The permaculture chapter: conclusion

solar cooker

See HERE for the provisional contents page of the study,

which gives you a proper chronology of sections.

Note: the content below is all in first draft format. It will change considerably during the time it takes for the study to be completed (especially by way of more academic support, generally). I post now ‘for interest’s sake’.


The information provided in the chapter leaves no doubt that permaculture is explicitly and thoroughly Orphic in character; that it is opposed to Promethean endeavours and ideologies characteristic of ACID; that it is highly practical in nature while simultaneously founded upon firm ethical principles; and most importantly in the context of the ecological crisis, that permaculture strategies mitigate various issues that were explored in Chapters 1 and 2. As Mollison (1988: 9) points out,

the result of the adoption of permaculture strategies in any country or region will be to dramatically reduce the area of the agricultural environment needed by the households and settlements of people, and to release much of the landscape for the sole use of wildlife and for re-occupation by endemic flora. Respect for all life forms is a basic, and in fact essential, ethic for all people.

It is the remarkable ‘down-to-earth’ quality of permaculture that makes it so appealing in the context of the ecological crisis: permaculture “as a design system contains nothing new. It arranges what was always there in a different way, so that it works to conserve energy or to generate more energy than it consumes” (Mollison 1988: 9). This simplicity can empower individuals to implement small changes in their own lives that add up gradually over time and that decrease reliance on the systems of ACID that largely cause the ecological crisis. No ‘political will’ is therefore needed to incite positive change towards ecological sustainability, nor enterprising initiatives from the corporate world, nor any of the other ‘external’ factors that people might be tempted to believe is necessary in mitigating against the ecological crisis.

One can think of people who implement permaculture principles as ‘philosopher gardeners’ or ‘farmer-poets’ – these are appellations offered by Mollison (1988: 9), ones that point towards the mix of theory and practice that constitutes permaculture. Employing these suggestive appellations, Mollison (Ibid) offers positive and thought-provoking sentiments that will conclude this chapter:

Philosopher-gardeners, or farmer-poets, are distinguished by their sense of wonder and real feeling for the environment. When religions cease to obliterate trees in order to build temples or human artefacts, and instead generalise love and respect to all living systems as a witness to the potential of creation, they too will join the many of us now deeply appreciating the complexity and self-sustaining properties of natural systems, from whole universes to simple molecules. Gardener, scientist, philosopher, poet, and adherent of religions all can aspire in admiration of, and reverence for, this earth. We create our own life conditions, now and for the future.