....................In your hands is the power of the empire...............

....................In    your    hands    is    the    power    of    the    empire...............

PDC Permaculture Design Course - Douro River - Porto - Portugal

PDC Permaculture Design Course - Douro River - Porto - Portugal
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Permaculture is to live in harmony with nature providing for human needs and the needs of the ecosystems

Amazing Bill Mollison quotes.

Here are some of the nicest quotes from Bill Mollison, if you know some more, please leave them in the comments area and we all get inspired ;)



 "Raise potatoes not consciousness"

“I can’t change the world on my own, it’ll take at least 3 of us”

  "Gardeners plant like we will live forever"
Bill Mollison
“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex,

the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” 
"There is one, and only one, solution, and we have almost no time to try it. We must turn all our resources to repairing the natural world, and train all our young people to help. They want to; we need to give them this last chance to create forests, soils, clean waters, clean energies, secure communities, stable regions, and to know how to do it from hands-on experience." - Bill Mollison
For the sake of the earth itself, I evolved a
philosophy close to Taoism from my experiences with
natural systems. As it was stated in Permaculture Two, it
is a philosophy of working with rather than against
rather than protracted and thoughtless action; of
nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation
rather than asking only one yield of them; and of
looking at systems and people in all their functions,
A basic question that can be asked in two ways is:
allowing systems to demonstrate their own evolutions. "What can I get from this land, or person?" or
cooperate with them
"What does this person, or land, have to give if I

"To be a complete person we must travel many paths, and to truly own anything we must first all give it away. This is not a riddle. Only those who share their multiple and varied skills, true friendships, and a sense of community and knowledge of the earth know they are safe wherever they go."
- Bill Mollison (Co-Founder of Permaculture)

The past is a useful source of information but never as a substitute for my own fresh thinking. 

I think it's pointless asking questions like "Will humanity survive?" It's purely up to people - if they want to, they can, if they don't want to, they won't.

Use all the skills you have in relation to others - and that way we can do anything. But if you lend your skills to other systems that you don't really believe in, then you might as well never have lived. You haven't expressed yourself.

If people want some guidance, I say, just look at what people really do. Don't listen to them that much. And choose your friends from people who you like what they do - even though you mightn't like what they say.

We are sufficient to do everything possible to heal this Earth. We don't have to suppose we need oil, or governments, or anything. We can do it.

 Pollution is an unused resource.

Permaculture is a concise design of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have diversity, stability, & resilience of natural ecosystems. -Bill Mollison

Each such cycle is a unique event; diet, choice, selection, season, weather, digestion, decomposition and regeneration differ each time it happens. Thus, it is the number of such cycles, great and small, that decide the potential for diversity. We should feel ourselves privileged to be part of such eternal renewal. Just by living we have achieved immortality – as grass, grasshoppers, gulls, geese and other people. We are of the diversity we experience in every real sense.
If, as physical scientists assure us, we all contain a few molecules of Einstein, and if the atomic particles of our physical body reach to the outermost bounds of the universe, then we are all de facto components of all things. There is nowhere left for us to go if we are already everywhere, and this is, in truth, all we will ever have or need. If we love ourselves at all, we should respect all things equally, and not claim any superiority over what are, in effect, our other parts. Is the hand superior to the eye? The bishop to the goose? The son to the mother?”

“. . . every society that grows extensive lawns could produce all its food on the same area, using the same resources, and . . . world famine could be totally relieved if we devoted the same resources of lawn culture to food culture in poor areas. These facts are before us. Thus, we can look at lawns, like double garages and large guard dogs, [and Humvees and SUVs] as a badge of willful waste, conspicuous consumption, and lack of care for the earth or its people.

Most lawns are purely cosmetic in function. Thus, affluent societies have, all unnoticed, developed an agriculture which produces a polluted waste product, in the presence of famine and erosion elsewhere, and the threat of water shortages at home.

The lawn has become the curse of modern town landscapes as sugar cane is the curse of the lowland coastal tropics, and cattle the curse of the semi-arid and arid rangelands.

It is past time to tax lawns (or any wasteful consumption), and to devote that tax to third world relief. I would suggest a tax of $5 per square metre for both public and private lawns, updated annually, until all but useful lawns are eliminated.” 

