Permaculture: A Quiet Revolution

On the eighth International Permaculture Convergence over 200 permaculture design course graduates and their mentors have gathered in Brazil.

Together, they unite 43 countries in the common goal of preparing for and mitigating our looming global crisis. Their strategy's clear: Create sustainability now through self-reliance.

The eighth International Permaculture Convergence, a journey called IPC8, spans across rural and urban Brazil, focusing on four education centers, thriving permaculture communities designed for the creation of clean energy.

Part of the permaculture design system is a practice called zoning, the correct placement of things to afford minimal energy input and maximum output. Permaculture is design. It's not just organic. It's design, and if the design element isn't there, it may be green, it may be organic, may be environmentally sound, but it isn't permaculture.

Beginning where the most input is required, the home is zone zero. If you have all the materials, in eight days, you can lift the house up. You can also attach a greenhouse to it if you need to cool the house down and use that moisture, or you could attach a glass house to heat it up.

If in permaculture we can provide really good models of all the systems that we've developed, and build good houses that are energy-efficient, that use renewable energies, that have really good sanitation systems, biological systems that are part of the overall design, we can really cut back on a lot of resource use. If we provide that to business as a way that they can continue to make money, but that they can look at it in a different way, we've gone a long way to turn around what is a problem into something that's beneficial.

Around the home lies zone one, an area set aside for the growth of vegetables, herbs, and medicinal plants. But, absolutely nothing would grow for a long time until we can manage to convince the ants to occupy other areas of the place. This is what all is about, to get good soil areas that ants will not bother, and then you can grow small amounts of food in small spaces and then build from that. If you try large scale, almost always the ants will win, and you're going to feel like they're working against you.

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