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If you’re new to the world of permaculture, this page is for you! This page will help you to understand what permaculture is and what it’s used for. The basics you need to get started in permaculture confidently are here.
Stop right here! We’ve got a free course that will give you a 6 minute introduction to get you off and running. Click here to take the course now.
Just what is “sustainability”?
Definitions of sustainability are usually very fuzzy. In permaculture, we have a metric for measuring sustainability: If a system captures and stores more energy over its lifetime than was required for the system’s creation and maintenance, then it is sustainable.
So, What is permaculture?
If you didn’t just take the course above, permaculture is a design method for creating sustainable systems for people.
To learn more, read the article What is Permaculture.
Isn’t it just “sustainable design”?
Permaculture is a method for designing sustainable systems, yes. Permaculture is more than just design, though. It was created with a code of ethics to guide the design process. You might be designing a sustainable system, but if you aren’t following the ethical guidelines, then you aren’t doing permaculture.
To learn more, see the article Permaculture Ethics
A lot of people get caught up in the techniques of permaculture and lose sight of the design fundamentals. Techniques are how you solve a very specific problem, whereas design is about the way your system functions.
Design involves using a clearly defined goal to develop a plan of action, which is adjusted according to real-world feedback.
To illustrate the difference between design and technique, and the importance of design, compare two examples:
Technique: Insert key in ignition.
Design: Go to cousin’s house for family reunion.
As you can see, to carry out the design (i.e. the goal of driving to you cousin’s house), you will need the technique. Without the design, however, there is not much point to the technique.
This seems obvious on it’s face, but getting into trouble because you don’t have a clear goal is more common than uncommon. Even if you have a goal, it’s still a work in progress. Going back and clarifying your goal from time to time is a good practice to get into.
I cannot stress enough how important the design fundamentals are. Without a good grasp of the design basics, you will only create a project you are happy with by accident. I highly recommend taking our following free online courses:
Climate specific design
One size definitely does not fit all. Whether you are designing a house, a water-harvesting system, or an agricultural system, you will need to use approaches that are appropriate to the climate you are in.
Into the future
We’ve got many courses currently in the works and updates to the site, including this page, coming. If you would like to be notified of our updates and courses, subscribe to our mailing list.