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This is the definitive Permaculture design manual in print since 1988. It is the text book and curriculum for the 72-hour Certificate course in Permaculture Design. Written for teachers, students and designers, it follows on and greatly enlarges on the initial introductory texts, Permaculture One (1978) and Permaculture Two (1979) both of which are still in demand over twenty years after publication. Very little of the material found in this book is reproduced from the former texts. It covers design methodologies and strategies for both urban and rural applications describing property design and natural farming techniques. Topics include: design methods, understanding patterns in nature, climatic factors, water, soils, earthworks and their use in earth repair, techniques and design strategies for both urban and rural applications, the temperate climates, dry lands, cold climates, humid cool climates, humid tropics , trees and their energy transactions, aqua-culture, waste management, energy efficient architecture, legal strategies and trusts, effective working groups, right livelihood, money and finance, ethical investment. bio-regional organisation, effective aid.
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For those of us searching for an ecologically responsible lifestyle amid urban and suburban insanity, Bill Mollison has a real and exciting answer. This book is full of helpful advice presented in a very readable way. (The only problem might be getting stuck in the chapters on climates that don't concern you; just skip them until later!) The groundwork philosophy of permaculture is laid first, and the book moves from there to the practical business of actually designing one. The emphasis is on letting various plant and animal species work together as much as possible, to form a basically self-sustaining system from which people can reap a continual harvest, not only of food, but of interest and self-respect. What a prospect! It is certainly a very different one from what we young people have been taught to expect from life! This volume is much more complete in both the philosophy and the practice than were the original "Permaculture One" and "Permaculture Two." It is also much less focused on the Southern Hemisphere, which is helpful for North Americans trying to visualize their own permaculture. I can only hope that more people happen upon this book as I did and are themselves inspired to create a fulfilling life for themselves and their children.
Bill Mollison represents the most successful attempt to mainstream practical home-scale sustainable design principles. I found myself needing to do an enormous amount of supplementary research to actually understand what bill was talking about, but to explain them in depth here would have taken away from the thrust of the book - which is mainly to show you example after example (many on every page) at sustainable principles of design put into practice.
The book remains the best book on sustainability written to date. There are some aspects of his system that are lacking that I will briefly draw attention to. Understand that I deeply appreciate his genius, but I want to just mention that these other things need to be integrated into his system to be fully fully sustainable.
1) He doesn't pay enough attention to seed saving and plant breeding. A loss of seed diversity and a re-invigoration of seed savers is essential to truly sustainable self-sufficient design.
Seed to Seed - by Suzanne Ashworth and Kent Whealy
Breed your own Vegetable Varieties - by Carol Deppe
2) He very rarely mentions the role mushrooms and fungi can play in sustainability.
Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets
3) He doesn't stress the science behind it enough, which is fine, but leaves you asking sometimes... how do we know this is really ecologically sound? How can I NOT imitate mr. mollison but still create an ecologically sound system? Basically, Mollison's proscriptions are incredibly scientifically informed but not always scientifically explicit.Read more ›
Bill Mollison is an ecologist of the first rank. In 1981 he received the Right Livelihood Award--the Alternative Nobel Prize--for his work in environmental design. He and David Holmgren coined the word permaculture; Mollison has devoted his life to teaching the concept. Permaculture is humans working with, not against, nature. It's about causing land, water, plants and animals to synergistically cause multiple benefits and to improve an ecosystem simultaneously. It maximizes functional connections so that the many parts become a whole. To create permaculture design is to make the strongest possible statement of our eco-values, a resounding vote against current agribusiness practices. I have four of Mollison's books--this one has it all plus 129 color photos and a gazillion drawings by Andrew Jeeves. Here is complete knowledge to create your personal permaculture, a place to work and live in harmony with nature, a place that will nuture your body and your soul.
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