Applying the principles of permaculture of social communities

Yesterday I read an interesting article by the Open Permaculture School on how the principles of permaculture can be applied to other areas of our lives, such as in human communities and social groups. The basis of permaculture design is that action within or upon a system should benefit the system as a whole. If we look at social communities as a system, it’s easy to see how the same principles applied to permaculture can be applied to different areas of our society as well. Wouldn’t it be good if we shape our communities, economics and political systems such that everyone is part of the system and every action upon said system should benefit everyone?

The article (link at the bottom of this post) listed seven principles that we can learn from:

Embrace diversity
A diversity of crops, microclimates, animals, etc. is encouraged on any permaculture plot. This is because they all bring different things to the table, or soil so to speak. This reminds me of the following image:

(via)

Respond creatively to change
Do not resist change. Instead, see it as a possibility for improvement.

Devolve control
Create a self-managed system by getting every member involved and fostering a sense of belonging with the power to influence.

Cooperation
With diversity in a system, it is only natural that different members have different skills and strengths. The idea is to harness these different strengths to benefit the community as a whole. It’s like the Three Sisters concept of planting three crops together (e.g. beans, corn and pumpkin). Corn provides a structure for the beans to climb, the beans fix nitrogen into the soil and the pumpkin is a cover crop that protects the soil from the sun, retains moisture in the soil and prevents weeds from growing.

Take it slow
Baby steps. Don’t expect drastic changes instantly.

Uses edges (?)
Stop compartmentalising! Encourage interaction so that ideas can flow and blend.

Self regulate
Constant observation is important, because there are many external factors that may affect the system. Keep our eyes and ears open to feedback and be ready to act upon them.

You can read the full article here.

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