What is Permaculture?
Permaculture is a design system of sustainability meant to be applied, slowly and steadily, over a long period of time, to yourself, to your relationships, to your home, to your consumption, to your gardening, to your animals or livestock, to your land and resources and other elements of place, to your neighborhood, and to your communities. Many applied Permaculture movements identify it with the physical implementation of “consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre, and energy for provision of local needs (Holmgren, Permaculture Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, p. xix).”
However, there is no right way to permaculture. According to its co-founders, Dave Holmgren and Bill Molison, it is the use of systems thinking and design principles to provide an organising framework to apply integrated and evolving systems…(p xix).
From a psychological perspective, social permaculture is of interest because it can provide insight and guidance into one of the permaculture domains called “invisible structures”, which deals with systemic injustices and imbalanced power dynamics in culture. It suggests we consider how our personal “physical and energetic resources(p xix)” can become more sustainable within our social systems.
The Delmarva Free School, aligned with its long term Vision, suggests that People Care begins with Care for Self. Depth Psychology defines Self as the Archetype of Soul that is specific and unique to every individual, as well as simultaneously connected to the collective of all living beings. People Care begins with Care for Self, and extends to care for your collective: your families, neighbors, friends, and members of the communities of which you are a part. People Care honors “non-material well being(p7),” or enjoying the simple pleasures of authentic connection to people, to our communities, and to our direct natural environments, wherever we live.
Non-material well being connects as well to Earth Care, a second of the three ethics.
Earth Care asks us to consider what natural resources exist in our reach: in our homes, communities, and bioregions. We are asked to consider how our personal stewardship, including within the invisible structure of land ownership, can contribute to the sustainability of these resources (p 5).
Earth Care is connected to the third ethic, Fair Share.
Fair Share considers the ways in our personal lives and relationships, in our relationships to our natural resources, and within our systems, that we can design limits to consumption and reproduction, and redistribute surplus.
Sustainability has to begin within. Catching and storing energy is permaculture design principle number two. I am accountable to my energy is another way of saying Right Relations.
This year we will learn about using the 12 Permaculture Design Principles as guides to how to practice People Care, by starting with our own Right Relations every day.