Thursday 21 January 2010

Patterns in Nature - Permaculture 4

"Permaculture - designing sustainable human communities by following nature's patterns."

I found the quote in the middle of the sun on one of Graham's illustrations. It looked something like this.

Before designing living spaces, growing places, towns and cities, permaculture considers the patterns of nature. Last weekend as we considered the input and output of the industrial teabag and garden lemon balm, the process of engaging with a situation or piece of land (Survey, Assess, Design, Implement, Maintain, Evaulate and Tweak) and the fact there is no such place as away when it comes to rubbish ("our there is someone else's here"), we spent time looking at the natural shapes of the branch, the net, the spiral, the wave and the scatter.

We looked at photographs that matched these (lightning, sunflower, earlobe, moving water and dandelion seed head) and I noticed how the freestyle diagrams of permaculture also followed these patterns. Even our suggestions on the flip chart looked as though the wind had blown through them.

The whole weekend was like a whirlwind immersion into natural shapes and forms and how they relate to one another in the living world. Gone were the rigid straight lines, squares and closed-in boxes that form modern industrialised culture. Instead a vision of a very different urban environment began to emerge. From our courtyard with its planned grass roof and nasturtium pillar to the incredible edible cities Graham talks about on his website .

Permaculture lies at the heart of Transition for this reason. We can't get into synch with the planet without engaging in its energies and forms. Its colours, textures, diversity. When we do that, we'll know we've made it down the mountain.

Patterns from the edge: painted stones and weathered ex-house bricks from beaches and cliffs of Suffolk 2009 by Mark Watson

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