Permaculture principles guide us to mimic patterns and relationships that we find in Nature. We can start applying these principles from Zone 00, the individual self, to zones that extend beyond ourselves from our environment to community. They can assist us in moving from the unsustainable consumerist lifestyles that are dependent on a system that isn’t serving us or the planet, to a lifestyle that is in harmony with the Earth in a way that is regenerative and produces abundance.
In a forest system, everything is connected. The trees are fed sunlight and water, only taking the energy that they need. The leaves from the trees create mulch for the soil, which eventually feeds the microorganisms in the soil, cultivating fertile soil for the trees. The cycle continues and the forest produces no waste. The permaculture principles allow us to think of the system as a whole and how everything is interconnected. By observing and learning from our environment, such as how Nature replenishes its soil, or how Nature protects and conserves its water resources, we can implement these natural processes into our daily lives. The more we implement these natural processes, the more we live in harmony with the Earth.
To fully understand and implement these principles into my own life, I decided to come up with a year-long challenge! With there being twelve permaculture principles, I wanted to focus on one each month and implement it into my daily life. In this challenge, I aim to start from the inner landscape and work my way outwards. I want to design my life in ways that are sustainable and regenerative towards the Earth. I believe the inner work is just as important as the outer work, as our external reality becomes a reflection of our internal state. My hopes are to gain a deeper understanding of permaculture and a more whole-systems perspective, as well as share my insights and inspire ways we can strive to live more connected to our environment and one another.
Permaculture is a creative design process based on whole-systems thinking informed by ethics and design principles. Permaculture design principles arise from a way of perceiving the world that is often described as ‘systems thinking’ and ‘design thinking’.David Holmgren
There are twelve permaculture principles that we can apply to our personal lives, our surrounding environments, and communities.
- Principle 1 – Observe and Interact
- Principle 2 – Catch and Store Energy
- Principle 3 – Obtain a Yield
- Principle 4 – Apply Self-regulation and Accept Feedback
- Principle 5 – Use & Value Renewable Resources & Services
- Principle 6 – Produce No Waste
- Principle 7 – Design from Patterns to Details
- Principle 8 – Integrate Rather than Segregate
- Principle 9 – Use Small and Slow Solutions
- Principle 10 – Use and Value Diversity
- Principle 11 – Use Edges and Value the Margin
- Principle 12 – Creatively Use and Respond to Change
If any of these principles catches your eye, I invite you to take some time to reflect on them and integrate them into your life!