Permaculture Designers Manual
CHAPTER 2 – CONCEPTS AND THEMES IN DESIGN
Section 2.14 –
Principle Summary in Permaculture
The Prime Directive of Permaculture
“The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children’s.”
Principle of Cooperation
“Cooperation, not competition, is the very basis of future survival and of existing life systems.”
The Ethical Basis of Permaculture
CARE OF THE EARTH
“Provision for all life systems to continue and increase.”
CARE OF PEOPLE
“Provision for people to access those resources necessary to their existence.”
SETTING LIMITS TO POPULATION AND CONSUMPTION
“By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles.”
Rules of Use of Natural Resources
Reduce waste, hence pollution;
Thoroughly replace lost minerals;
Do a careful energy accounting; and
Make a biosodal impact assessment for long term effects on society, and act to buffer or elimirute any negative impacts.
Life Intervention Principle
“In chaos lies unparalleled opportunity for imposing creative order.”
Law of Return
“Whatever we take, we must return, or Nature demands a return for every gift received, or the user must pay.”
Directive of Return
“Every object must responsibly provide for its replacement. Society must, as a conditions of use, replace an equal or greater resource than that used.”
Set of Ethics on Natural Systems
Implacable and uncompromising opposition to further disturbance of any remaining natural forests;
Vigorous rehabilitation of degraded and damaged natural systems to a stable state;
Establishment of plant systems for our own use on the least amount of land we can use for our existence; and
Establishment of plant and animal refuges for rare or threatened species.
The Basic Law of Thermodynamics
(as restated by Wan)
“All energy entering an organism, population or ecosystem can be accounted for as energy which is stored or leaves. Energy can be transferred from one form to another, but it cannot disappear, or be destroyed, or created. No energy conversion system is ever completely efficient.”
(As stated by Asimov (1970)
‘”The total energy of the universe is constant and the total entropy is increasing.”·
Birch’s Six Principles of Natural Syatems
1. Nothing in nature grows forever. There is a constant cycle of decay and rebirth.
2. Continuation of life depends on the main tenance of the global bio-geochemical cycles of essential elements, in particular carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, and phosphorus.
3. The probability of extinction of populations or a species is greatest when the density is very high or very low. Both crowding and too few individuals of a species may reach thresholds of extinction.
4. The chance that a species has to survive and reproduce is dependent primarily upon one or two key factors in the complex web of relations of the organism to its environment.
5. Our ability to change the face of the earth increases at a faster rate than our ability to foresee the consequence of change.
6. Living organisms are not only means but ends. In addition to their instrumental value to humans and other living organisms, they have an intrinsic worth.
Practical Design Considerations
Systems we construct should last as long as possible, and take least maintenance.
Systems, fueled by the sun, should produce not only their own needs, but the needs of the people creating or controlling them. Thus, they are sustainable, as they sustain both themselves and those who construct them.
We can use energy to construct these systems, providing that in their lifetime, they store or conserve more energy than we use to construct them or to maintain them.