However, Permaculture means different things to different people, and Paul Wheaton (who is insanely proud of being dubbed "The Duke of Permaculture" by Geoff Lawton "The Crown-Prince of Permaculture") discerns a division. On the one hand he has "Purple Permaculture", which involves hugging trees, attuning oneself to the energies of the universe, seeing spirituality in trees and streams and shit. On the other hand, there is "Brown Permaculture", which is perhaps more earthy (hence the brown) and practical - what works; how can we combine complex systems to reduce waste and effort and optimise beneficial outputs and interactions. Paul sees himself (and he has never formally declared for Geoff) on the brown end of the spectrum. That's where I would put Geoff, and where I would put my own inclinations.
I don't believe in Ley Lines, biorhythms, homeopathy, life forces, pixies or fairies of any kind. Indeed, I think such fantasies are bonkers. However I do recognise a few simple principles:
- Our planet was doing very well in terms of biological output before we got here
- Life and evolution are pretty amazing at coming up with counter-intuitive solutions or work-arounds to problems that they face
- Many biological systems greatly out-produce the base needs of the system (so we can potentially tap into that surplus)
- By simple linear thinking we are making serious errors in the maintenance of our biosphere.
So do it! Plant some spuds or tomatoes or something, and harvest them and eat them! Not only are you benefiting your health and well-being, you're sticking it to Mr Tesco, who only pays farmers a pittance for the produce anyway. Every little helps, as they say.
But keep it brown. Remember where you came from. Hydrothermal vents to seas to trees to here. You're a product of the system you should be trying to protect. Oh, and remember, we *are* still going to go to Mars.