  • It is my belief that we have two responsibilities to pursue: Primarily, it is to get our house and garden, our place of living, in order, so that it supports us; Secondarily, it is to limit our population on earth, or we ourselves become the final plague. Both these duties are intimately connected, as stable regions create stable populations. If we do not get our cities, homes, and gardens in order, so that they feed and shelter us, we must lay waste to all other natural systems. Thus, truly responsible conservationists have gardens…
    • chapter 1.3
  • …the end result of the adoption of permaculture strategies in any country or region will be to dramatically reduce the area of the agricultural environment needed by the households and the settlements of people, and to release much of the landscape for the sole use of wildlife and for re-occupation by endemic flora.
    • chapter 1.3
  • You can hit a nail on the head, or cause a machine to do so, and get a fairly predictable result. Hit a dog on the head, and it will either dodge, bite back, or die, but it will never again react in the same way. We can predict only those things we set up to be predictable, not what we encounter in the real world of living and reactive processes.
    • chapter 2.2
  • I confess to a rare problem—gynekinetophobia, or the fear of women falling on me—but this is a rather mild illness compared with many affluent suburbanites, who have developed an almost total zoophobia, or fear of anything that moves. It is, as any traveller can confirm, a complaint best developed in the affluent North American, and it seems to be part of blue toilet dyes, air fresheners, lots of paper tissues, and two showers a day.
    • chapter 2.5
  • Order is found in things working beneficially together. It is not the forced condition of neatness, tidiness, and straightness all of which are, in design or energy terms, disordered. True order may lie in apparent confusion; it is the acid test of entropic order to test the system for yield. If it consumes energy beyond product, it is in disoder. If it produces energy to or beyond consumption, it is ordered.
    • chapter 2.9
  • What is proposed herein is that we have no right, nor any ethical justification, for clearing land or using wilderness while we tread over lawns, create erosion, and use land inefficiently. Our responsibility is to put our house in order. Should we do so, there will never be any need to destroy wilderness.
    • chapter 3.10
  • Type 1 Error: When we settle into wilderness, we are in conflict with so many life forms that we have to destroy them to exist. Keep out of the bush. It is already in good order.
    • chapter 3.10
  • For priority in location, we need to first attend to Zone 1 and Zone 2; these support the household and save the most expense. What is perhaps of greatest importance, and cannot be too highly stressed, is the need to develop very compact systems. ... We can all make a very good four meters square garden, where we may fail to do so in 40 square meters.
    • chapter 3.15
  • "Most biologists," (says Vogel, 1981) "seem to have heard of the boundary layer, but they have a fuzzy notion that it is a discrete region, rather than the discrete notion that it is a fuzzy region."
    • chapter 4.4
    • quoting Vogel, Steven, Life in Moving Fluids; the Physical Biology of Flow, Willard Grant Press, Boston, 1981.
  • Stupidity is an attempt to iron out all differences, and not to use or value them creatively.
    • chapter 4.7
  • We ourselves are part of a guild of species that lie within and without our bodies. Aboriginal peoples and the Ayurvedic practitioners of ancient India have names for such guilds, or beings made up (as we are) of two or more species forming one organism. Most of nature is composed of groups of species working interdependently …
    • chapter 4.8
  • As we read this, we stand in the plane of the present; we are the sum of all our ancestors, and the origin of all our descendents. In terms of our model, we are at an ever-changing origin, located on the boundary of past and future. As well, we are spinning with the earth, spiralling with the galaxy, and expanding or contracting with the universe. As origins, we are on the move in time and space, and all these movements have a characteristic pulse rate.
    • chapter 4.19
  • A bird's-eye view of centralised and disempowered societies will reveal a strictly rectilinear network of streets, farms, and property boundaries. It is as though we have patterned the earth to suit our survey instruments rather than to serve human or environmental needs. We cannot perhaps blame Euclid for this, but we can blame his followers. The straight-line patterns that result prevent most sensible landscape planning strategies and result in neither an aesthetically nor functionally satisfactory landscape or stretscape. Once established, then entered into a body of law, such inane (or insane) patterning is stubbornly defended. But it is created by, and can be dismantled by, people.
    • chapter 4.21
  • … the value of land must, in the future, be assessed on its yield of potable water. Those property-owners with a constant source of pure water already have an economically-valuable "product" from their land, and need look no further for a source of income.
    • chapter 7.1
  • Of all the elements of critical importance to plants, phosophorus is the least commonly found, and sources are rarely available locally. Of all the phosphatic fertilisers used, Europe and North America consume 75% (and get least return from this input because of overuse, over-irrigation, and poor soil economy). If we really wanted to reduce world famine, the redirection of these surplus phosphates to the poor soils of Africa and India (or any other food-deficient area) would do it. Forget about miracle plants; we need global ethics for all such essential soil resources. As long as we clear-cultivate, most of this essential and rare resource will end up in the sea.
    • table 8.1
  • It seems curious that we know so much about sheep, so little about those animals which outweigh them per hectare by factors of ten or a hundred times, and that we do not investigate these matters far more seriously. Our most sustainable yields may be grubs or caterpillars rather than sheep; we can convert these invertebrates to use by feeding them to poultry or fish. We can't go wrong in encouraging a complex of life in soils, from roots and mycorrhiza to moles and earthworms, and in thinking of ways in which soil life assists us to produce crop, it itself becomes a crop.
    • chapter 8.12
  • As non-scientists, most gardeners deprived of atomic-ray spectrometers, a battery of reagents, and a few million research dollars must look to signs of health such as the birds, reptiles, worms, and plants of their garden-farm. For myself, in a truly natural garden I have come to expect to see, hear, and find evidence of abundant vertebrate life. This, and this alone, assures me that invertebrates still thrive there. I know of many farms where neither birds nor worms exist, and I suspect that their products are dangerous to all life forms.
    • chapter 8.12
