There had always been that group of design-centric permaculturalists focused on the process, not the techniques. The Toby Hemenways and Larry Santoyos of the world, the Darren Dohertys and the Ben Falks, The Richard Perkins, and my guest today, Rob Avis.
They are all just a small sample of a larger subset that’s focused on permaculture a design process, and only a design process. To them it’s just another tool in the toolbox.
A tool that you have at your disposal that when needed and applied correctly, can make your job easier.
It’s through the readings and conversations with these people that I have re-embraced permaculture for what it was a intended to be, and how I initially came about it.
And a big key in that return to permaculture as a tool, were the conversations that I had with Rob Avis of Verge Permaculture.
Like me Rob comes from an engineering background, and he came to permaculture after having been an engineer.
For him, permaculture gave him another tool to use and way to re-purpose his engineering career. Permaculture gave him a way to richen and deepen his design work and engineering versus diluting it.
And it was in one of our conversations where he said something that stopped me in my tracks, and changed my paradigm on the spot.
He said, “Diego, it doesn’t matter what anyone is saying or doing with permaculture, no matter how irrelevant it may seem. Permaculture is simply another tool in the toolbox, and if it makes my job easier, then I will use it. Like a hammer, it doesn’t matter what people are saying or claiming about a hammer, when you need to drive a nail you use a hammer, and when you, I don’t pay attention.”
It was that simple idea of permaculture being a tool, regardless of what claims people make, it’s still a tool, that really reset my perspective on permaculture.
Suddenly all the bogus claims didn’t matter, and I had something in my back pocket that made things easier, it was Permaculture – Another Tool in The Toolbox.
Notes from the conversation with Rob:
- Permaculture – elemental ecosystems – designing systems for humanity, while using ecosystems services, working with nature.
- “Using everything two or three times to minimize water use, to re-purpose waste water, and keep energy in play as long as possible, which ultimately leads to more profitability”
- Design for systems that ensure food and water without a lot of hands on work in terms of maintenance, giving a client freedom of time and place.
- Entropy – a measure of disorder.
- Understanding the energy flows coming in and interacting with the system adn then try to setup niches in space and tme to keep that energy in flow as long as possible.
- “If you’re not working with biology or photosynthesis, you’re not sustainable.”
- “Nature doesn’t approach anything with sentiment, it just is, it runs on trial and error.”
- We have to try to approach these same tools without sentiment and bias.
- Dissolve your pre-conceived notions of what is good and bad and instead it just is, and where does what you are using fit withing the larger context.
- Challenge your confirmation bias – trying to understand what your looking at for what it really is.
- A properly diagnosed problem solves itself pretty once a diagnosis has be identified.
- Bruce Mau “Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.”[gap size=”50px”]
Connect with Rob and Verge Permaculture:
Rob’s design firm – Adaptive Habitat