I've been paying attention to the development of permaculture design since I first encountered it in the early 1980s. It's a concept that continues to evolve, continues to find new forms of expression, and the vast majority of those expressions have been far more successful in creating sustainable environments than just about any form of technology-fix oriented civilized expressions.
I found one of the most eloquent expressions of the science that lies behind permaculture designs in this talk by Andrew Faust.
He envisions in his talk a different way of viewing ourselves. As he suggests, permaculture offers an opportunity to re-envision ourselves as biological organisms who are deeply rooted in the life matrix of planet earth. He asks: what does it mean to begin to live in ways that intentionally participate with evolution. What would a new cosmology look like? What new stories might we construct about ourselves?
He articulately brings his own background in evolutionary biology and a wide range of readings to his own story telling in a way that is both imaginative yet grounded in the best way we have of making sense of our complex world: the scientific method of investigation. And I find that this talk is also a form of imaginative story telling that rivals any of the best of story tellers through our long history as a species. His story invokes much of our modern science-based understanding rooted in the biological and ecological sciences combined with a Carl Sagan-like view of earth, the sun, and the universe.
I feel it can be inspiring even for those who haven't studied the sciences he draws from. And it's a positive alternative to the doom and gloom binary options we are predominantly presented with as our only two alternatives: continue with the process we now call industrial civilization, a system nearly everyone participates in today, or return to the stone age.
A site Andrew affiliates with: