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Don’t Envy The Change  Makers  – Be One!

Don’t Envy The Change Makers – Be One!

I’ve laid out a long list of options for how one might choose to apply the Permaculture Principles to their home life, relationships, business, and lifestyle.  You may very well be practicing some of these things, already. Congratulations! The Principles, themselves, were formed by an observation of what many might consider “common sense”. The problem, as my 6th-grade history teacher used to often say, is that “Common sense isn’t so common.” Be the Change You Want to See in the World! Take another look at what's been presented here. No matter how revolutionary or straightforward the concepts are, you're sure to find something worthwhile you can utilize. The benefits of doing so will help secure the future health of our planet and our ability to live here comfortably.  Still, the solutions born of this type of Principles-based thinking will bring greater efficiency to how you organize and approach the game of life. These methods of observation and interaction have the side-effect of...

Creatively Use and Respond to Change

Creatively Use and Respond to Change

Change happens.  It’s up to us to decide how we’re going to respond to it. To remain firmly fixed, in the face of change, can be difficult and ultimately lead to stress and a breakdown of vitality and effectiveness. To be flexible in life and business is considered wise and helps keep oneself healthfully alert to opportunities. To courageously cultivate and direct the movement of those changes, and put them to work for us, leads to mastery and keeps one thriving.   Embrace Change and Thrive Our entire planetary population has undergone an impressive shift in recent months, thanks in part to the Covid-19 pandemic. Businesses that have adapted quickly and moved their focus to online sales, education, and services will be shown to those who have earned greater security, resilience, and dynamic sufficiency. Remember This... When you find yourself about to throw something in the trash, give thought as to whether it could be upcycled for another purpose. Ideas for innovative, reuse of...

Use Edges and Value the Marginal

Use Edges and Value the Marginal

The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable,  diverse, and productive elements in the system. As someone who enjoys dreaming up systems composed of systems connected in synergistic ways,  this  Principle is one of my favorites. The practice of “stacking functions” provides compounded value when we can find multiple uses for each element, creating synergy within our systems. This principle applies to nearly every aspect of life or business but requires an open and creative mind. Everything exists in proximity to something else,  either physically or conceptually. The more we observe and contemplate each peripheral component’s needs and values, the more we learn to see where their overlap provides new potentials for innovation and growth.   It May Be Small But It Could Be the Game Changer We can apply this to maximize potential between two or more things that are already in proximity to each other, or we can use...

Use and Value Diversity

Use and Value Diversity

Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides. Look, we’re all different. Our physical characteristics, preferences, habits, and cultural norms differ, as do our economic resources, language proficiency, fashion sense, temperaments, etc. It is simply how the universe is designed. As nature develops and changes, so do our capacities, skills, and preferences. That is a vital part of our growth and evolution as a planet. Diversity breeds resilience! If one species, technique, or initiative doesn’t work in addressing a problem, another may. The Power of Diversity Designing diversity into our food systems, lifestyles, and businesses is a sure way to increase chances for security, productivity, and wellbeing. Look at it as a type of insurance. We can see the converse in action with modern monocropping practices, which have proven to be incredibly fragile and prone to disease and pests.   A diet...

Use Small and Slow Solutions

Use Small and Slow Solutions

Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes. One can easily argue that large and fast solutions are sometimes needed. Emergencies happen, and we should contemplate appropriate responses within context. It’s also important to note that “small” and “slow” are relative terms, and we should consider everything in scale. Sometimes, starting too small can inhibit growth, impact, and success. However, speaking from my own life experiences, I can see no shortage of times when I’ve invested time, energy, or money to make something happen all at once, just to find that I got ahead of myself and ended up wasting resources to some degree. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. The wisdom here is a discipline that some of us would do well to write on our walls. It’s so easy to get excited and jump into a big project or solution.   One Step At a Time However, it’s often more valuable to take advantage...

Integrate Rather Than Segregate

Integrate Rather Than Segregate

 “By putting the right  things in the right place, relationships develop  between those things, and they  work  together to support each other.”  One  of my favorite ways  to apply  this principle is in “stacking functions.” Stacking functions is an effort to make sure that each of the elements in a design performs multiple functions, and that more than one element support each vital function. It’s the efficiency builder. When we’re about to make any effort or learn a new skill, it is good to ask, How many different benefits will this provide? How many systems will this support? If I did it differently or elsewhere, would it save time or effort later? Thinking this way opens the door to a multitude of creative options that might be overlooked by using a default or out-of-context solution. Integration allows complementary qualities to support each other.   Why Do People Segregate? So, if the integration of ideas and elements is such a great idea,  why do we tend to segregate so...

Design from Patterns to Details

Design from Patterns to Details

By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society.  These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.   This Principle is where we apply what we’ve learned from our observations and interactions into our systems’ designs. By designing our systems based on the patterns in our environment, we can save a tremendous amount of time and energy. We can observe these patterns in the arc of the sun, with the tides in different seasons, by designing our personal routines around our children's school schedule, or when we adapt our company's business model to leverage our team’s strengths.   How to Design from Natural Patterns What are each individual’s natural patterns, and how can you best work with them? How can we widen our perspective, expand our understanding of the details, and look for patterns that invite creativity? Simply taking the time to design is another inherent element of wisdom in this Principle. A bold idea can turn into a...

Produce No Waste

Produce No Waste

By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.   This Principle continues the practices of using renewable resources and further closes the loop. As our consumption patterns change and we adopt more efficient business practices, we evaluate what remains and go deeper. The more that we practice thinking this way, the more we can find usefulness in what we once considered waste. Current research shows that among the 251 million tons that Americans throw into the landfill,  besides the 20% food scraps that we could compost instead, our landfills are filled with nearly 50% of paper waste products. Also, much of what is in a modern landfill is plastic bags.  It is estimated the US uses 380  single-use plastic bags per year,  and there are as many as 1 trillion used annually across the globe. By reducing our waste, reusing, or sharing what we can, composting, recycling, and stuffing what’s left into bottle bricks, we can eliminate a...

Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services:

Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services:

Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources. The natural world creates ongoing regenerative processes essential for the survival of the earth and its inhabitants. Worms aerate the soil, clovers & legumes provide nitrogen through their roots, and the leaves, seeds & fruits falling from trees (when left to decompose) provide nutrients for new life (including those worms and clovers). Early humans existed for hundreds of thousands of years, mimicking these naturally cyclical tendencies and living in-kind. We Are Part of the Problem Today, the logic of this Principle is disregarded. At some point, humans started using less-evolved methods for short-term gain. The information age is finally showing us, en masse, the devastation wrought by the shortsighted ambitions of the industrial age. In a short time, humans have managed to exhaust a stunning percentage of the planet’s resources and diversity of...

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Don’t Envy The Change  Makers  – Be One!

Don’t Envy The Change Makers – Be One!

I’ve laid out a long list of options for how one might choose to apply the Permaculture Principles to their home life, relationships, business, and lifestyle.  You may very well be practicing some of these things, already. Congratulations! The Principles, themselves,...

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