Permaculture Principles and Characteristics of Resiliant Systems

Permaculture principles

Here’s the list from “Principles And Pathways Beyond Sustainability” by David Holmgren

Transition.org added some suggestions for how this might apply to the early stages of transition projects.

Principle Catch Phrase An Example (from us)
Observe and interact Beauty is in the eye of the beholder Find out what is already happening locally before starting any project
Catch and store energy Make hay while the sun shines Use the energy that is inspired by transition model – create lots of ways for people ways to join and give support
Obtain a yield You can’t work on an empty stomach Harvest ideas at events with post-its or flip charts
Apply self regulation and accept feedback The sins of the fathers are visited on the children unto the seventh generation Create spaces where your community can let you know what they think; include evaluation and evolution in your plans
Use and value renewable resources and services Let nature take its course Work with existing currents, trends and projects where possible.
Produce no waste A stitch in time saves nine.. Waste not, want not Use psychological awareness to avoid conflict where possible
Design from patterns to details Can’t see the wood for the trees Energy descent planning – strategic as well as micro
Integrate rather than segregate Many hands make light work Partnership partnership partnership!
Use small and slow solutions The bigger they are the harder they fall. Slow and steady wins the race Allow groups time to form and grow before expecting action
Use and value diversity Don’t put all your eggs in one basket “Both.. and” rather than “either/or” – let’s do it your way and my way
Use edges and value the marginal Don’t think you are on the right track just because it is a well beaten path The boundaries between systems are interesting places – between existing and new movements, council and business, young and old.
Creative use and respond to change Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be Keep the vision open, active and creative – don’t tie it down or stop it evolving.

Characteristics of Resilient Systems

These are some very valuable pointers from “Resilience Thinking” by David Salter and Brian Walker.

Characteristic Description
Tight feedback The system knows what’s happening inside itself quickly and can respond
Diversity Diversity in all areas, ecological, social, economic needs to be attended to and supported.
Modularity Sub systems within the system are independent or not over connected – if one fails they don’t all fail.
Ecological variability Eco systems constantly change. Any attempts to limit or prevent change are generally disastrous. Understanding the variability of a system is wise.
Understanding slow variables Slow variables are often the key to understanding systems. They determine the thresholds in a system that can lead the system to tip into a new regime.
Social capital A resilient world would promote trust, well developed social networks, and adaptability. Resilience is very closely determined by the ability of people to respond and work together.
Innovation A resilient system places an emphasis on learning, experimentation, locally developed rules, and embracing change.
Overlap in governance Institutions that include redundancy in their governing structure, and overlap in common and private ownership with overlapping access rights
Ecosystem services are valued We have to learn to value ecosystem ‘services’. The earth is not an unlimited source of materials and rubbish dump.
Human beings have diverse connections to each other and all beings. These connections are seen and unseen; inner and outer. All connection to our world, ‘hidden’ energetic or inner, are accepted as implicit, immanent, and integral to all of our understanding and practice. We must explore and create awareness of our connections both to other people and to all of creation.