What is Permaculture?

by Bill Wilson

“Permaculturists can grow food just about anywhere, repair environmentally damaged lands, design lovely and long lasting green-buildings, produce power, run successful, people-oriented businesses,and build authentic community -all by using the same fundamental permaculture principles and applying the three Permaculture Ethics: 

Care of People – Care of the Earth – Share the Surplus.”

Permaculture is a creative and artful way of designing our lives, where wastes become resources, productivity and yields increase, work is minimized, people and nature are preserved – all by thoughtful planning and a respectful approach to life.  Thus embraced, we create an environment where all may thrive for untold generations.

We as humans have the ability to re-design the world we live in.  All it takes is desire, know how, will, and time. Even if it takes 50-100 years, the change can begin with each one of us right now and the effects of our work can have beneficial consequences for generations to come. (Permaculture at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm)

 Consider this: The ratio of tensile strength-to-density of spider silk is approximately 5 times greater than that of steel, while a single thread, wrapped around the earth, would weigh only 1 pound (16 oz.).

Also, the amount of sunlight that intersects our earth in 40 minutes is equivalent to the total, global-annual-consumption of energy (400 quads).

Permaculturists look at facts such as these and ask the question, ‘If there is that much energy available, and if a spider can make something so strong simply by eating crickets, what kind of world can we create for ourselves and our neighbors if we work hand-in-hand with the natural systems surrounding us?’

Kale growing in the Permaculture Garden at the Sivananda Yoga Farm in California.

The goal of permaculture is to create harmonious relationships with all aspects of our life, to learn how to live abundantly well without hurting or polluting our surroundings and actually leave the planet in better condition than when we arrived on it.

To be clear, permaculture is a lot more than just food production. A thorough study of permaculture invites us to look at our homes, our uses and sources of energy, our methods for providing food and comfortable shelter, our work, our relationships with others, and even our relationship with ourselves.

As in Yoga, permaculture is essentially a spiritual approach to living consciously, harmoniously and healthfully on the planet. We can heal this planet. We can live lightly and we can live well. We can each make a difference… a big difference.

Permaculture Design Certification Course students in California learn about food production in the garden.

‘For practitioners of Yoga, permaculture can offer a practice in which our external actions express the core yogic teachings of the unity of all creation and the yamas and niyamas. For practitioners of permaculture, Yoga offers an understanding of our basic spiritual nature which underpins all our actions.’

— Swami Omkarananda

‘Sampling the Yoga tradition at this unique yoga ashram will help students better appreciate the connection between spirit and the natural elements that surrounds us at all times.’

— Bill Wilson

Nationally Recognized Permaculture Instructor

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