Permaculture Has Designed Connections
Permaculture is not about What You Have. Permaculture is about How You Connect Things.
Permaculture is a way of thinking and designing that looks at the whole system. Permaculture is not just a collection of clever, yet separate, units.
Some people may think they are doing permaculture because they have used sine common permaculture strategies. They may be catching and storing the water. They may have created some typical permaculture elements like no-dig gardens. Whilst permaculture may look like a collection of these ideas, it is actually a whole systems plan based on the way nature interconnects the elements.
When we look at the little parts we may be focused on a collection of problems. We can get trapped in the search for solutions but when we step back to examine the whole system (our whole lifestyle or community) we may actually begin to see patterns of behaviour, good and bad interactions between parts and insights into how we can link things together to optimise their function.
By building effective connections, the value of each element is enhanced.
Functional Physical Relationships
In the garden we can easily build functional relationships between elements. We can use
- a shade tree to shade a truck,
- a deciduous fruit tree to provide reactive, seasonal shade for the house
- we can allow access for the chickens to help clean up fallen fruit.
- A pond could provide ambient light, humidity and habitat for pest-controlling creatures such dragon-flies. A pond call also be integrated into intensive gardens.
- Mixed herbs and vegetables which can be positioned within easy reach of the occupants.
- The pond can also be part of a total water management plan that diverts water away from the house keeping the footings and occupants dry, mould-free and secure in a more durable home.
Put simply, we link units closely by their needs and waste products. This enables one need to be satisfied by the waste products of nearby units.
Functional Social Relationships
Systems thinking can also be applied to economies, networks and social relationships. Healthy regular connections with supportive contacts can build a resilient and responsive social network. We all need validation, a sense of purpose and achievement. In permaculture we are actively creative. We can be more productive outside our standard work-space. We can all benefit from being giving and sharing. We can enjoy the peace and satisfaction of goodwill.