Use Small and Slow Solutions

May 10, 2021 | Blog

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

small and slow

However, it’s often more valuable to take advantage of the SADI feedback loop and the adaptation & corrective opportunities that come with taking it step-by-step.

There is additional value in doing things in their most cost and energy-efficient timing, which often involves some manner of stacking functions, and building step by step.

Bill Mollison phrased this  principle: “Make the Smallest Change for the Greatest Effect.”

The Benefits of Starting Small

small and slow

Starting small lets us see whether the solution makes sense and can fix inefficiencies while they are small.  Remember, “slow and  steady wins  the race.”

Some  examples of where this  applies might be:

  • Developing rich  relationships based on patience, trust, and  communication
  • Choosing a property to buy
  • Remodeling one’s home
  • Raising  animals
  • Managing water movement on your property
  • Developing local currency
  • Expanding your business’s new  revenue streams
  • Diversifying your investments
  • Vote with every little thing that you buy, a choice that you make, and a word that you speak.

We are daily creating our realities, and these things are the building blocks!


This is Part 11 of a 15 part series, pulled from the Permaculture Lifestyles Explained eBook, which contains over 100 tips for how someone might apply the permaculture principles to their life for greater efficiency, impact, and happiness. 

If you’d like to get the whole book to download and read offline, drop your email below and I’ll be happy to send you a link.

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