  • Too often, the pastoralist blames the weeds and seeks a chemical rather than a management solution; too seldom do we find an approach combining the sensible utilisation of grasshoppers and grubs as a valuable dried-protein supplement for fish or food pellets, and a combination of soil conditioning, slashing, and de-stocking or re-seeding to restore species balance.
    • chapter 8.15
  • Life is also busy transporting and overturning the soils of earth, the stones, and the minerals. The miles-long drifts of sea kelp that float along our coasts may carry hundreds of tons of volcanic boulders held in their roots. I have followed these streams of life over 300 km, and seen them strand on granite beaches, throwing their boulders up on a 9,000 year old pile of basalt, all the hundreds of tons of which were carried there by kelp.
    • chapter 8.20
  • It is possible, in Iran, Greece, North Africa, USA, Mexico, Pakistan, and Australia to see how, in our short history of life destruction, we have brought the hard bones of the earth to the surface by stripping the life skin from it for ephemeral uses. We can, if we persist, create a moon-landscape of the earth. So poor goatherds wander where the lake-forests stood and the forest deities were worshipped. The religions of resignation and fanaticism follow those of the nature gods, and man-built temples replace trees and tree spirits.
    • chapter 8.20
  • Few people today muck around in earth, and when on international flights, I often find I have the only decently dirty fingernails.
    • chapter 9.1
  • A great many film stars perched on unstable ravine edges in the canyon systems of Los Angeles will, like the cemeteries there, eventually slide down to join their unfortunate fellows in the canyon floors, with mud, cars, and embalmed or living film stars in one glorious muddy mass. We should not lend our talents to creating such spectacular catastrophes...
    • chapter 9.4
  • Peat preserves timber, animals, and such unexpected treasure-troves as hoards of acorns and firkins of beech butter from the forests which preceded the bogs. A whole archaeology may very well lie in peat, and the pollen record may reveal past history. At the base of Irish bogs the Fir Bolg (the little people), their axes, bridges, butter, and forest life are well preserved. They and their forests were banished, as if by magic, by the Tuatha de Danan (the Children of Diana) who now dig the peat. Diana was displaced in turn by Mary, mother of God. But all are mixed in the peat and the tongue of Ireland.
    • chapter 9.9
  • Steps in total planning are roughly in priority:
  1. Assess market; future; prices; potential for processing to higher value; labour; shares, legal systems; social necessities and local self-reliance needs.
  2. Analyse and get advice on soils and necessary nutrients.
  3. Plan ground layout and windbreak, access, and water. Detailing can follow later.
  4. Plan and carry out essential earthworks.
  5. Establish nursery and use selected varietal forms for new or replacement crop.
  6. Commence broadscale placements with or after windbreak and nurse crop.
  7. Continue by constant assessment, consultation, feedback and innovative trials. Fill niches as they evolve.
    • chapter 10.9
  • Brambles, in particular, protect and nourish young fruit trees, and on farms bramble clumps (blackberry or one of its related cultivars) can be used to exclude deer and cattle from newly set trees. As the trees (apple, quince, plum, citrus, fig) age, and the brambles are shaded out, hoofed animals come to eat fallen fruit, and the mature trees (7 plus years old) are sufficiently hardy to withstand browsing. Our forest ancestors may well have followed some such sequences for orchard evolution, assisted by indigenous birds and mammals.
    • chapter 12.7
  • Freezing concentrates sugar (maple sugar), alcohol, and salt solutions as efficiently as heating distils water or alcohol from solutions. Open pans of maple sugar can have the surface ice removed regularly (each day) until a sugar concentrate remains. Salts in water, and alcohol in ferment liquors can be concentrated in the same way.
    • chapter 12.15
  • In the fall, acorns, filberts, and hickory nuts are gathered by wildlife as winter stores. Field and pack rats bring in smaller seed such as wild rice from the marshes. If storages are provided, these foragers will fill hollow pipes or logs, or smaller pipes, old vehicle engine manifolds, and nest boxes or wall cavities. Seed so collected is sound, clean, and neatly stored. Providing some 15% is left, and given over to winter food for these workers, 85% can be collected for human use. A few people regularly collect their hickory nuts or wild rice in this way, by providing dens for squirrels or pack rats. It is a question of cooperation and provision for others, instead of attempting to kill off the experts and do the job yourself.
    • chapter 12.15
  • A people without an agreed-upon common basis to their actions is neither a community nor a nation. A people with a common ethic is a nation wherever they live. Thus, the place of habitation is secondary to a shared belief in the establishment of an harmonious world community. Just as we can select a global range of plants for a garden, we can select from all extant ethics and beliefs those elements that we see to be sustainable, useful, and beneficial to life and to our community.
    • chapter 14.2
  • Security can be found in renunciation of ownership over people, money, and real assets; to gain, keep or protect that which others need for periods of legitimate access. A lending library enables people to help themselves to information; a locked-up book collection is useful only to the person who owns it.
    • chapter 14.2
  • If and when the whole world is secure, we have won a right to explore space, and the oceans. Until we have demonstrated that we can establish a productive and secure earth society, we do not belong anywhere else, nor (I suspect) would we be welcome elsewhere.
    • chapter 14.2
  • In any group endeavour, there are practical and effective, or impractical and ineffective, ways to manage a complex system. Impractical, frustrating, and time-consuming systems are those governed by large boards, assemblies, or groups (seven or more people). These "meetings" have a chairperson, agendas, proposals, votes, or use consensus, and can go on for hours. Consensus, in particular, is an endless and pointless affair, with coercion of the often silent or incoherent abstainer by a vociferous minority. Thus, decisions reached by boards, parliaments, and consensus groups either oppress some individuals (votes) or are vetoed by dissenters. In either case, we have tyranny of a majority or tyranny of a minority, and a great deal of frustration and wasted time. The way to abolish such systems is to have one meeting where the sole agenda is to vote to abolish decision meetings -- this is usually carried unanimously -- and another where a consensus is reached to abolish consensus -- this too shouldn't take long.
    • chapter 14.10
  • There is no more time-wasting process than that of believing people will act, and then finding that they will not.
    • chapter 14.10
  • It is no mere coincidence that there is both an historic and a present relationship between community (people assisting each other) and a poverty of power due to financial recession.
    • chapter 14.10

