Part 1: Rediscovering the Garden of Eden
Have you ever dreamt of living in a heavenly and utopian garden surrounded by beauty and bouquets of sweet fragrance, full of food for the body and the soul, a place where everything fits into harmony with nature? This is the essence of Permaculture, creating sustainable settlements, mixing many disciplines together to interact with Nature and to perpetuate life in ‘Gaia’, our wonderful planet, our home. Permaculture is the contraction of two words: “permanent” and “culture”, a “permanent culture”. This is an adventure of the 21st century, to find ways to change our consciousness, to “become aware” and to be able to reverse the prevailing “destructive-culture”.
We are currently playing with the future of most of the species on the planet, massive extinction is already a fact. It is estimated that in the last 50 years the human population has devastated 30% of the Earth’s biodiversity. It is clear that the Earth has three main resources: culture, economy and biodiversity. The two first are based on the last one: if we lose biodiversity we lose everything. We need to learn to “be aware” so that we are able to feel deeply the holiness of life. Fortunately, there is a growing movement of people, groups, associations and magazines that have a passion and enthusiasm to create a more sustainable life.
Permaculture was born in Australia in the 70s by Bill Mollison and David Holgrem (authors of “Permaculture”, a best seller in their country). They explained the three sources on which Permaculture is based: Nature with its millions of years of evolution, human knowledge that has developed a variety of useful techniques and finally sustainable energy. They also stressed the importance of design in Permaculture. This makes it easier to balance the organic and energetic, to generate food self-sufficiency in the smallest space with the minimum maintenance. Using this model it is possible to efficiently integrate people, plants, animals and infrastructures. Permaculture design systems also combine methods of organic agriculture, forestry, renewable energies, eco-building and integral health at the same time as covering different philosophies, disciplines and trades.
Permaculture is a young vibrant movement that is growing rapidly in many bioregions throughout the Planet, from balconies of city apartments, to a small plot in the countryside, in desert areas, tropical land, etc…Permaculture as a science has a non-hierarchical organization, it is flexible in the sense that it is nourished from different sources of knowledge to create its own way. Would you like to participate in the creation of your own Garden of Eden? During this series of articles about Permaculture I would like to make it easier for you to approach that reality.
Lucho Iglesias, permaculturist, eco-builder and co-founder of Permaculture Caña Dulce in Río Grande, Coín. www.permaculturacanadaulce.org
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This post is also available in: Spanish