Attention is a good expression for the first requirement of Permaculture and in fact any truly ecological or sustainable design practice, awareness and conscious participation with the natural world surrounding us.
From the Coloradoan: “Green living: Permaculture requires attention to elements' relation, function” http://bit.ly/igS9qD
Green living: Permaculture requires attention to elements' relation, function
By Kellie Falbo
When addressing the topic of green living, there are a lot of trendy words. It can be frustrating and mysterious to decipher what it all means. Is it supposed to be about living more simply? Exactly.
I want to throw the word permaculture into the mix, not as another addition to the trendy list, but as a new word for a very old concept - to help us in our quest to create a more sustainable life where we are more conscious of our choices and lifestyles - and nature leads the way.
Permaculture evolved through the hard work and experimentation of Australian Bill Mollison and his student David Holmgren beginning in 1972. The word is a contraction of "permanent culture" and "permanent agriculture." It is based on principles they identified in rich and sustainable ecosystems and indigenous cultures. They described their methodology as the "conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems that have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems." Since then, thousands have studied and contributed their own insights and experience to the global movement of ecological gardeners and designers who call themselves the permaculture community.
Permaculture starts at your doorstep and is a way of life. It's about systems. More directly, it's the study and application of sustainable systems, nature and natural systems and the patterns therein. It takes into account the full circle of life of plants, animals and humans. Everything is connected to everything else. It's that simple. Design systems to encourage nature to do what it naturally does and the result will inevitably be more sustainable than it was before.
In "Food Not Lawns," Heather Flores writes "Permaculture is not just about the elements of a system, it is also about the flows and connections among those elements. You can have solar power, an organic garden, an electric car and a straw-bale house and still not live in a permaculture. A project becomes a permaculture only when special attention is paid to the relationships between each element, among the functions of those elements, and among the people who work within the system. Through a design process like permaculture, we can organize these relationships for optimum success. Our creativity is our most powerful tool for overcoming the ills of our culture, and design helps us harness that creativity and put it to work."
Permaculture is a broad philosophy that goes far beyond the boundaries of the land. It encourages us to think globally and act locally. We are encouraged to become truly a part of our community in the larger sense.