Interested in Sustainability and Saving the World in a Practical Way? Try Permaculture

Interested in Sustainability and Saving the World in a Practical Way?   

Try Permaculture


We hear so much on the news about climate change, the climate crisis, being sustainable, being ecofriendly. Permaculture is a way for you to start to change the way that you live practically and ethically.

Permaculture aims to –

  • Increase sustainability
  • Increase biodiversity
  • Grow plants that have more than one use

What is Permaculture?

 Permaculture is an ethical approach to designing land use and community systems, to provide food, ecological habitats and other essentials needed for human survival.

The word permaculture derives from two words – permanent and agriculture. It was first devised by an Australian Ecologist, Bill Mollison and his student, David Holmgren in 1978. Permaculture has come on in leaps and bounds, and grown in popularity since then.


Permaculture embraces three main ethical principles as follows:

  • "Care of the Earth" - This includes all living things and non-living things which together comprise the environment (i.e. animals, plants, land, water, and air).
  • "Care of People" - Permaculture systems should be developed to promote selfreliance and community responsibility.
  • “Fair Share” - Set limits to consumption and reproduction, and redistribute surplus - pass on anything surplus to an individual's needs (e.g. labour, information, or money) to pursue the above aims.

In all of this, there is the life ethic –

  • All living organisms are not only means but ends.
  • In addition to their instrumental value to humans and other living organisms, they have an intrinsic worth.

As such, permaculture stresses both a positive approach and an attitude of cooperation, with respect to both the environment and all living things.


Self-Sufficiency or Commercial Growing

One of the criticisms of permaculture is that it is not suitable for modern farmers as it is really only for people who want to be self-sufficient. One argument is that it is not commercially viable. Some people growing using permaculture methods have sold their excess crops and are making money from this method of growing. Others may be growing using permaculture techniques for themselves and their personal use.

Whether you wish to be self-sufficient or sell commercially, permaculture has many excellent lessons to tell us about nature and growing crops.

The Elements of Permaculture Design

There are nine important elements to permaculture design –

  • Relative location – Components of a design are placed in a position which achieves a desired relationship between components. Everything is connected to everything else.
  • Multiple Functions – A permaculture design might have more than one function fruit, such as producing fruit, producing herbs, providing shelter.
  • Elevational planning – When planning in permaculture, it is important to operate on a 3D basis – considering height, width and length.
  • Biological resources – Use renewable resources, such as wood for fuel.
  • Energy recycling – Keep energy use to a minimum. Use the system to collect energy from plants and animals.
  • Natural succession – design the permaculture system so that the environment is rich in animal and plant life and as one organism dies, another emerges.
  • The edge of two different areas can be an area of great diversity, so they should be managed well.
  •  Diversity – A permaculture design should be a polyculture. This is a system where a large number of species grow together to ensure biological stability.
  • Functions - As well as the above principles the design should also have two elements – function and aesthetics. A permaculture design does not need to look “nice”, but as with most things in nature, there is the potential for beauty.

What is a permaculture designer?

A permaculture design is someone is creating a space that is kind to the environment and selfsufficient.

  • A permaculture designer will look at an area of land. They will observe the plants and animals that already live there.
  • They will want to avoid brining in non-native plants.
  • They will not want to bring in toxic materials, for example, to build shelters.
  • The designer will want to connect the things in the environment in a way that is friendly to nature. For example, if plants need fertiliser, a permaculture designer might plant trees to attract birds, who then fertilise the land in a nature way.


Permaculture designers operate on the circle of life 

How do I become a Permaculture Designer?


If you want to carry out permaculture in your own garden or plot of land, you can read more about permaculture or there are courses available to study.

For example –

Permaculture I is an introduction to Permaculture courses.


Routes to a Permaculture Design Certificate

 If you are looking to work as a professional permaculture designer or would like more detailed experience, then a Permaculture Design Certificate is important.

 We offer various pathways of studying for a Permaculture Design Certificate –

Pathway 1

 Permaculture Systems is a 100 hour intensive course leading to the PDC.

 Pathway 2

Complete four x 100 hour modules –

Permaculture I – the introduction to permaculture course

Permaculture II – focusses on plants and permaculture

 Permaculture III – focusses on animals in a permaculture system

Permaculture IV – focusses on permaculture design and management Pathway 3 Certificate in Permaculture Consulting – This is a 600 hour course. Pathway 4

Certificate in Horticulture (Permaculture) – This is also a 600 hour course.


Which is the right pathway for you?

Essentially, the routes are different in terms of hours of study; areas and pace of learning; and in the ability for students to specialise in particular aspects of permaculture and horticulture.

 It really depends on your previous experience and knowledge which course would be most suitable for you.


Is Permaculture Right For You?

If you are interested in –

  • Being sustainable
  • Being self-sufficient
  • Taking care of nature
  • Growing food and plants in a natural and sustainable way
  • Helping others to do the same

Then permaculture could be the right move for you.



If you are not sure about whether this is the right path for you or which level you need to start at, then please get in touch. Our permaculture tutors are very enthusiastic and interested in permaculture and want more people to get involved. 





Share this Article

Search the blog

Follow us

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.

I agree for ACS Distance Education to contact me and store my information until I revoke my approval. For more info, view our privacy policy.