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With so many environmental, social, economic, and energetic issues and challenges facing humanity, it seems like our problems are beyond repair. Yet there was one man who clearly understood how the world’s problems could be solved. That was Bill Mollison. Mollison, along with co-founder David Holmgren, set out a clear guide and blueprint for moving forward sustainably, coining the term permaculture and co-founding the global permaculture movement.

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He passed away a few days ago in his home in Tasmania, Australia.

Mollison understood that the only way forward for humanity is to work in harmony with our natural systems. He and Holmgren developed a system of design that can effectively solve all the world’s problems. Since Mollison and Holmgren wrote the original book, Permaculture One, in 1978, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people have been trained as permaculture designers, trainers, and practitioners globally.

Considered the ‘father of permaculture,’ he understood the value of integrated systems of design that encompassed everything from agriculture, horticulture, architecture, and ecology, as well as economy and legal systems for businesses and communities. Much of the work he did focused on using patterns and mimicking natural ecosystems to provide self-maintaining habitat and regenerative ecosystems. These systems also produced significant yields in food, energy, and water. The overriding core tenets or ethics of permaculture are: Care for the Earth, Care for People, and Return of Surplus.

In conjunction with these ethics, Mollison included 12 principles that underscored the design concept and overall philosophy of permaculture:

PermaculturePrinciplesimg1

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The below quotes from Mollison illustrate his practical approach to sustainability and his deep understanding of the natural world. Rest in Peace, Bill Mollison…..

“Wealth is a deep understanding of the natural world.”

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“The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves.”

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“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”

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“Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. Without permanent agriculture there is no possibility of a stable social order.”

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“I teach self-reliance, the world’s most subversive practice. I teach people how to grow their own food, which is shockingly subversive. So, yes, it’s seditious. But it’s peaceful sedition.”

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“The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”

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“Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system.”

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“The American lawn uses more resources than any other agricultural industry in the world. It uses more phosphates than India and puts on more poisons than any other form of agriculture.”

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“If we lose the forests, we lose our only teachers.”

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“Permaculture principles focus on thoughtful designs for small-scale intensive systems which are labor efficient and which use biological resources instead of fossil fuels. Designs stress ecological connections and closed energy and material loops. The core of permaculture is design and the working relationships and connections between all things.”

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“The important thing is not to do any agriculture whatsoever, and particularly to make the modern agricultural sciences a forbidden area – they’re worse than witchcraft, really.”

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“We’re only truly secure when we can look out our kitchen window and see our food growing and our friends working nearby.”

Article by Andrew Martin editor of Oneness Publishing and author of Rethink Your World Your Future…

Cover Image:  Flickr Nicolás Boullosa

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