What is permaculture?
Permaculture is an approach to land management and design that adopts arrangements observed in flourishing natural ecosystems. It includes a set of design principles derived using whole systems thinking. It applies these principles in fields such as regenerative agriculture, town planning, rewilding, and community resilience. Permaculture originally came from "permanent agriculture", but was later adjusted to mean "permanent culture", incorporating social aspects. The term was coined by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in 1978, who formulated the concept in opposition to Western industrialized methods and in congruence with Indigenous or traditional knowledge.
Permaculture has many branches including ecological design, ecological engineering, regenerative design, environmental design, and construction. It also includes integrated water resources management, sustainable architecture, and regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems. Permaculture has been implemented and gained widespread visibility throughout the world as an agricultural and architectural design system and as a guiding life principle or philosophy. Traditional and indigenous practices are highly valued in permaculture because they have been developed in perpetual dialogue with specific climate and soil conditions.
Permaculture uses creative design processes based on whole-systems thinking, considering all materials and energies in flow that affect or are affected by proposed changes. In practical terms it means that before, for example, modifying overland water flow, one fully considers both upstream and downstream effects in the short and long terms. Or, when looking at a "problem", such as brushy vegetation, one considers how removing or altering it will impact soil and wildlife, and how these interacting forces would evolve over time and space. When building a house, one takes into consideration breaking down the house.
Read more about the permaculture ethics.
I'm a huge fan of traditional mallorquin architecture. The old stone houses are perfectly adapted to the mediterranean climate. Farmers were picking up stones from the field and using them for usable structures. That's how you kill two birds with one stone! The structures are long-lasting and leave no wate behind, the thick walls are cooling in the hot summer days.