  • "Hunger is rising, absolute hunger is rising, food’s badly distributed, not distributed at all often. The waste of food, the whole deal of it….it’s eh, a shocking situation, it’s just inhuman. It’s what nobody would intend, and somehow what we’ve arrived at, and we arrived at it by the erection of financial structures, totally divorced from resources. So that the fiscal economy has been a runaway system. We’ve gotta tackle that head on. That is, what I’m trying to tell you, it’s no good any longer just being an organic gardener or farmer, we have to be effective financial and political units. And we’re gonna have to face that. Just as it was very hard for us to learn to garden, then hard for us to learn to collect seeds, once the multinationals took over the open-pollinated seed market; we had to become seed growers. Now it’s very difficult, we have to become bankers. There’s no good trying to pretend we don’t have to. We can run away to the bush, build a mud hut and grow ducks in the garden, it’s not gonna do it. The coals will still be burnt, the land will still be eroded, and the forests will still be cleared for newsprint if we run away to the bush. So, there’s no escape, we’ve just gotta stop running away, stay where we are and start to face up and fight. Good, as long as you’re fully persuaded of that we can get on with the course…." ­ Bill Mollison, 1983 PDC (emphasis added)

"Agriculture is responsible for the loss of 40 per cent of all soils in the last 50 years."

"If I were Emporer I would ban all agricultural colleges and agricultural departments of universities because they haven't ever come up with a sustainable system of food production. All they've ever come up with is another monoculture."

