigate further how I can apply Permaculture ethics and principles to “Soil, Soul and Society”. If you want to know more or want to join me on this path do chat to me or follow my own personal blog.

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