The PermaCulture movement has been initiated by BillMollison (the "father") and David Holmgren in the late 70-ties. It spreads by giving beautiful examples of living environments (usually houses with gardens and creative biodiverse agriculture), by a number of books and journals and through "permaculture design courses". Many countries have informal "permaculture academies", which are basically WorkNet's of practitioners which act as teachers and pass the knowledge to others to become practitioners and teachers themselves. Although the primary focus is on creating system of plants, animals combined with small-scale architecture, no actual restriction exists: the ideas are used for creating social and learning environments as well.
There is a large systemic overlap of PermaCulture and PatternTheory, alhtough this may not be visible on the surface. The fundamental books of BillMollison and ChristopherAlexander were published almost at the same time 1976-1978, maybe the idea was "in the air". I like to see "permaculture movement" and "pattern movement" as rooted in the same holistic system theory, which not yet established as an abstract scientific modell.
"Permaculture is a design system but the engineering principles followed are those of life." [see this Video]
I can intuit the PermaCulture -- ChristopherAlexander relation; I think "holism" is exactly the word for it.
I've been intrigued, and have been reading around, and will probably call my friend PhilPatton?, who said the words "permaculture" to me before, and swears that his life's work is eco-housing.
I am usually put off by the anti-technology sentiment about the people who are into permaculture.
Recently, I was intrigued by the observation that amongst many people, the big story idea is to get off of Earth, ASAP, because "this place is going to hell in a handbasket." I was also thinking the same thing myself; What alternative could there be? The face presented by must of the greeners I've met, is that, "When the techno-industrial society collapses, we'll rejoice, and hunt deer beneath the decaying remains of ancient highway bridges." Gee, great. "Don't worry, you'll like being a hunter." Eh-heh... You know, I'd much rather burn this planet, and depart as a computer upload. So, there are fundamental differences in mythology.
But I think that it's clearly irresponsible to say, "we have to get out of here, because we're going to destroy this place," and I think there's no undefeasible reasoning by which we have to pick one or the other.
So I'm interested in the PermaCulture ideas, (if not necessarily everything about the underlying culture..,) and I'm interested in the idea of techno-permaculture, a perma-culture vision that has taken into account computer technology and so on. I'm not talking about just http://worldchanging.org/ here; My baby thoughts have been about reconstructable computer systems, breadboards, chips, plastics, manufacturable parts, low-tech lithography, and so on.
The RepRap? has been on my mind as well; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RepRap_Project .
I can dream of a technical infrastructure far less destructive than the one we presently have.
These idle first steps are just scratching the surface of a techno-permaculture, I think; I haven't brought up SoftSecurity and soft social system implementations, for example, nor programming design (and I'm now thinking of Alan Kay's work,) nor ... ..? What else? There are probably many other angles.
VernorVinge seems to be exploring related concepts as well; See: http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/longnow/
Lion, I think that this anti-technology attitude is not essential, it's not at the core of the movement, with Bill Mollision. I think his attitude is more like "let's work the nature for us, not work against the nature using high-energy systems". Something like that. Probably people brought in a lot of eco-spiritualism. -- HelmutLeitner
Agreed; He's pretty wide open, it seems to me, in how the principles are put to use.
I've been thinking about TechnoPermaCulture?, and what that might mean.
I've been looking at AlanKay?, and his idea that programmers should be able to make computers.
I've been looking at the Parallax Propeller chip, and the whole "breadboard" scene; Parallel computing opens up a lot of possibilities for infinitely reusable parts, and the extremely low latency of programming to the chip means that a single chip can become a UART, a this, or a that, meaning that the chips that are the intelligence of the computer are the chips that are much of the rest of the computer, ... It seems like computers could be completely recyclable, finding basic components and reusable cogs.
I'm contemplating in this area. I'll probably write a page on it at some point.
Feel free to erase all these comments when you're reworking the page and so on.
The permaculture idea is very interesting to me, as a flesh on the bones of ChristopherAlexander's pattern thinking, and helps me put it all together. After I get through the culture shock of "technology is bad" thing. :)
Organisms (fungi, flora and fauna) that are useful to humans can be thought of as slow motion, self-replicating, solar powered factories for the raw materials of food, drugs, fiber and building materials.
People talk about desktop manufacturing and fancy technology as though it might solve our problems, but the Sources of the deepest (most inescapably important) issues of food, medicine, clothing and shelter have been available since before humans even existed, and things are only getting worse in that regard.
The United States Department of Agriculture http://USDA.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/latest.txt World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates reports global wheat stocks the lowest in 30 years while the United States and other 1st World countries continue to use national tax dollars to *pay* farmers to *NOT* grow for the purpose of keeping price above cost (protecting profit).
This information may make you angry, and may make you desire to attack me as the messenger, but that will not help solve the issue. We must face this dark truth if we are to make headway against it. I am not blaming anyone, I am only trying to help us see that it is not an accident that abundance is suppressed, it is the current purpose of political economy.
PermaCulture as a term may be fairly new, but the concept is ancient. The emotionless reason it is not already in place (and why it is being removed even as we speak) everywhere in the world is because of how freedom and abundance conflict with profit.
Permanent Culture will be a natural and unavoidable side effect once profit is understood to be a measure of Consumer dependence and plea for growth and treated as an investment for that same Consumer.
FreedomHosting is my (still rough) attempt to connect those dots. -- PatrickAnderson
There are many conversations about how great it would be to have a PermacultureWiki. Occasionally an effort is made at starting a permaculture wiki - like most wikis, these generally haven't been successful. The largest and most active by far on permaculture, and related subjects such as AppropriateTechnology, is [Appropedia.org]. See the ['''Permaculture wiki page'''] on Appropedia.