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Bill Mollison – Save the Earth Hero

Bill Mollison

Following on from our first in the series on “Heroes” – real people making a difference for people and planet – we focus on Bill Mollison, co-creator of permaculture. In fact he is often referred to as the “Father of Permaculture”. Permaculture systems allow individuals  and communities to fulfill their very own demands. It also allows people to reclaim control of their lives,  as well as enhance nature as opposed to killing it. Doesn’t that sound like a great idea?  Sadly, Bill is no longer with us. He passed away not long ago at the age of 88. But he left one heck of a legacy.

Permaculture – Fair Share, People Care & Earth Care

For those of you who don’t know, permaculture is more than a farming system. The design methodology calls for collaboration with, instead of versus, nature. By working with nature, people can obtain higher organic yields and feed communities healthy food. Not only this, but we can apply the methodology to other systems as well. Things like business models and community partnerships can work on permaculture principles. The emphasis is on fair share, people care, and planet care.

 

A biologist having actually established permaculture principles in his homeland  Tasmania,  Bill Mollison then went on to spread permaculture abroad. Now an international movement and with much cultural and geographical diversity, it offers solutions to some of the biggest problems we face today. Based largely on observation – both of nature and of indigenous people’s interaction with nature – Mollison’s approaches to growing plants is truly sustainable. It takes a holistic view of the system and looks to provide a variety of functions (stacking function) from each element. This makes the approach interesting to view from many angles.

Letting Nature do the Work

In farming terms, permaculture involves growing  a wide and varied collection of plants, utilizing native species to create effective ecosystems – focusing on regenerative agriculture and encouraging wildlife onto the land. You even manage pests through nature, by using specific plants that repel certain pests, or by using thorny bushes and trees to prevent animals from entering your property, for example.  In this kind of system, the animals do the work for you while also getting a reciprocal benefit from the situation. A designed symbiosis. Mimicking the way nature works.
Bruce Charles “Bill” Mollison was an Australian researcher, academic, author, scientist, and teacher. Having worked in academia for many years, at age 50, he left formal scholastic life. He identified a failure in the “system” in not being able to take a holistic or multi-disciplinary approach.  Together with David Holmgren, Bill Mollison began to put together permaculture. They released their book “Permaculture One” in 1978. “Permaculture – A Designers’ Manual” followed ten years later. This manual continues to be the go-to book for all permaculture practitioners. It is also the key teaching aid on Permaculture Design Courses.

Win -Win Scenarios

If you create your yard or plot as an all-natural system you could conserve your own energy, conserve power, and also remove the need for waste. Generally, permaculture requires minimal to no-digging, you use weeds in different ways (you can even eat many of them!), and no pesticides or herbicides are necessary. Waste does not exist and the design operates in a mostly closed-loop system. “Waste” can be used in another part of the system. Everything gets recycled. Does that sound like a win-win to you?

Who said we don’t have solutions to our ecological problems? If you don’t know much about this subject, it might well be worth researching it. If everyone grew food using permaculture principles, we could regenerate the earth.So, we have a lot to be grateful for. Everyone should appreciate Bill Mollison and his legacy. That legacy may well provide us with the framework for feeding ourselves and for rejuvenating our planet earth. Real heroes work for the good of people and planet.

1 Comment

  1. […] Permaculture enthusiasts would say, “the problem is the solution.” Where does the potential for growing indoors lie? Could empty warehouses and abandoned buildings be repurposed as mushroom farms? Can sustainable energy be a bigger part of the closed loop? As crazy as it may sound, can harvesting insects provide a new source of protein and reduce the demand for factory-farmed meat? How we grow, what we grow, and where we grow will be shaped by the innovators of today. […]

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