The concept was developed in the seventies by two Australians, David Holmgren & Bill Mollison.
In this short introduction we'll give an overview of the heart, mind, hands and legs of this creature. Permaculture is above all a vision, a utopia ("for walking")* described in the word itself, perma-culture: term invented in the late 60s which means permanent culture, or sustainable culture.
The ultimate aim of PermaCulture is to create self-sufficient dynamic systems in the longer-term, that are ecologically sustainable, economically viable, that satisfy all needs and don't pollute or contaminate.
This ideal is also expressed in the ethics, which are explicit and are summarised as "Care of People", "Care of Earth" and "Design Limits to Population and Consumption".
“... yet evil remains,We already know what happens with many utopias and for this reason PermaCulture is also a very practical science, in the sense that it seeks to figure out how the laws of Nature work (including human nature) and imitate them, or at least synergise them & apply them in designing society: native ecosystems in particular are masterpieces of sustainable design. Especially it has always sought to unify all that is useful in any of the sciences and so became possibly the first ever truly holistic science, which is in constant evolution.
& while it hides in the secret places of the heart,
utopia is only the shadow of a dream”
The australians Mollison and Holmgren* gave the name and a very practical shape to these ideals, creating a design language that facilitated its rapid adoption in the whole world. As a science it is based in observation and experimentation, including from all other fields of human endeavour: there are no dogmas, all has to be checked out with experience.
After figuring out that the basic principles, models and design
techniques worked very well (by helping put into motion many farms,
organisations and businesses), the founders started to teach others how
to create sustainable systems, publishing various books although
primarily through demonstration and orally, encouraging their students
to do the same.
In Spain the Iberian Permaculture Network was
woven and from this Node of the Permaculture Academy we have created a complete training programme that includes online and live courses. As a
very fertile evolving branch of the Academy we are now pioneering with
Integral Permaculture, another step in synthesis of the best that is
emergent and practically applicable now, to co-creating vibrant systems
that are in tune with and foster evolution.
It is also the supporting information resource for a most ambitious international training event, the PDC +++At global level there is a Chaordic Permaculture Institute under construction which compiles the profiles of pioneers and practicing permaculture designers in order to facilitate collaboration and with access to current examples & experiments.
Permaculture is also a great and dynamic movement, diverse and
extensive. As well as international conferences there are regional meetings on five continents, from 1985.
Its most modern, concrete and holistic version in the west is expressed nowadays as the Transition Movement,
a network of citizen initiatives started in 2005 from the students of a
permaculture course, which combines good design to create crisis-proof
communities (climate, economic and energetic crisis) with a good design
for real "grassroots" participation, which is now 'going viral' and
expanding rapidly all over the world as probably the most practical,
coherent and hopeful answer to the most urgent planetary problem today,
In uncertain times it's comforting to remember that, as Buckminster Fuller said:
"The best way to predict your future
... is to create it".
Permaculture Diplomat &
Coordinator of the Integral PermaCulture Academy
Permaculture could be literally defined as "permanent culture".
Consiste en el diseño y mantenimiento de pequeños ecosistemas productivos, junto con la integración armónica del entorno, las personas y sus viviendas, proporcionando respuestas a sus necesidades de una manera sostenible.
It consists on the design & maintenance of small productive ecosystems, together with the harmonic integration of the environment, people & their dwellings, providing answers for their needs in a sustainable way.
El principio básico de la Permacultura es el de trabajar "con", o "a favor de", y no "contra" la naturaleza.
Permaculture's basic principle is working "with" or "in favour of", and not "against", nature.
Los sistemas permaculturales son construidos para durar tanto como sea posible, con un mínimo de mantenimiento.
Permaculture systems are built to last as much as possible, with minimum maintenance.
Los sistemas son típicamente energizados por el sol, el viento y/o el agua, produciendo lo suficiente para su propia necesidad, como para la de los humanos que lo crean o controlan.
These systems are usually energized by the sun, wind and/or water, providing enough for its own needs, and those of the humans that create & control it.
De esta manera, el sistema es sostenible.
In this way, the system is sustainable.
A lo largo de los décadas (la permacultura 'nació' en el 1974 como movimiento ciudadano), nos hemos ido dando cuenta que aún que podemos diseñar y actualizar para hacer cualquier entorno (pequeño o grande que sea) más sostenible (o 'permacultural'), eventualmente nada puede ser sostenible si la sociedad en la cual estamos inmersos no lo es.
Through the decades (permaculture was "born" in 1974 as a citizen's movement), we've been realizing that although we can design & update to make any environment (be it small or big) more sustainable (or "permacultural"), eventually nothing can be sustainable if the society we're immersed in isn't.
Por lo tanto, la permacultura en su conjunto tiene que tratar de ese cambio.
Therefore, permaculture as a whole has to be about that change.
La definición de Permacultura es que es muy flexible, porque abarca tantas áreas y tenemos a tantas formas diferentes de entender las cosas.
The definition of Permaculture is very flexible because it comprises so many areas and we have so many different ways of understanding things.
Some examples of definitions are:
"Permaculture is about the design of sustainable human settlements.
In its philosophy, it's about making intensive use of the earth, microclimates, annual & perennial plants, soil, water management and human needs in a close connection."
"It's a productive design system based in the maximum relationship between all the elements of the system to solve our immediate needs and protect the resources for the future generations."
"Permaculture is revolution disguised as organic gardening."
Permaculture is a design science
based in observation,
that integrates all human activities in a holistic system
based on natural patterns & ecology.
In one word
Permaculture = Relationship
(Penny Livingston, permaculture designer)
The Integral PermaCulture Academy is unique in the world in teaching the most advanced & comprehensive Permaculture courses you can find, which have been developed over decades of experience in teaching permaculture in different settings & countries, by many activists.
We do this with action-learning (design portfolio-based, non-academic) methods, an evolutionary Integral Permaculture curriculum which adds from many other disciplines & in two languages, English & Spanish.
Integral Permaculture is a design practice
based on a holistic & ethical science
which includes all levels of experience,
- internal & external, individual & collective,
ancient & modern -
united into a coherent & systemic whole,
with the sole purpose of designing healthy,
sustainable cultures & environments
for all species.
It is essential to include all levels because we need to create healthy communities, local economies, new cultures & effective organizations as much as we need to re-instate healthy ecosystems, create organic gardens & rational technologies.
Integral Permaculture fully acknowledges that we cannot ultimately succeed in re-designing any EarthCare without re-designing the PeopleCare side of the whole system, at any scale.