"Architecture and architects are the largest out-of-control experiment ever inflicted on mankind (except for mobile phones)".
- Bill Mollison at 01:47/08:58

It is true that most people I know today have never killed or grown their own food, never cut a mushroom in the field, nor stretched a rabbit’s neck. They have never felled a tree, never seen the red kino (blood sap) flow, nor stuck a pig. Yet they order, and eat, mushrooms and bacon, use wood and planks, paint with bristle brushes and read newspapers. Some, alas, call themselves deep ecologists.
This poses a real dilemma, often deeply felt by young adults; a sense of total powerlessness, or unworthiness. Sometimes, they escape and arrive distraught at farms or teaching centres in rural areas. “Show me how to plant a tree,” they ask, and in a few days are able to plant enough trees to last them for life (if all were to grow). They have often been ‘educated’ until 25-28 years of age, and never once in all that time have they prepared food or gathered the material for a meal, or killed, or planted.
Others, sensitive souls, almost give up eating when they realise that none of their food is familiar to them; they neither grew it, dug for it, transported it nor prepared and cooked it. They feel deeply unworthy of their lives. And in a sense they are; being terribly dependant on unknown hands for all their needs. As mass markets proliferate, and we urbanise more people annually, this sense of being orphaned from the real world increases.
The more privileged our children become, the more free choices they have, the more they anguish about their own fundamental ‘right to life’, let alone their right to reproduce. Can we wonder at the growing numbers of young people in the West, who are truly homeless, truly alienated, truly lost? People without practice in killing, reaping, or sowing feel unsafe indeed.
For a start, we need to teach basic skills, even to take students for that specific purpose. Such humane outlets are opposed by the ‘left’ (unions) and the ‘right’ (exploiters and commercial interests). The very idea of even limited self-reliance is anathema to all extant political parties. They see regional self-reliance as subversive; all governments, since Cambodia (and Kissinger’s ‘Think Tanks’){,} realise that constant de-stabilisation of the person, the family, the village, the region, and the means of production is in the short term profitable (loot being seized cheap or sold), and in the long term provides helpless markets for mass-produced goods, which being produced by robots and very large machines, needs less people every year.
Nations that devote themselves to technological efficiencies (Japan, Western Europe, parts of the USA) cannot exist without destabilised ’regions of influence’. They need to be able to buy cheap and sell dear, and they can only do so if they have subject populations on the grand scale. For even 5% of the world to have choices, 95% of people must be subjected to a lesser quality of life. The panacea is (as in all Indian films) that the hero or heroine might ‘win’, might kiss a frog or meet a Fairy Queen, might (via the great leveller, democracy) become a president, and have their own secret service. Bullshit.
All we get from kissing frogs is cold lips. Democracy is a glamorous illusion, costing the earth to maintain, and carefully preserved for very privileged groups of overused political parties (those who already have lots of money and power). You have to marry into privilege to get it, and if you get it by accident, you must compromise to exist. Less than 10% of us belong to political parties!
The ultimate end to a growth economy (we are all sold on that) is the same as an analogous growth, cancer. But for national economies, the victims are nature, soils, forests, people, water, quality of life. There is one, and only one solution, and we have almost no time to try it. We must turn all our resources to repairing the natural world, and train all our young people to help. They want to; we need to give them this last chance to create forests, soils, clean waters, clean energies, secure communities, stable regions, and to know how to do it from hands-on experience. This is what I am about; what did you do in the war, daddy?

Your intention as a Permaculture Educator, Consultant, Designer is to make yourself redundant. That means Permaculture would be common knowledge and we are no longer needed in that role. Then we can all get on with whatever it is we really enjoy doing in this world. I'd be quite happy to putter around my garden for the rest of my days supplying my needs. We are obviously not there yet and need as many Permaculture Educators, Designers, and Consultants out there doing good work and demonstrating their happy little accidents and sad little failures for all of us to benefit from.
The point is not to make a career out of it, or to lock up some territory or technique for yourself for profit or ego. Thats the same thinking that put us where we are, and is only taking us toward misery and pain. The plant and animal systems are sorted, it's the people systems that continue to muck things up. If only we can get out of our own way long enough to get this planet back into productive function.
Tearing someone down to raise yourself up gets us nowhere, and quite obviously is in opposition to the ethics of permaculture. Thats what makes permaculture special, thats what separates permaculture from most everything else and thats what gives us hope and a chance for a better world. A world of CO-OPERATION not COMPETITION.

"Permaculture is a dance with nature - in which nature leads."




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Permaculture is to create paradise on earth starting at the kitchen garden

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