Northern Queensland Permaculture

Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share

An Allegory of the 12 Permaculture Principles

1. Observe and interact: Imagine you are taking a walk through your suburban neighborhood. Take the time to notice the natural world around you - the way the trees sway in the breeze, the birds chirping, and the insects buzzing around. By observing and interacting with these natural processes, you can gain a deeper understanding of how they function, and begin to incorporate them into your own garden or backyard.

2. Catch and store energy: On a sunny day, take a look at the rooftops of the houses in your neighborhood. Imagine if all of those roofs were outfitted with solar panels, capturing and storing energy from the sun. This would not only provide energy for the homes, but also for the surrounding community.

3. Obtain a yield: Imagine if each home in your neighborhood had a small garden or fruit trees in their backyard, producing fresh produce for themselves and their neighbors. By designing systems that provide multiple benefits and yields, we can create a more sustainable and interconnected community.

4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: When watering your garden, pay attention to the plants that thrive and those that struggle. By accepting feedback from the natural world, we can adjust our behavior and resource use to better support long-term sustainability.

5. Use and value renewable resources and services: Imagine if your neighborhood was powered entirely by wind turbines, using a renewable source of energy to provide for the community's needs. By prioritizing renewable resources and services, we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and support a more sustainable future.

6. Produce no waste: Take a walk down your neighborhood street on garbage day. Imagine if all of the waste produced by each household was composted or recycled, with nothing sent to the landfill. By minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency, we can create a more sustainable and resourceful community.

7. Design from patterns to details: Look at the natural patterns in your suburban landscape - the way water flows down the street, or the paths created by foot traffic. By recognizing and working with these patterns, we can create more efficient and sustainable designs for our homes and communities.

8. Integrate rather than segregate: Instead of having separate parks, gardens, and sidewalks, imagine if these elements were all integrated into one interconnected system. By connecting and integrating different elements of our designs and communities, we can promote greater resilience and diversity.

9. Use small and slow solutions: Instead of relying on large-scale, high-tech solutions, imagine if each household in your neighborhood had a small rain barrel to collect and store water. By working with small and slow solutions appropriate to the context and scale of our designs, we can create more sustainable and efficient systems.

10. Use and value diversity: Imagine if each house in your neighborhood had a different type of tree or plant in their front yard. By recognizing and celebrating diversity in all its forms, we can create a more vibrant and resilient community.

11. Use edges and value the marginal: Look at the edges of your suburban landscape - the areas where the sidewalk meets the grass or the street meets the curb. By paying attention to these edges and valuing the unique opportunities and resources that can be found there, we can create more efficient and sustainable systems.

12. Creatively use and respond to change: Imagine if each household in your neighborhood had a rain garden or bioswale, designed to capture and filter stormwater runoff. By embracing change and uncertainty as a natural part of life, and using our creativity and adaptability to respond to changing circumstances and needs, we can create a more sustainable and resilient community.

Three Core Ethics of Permaculture

  1. Care for the earth: This principle recognizes that the earth is a living system and that we have a responsibility to care for it and protect it from harm. It encourages us to work with nature, rather than against it, and to prioritize the health and well-being of the planet in our decisions and actions.
  2. Care for people: This principle recognizes that people are an integral part of the earth's living system and that we have a responsibility to care for each other. It encourages us to create systems that meet human needs, while also supporting the health and well-being of the planet and all its inhabitants.
  3. Fair share: This principle recognizes that resources are limited and that we have a responsibility to share them fairly and equitably. It encourages us to prioritize the needs of those who are most vulnerable and marginalized, and to work towards a more just and equitable society.

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