Permaculture as post-modern gardening has developed in the areas of landscaping and foresting. If we do the research as few permaculture evangelists has done, this new culture actually takes roots in horticulture. Why agriculture is here today is as anthropological question that needs our attention.
Sustainability and sustainable development
Sustainability refers to the actions that we take in our lives to survive and develop, and how long can we extend the resources for those actions. Sustainability is based on the development. The main concept of sustainability is the development behind the dynamic equilibrium. Sustainable development is one of the major goals that permaculture designer needs to accomplish.
The basic variable that sustainable development depends on is the time frame. How long an environment can provide conditions for survival having the natural resources available to nurture the generation of animals/humans and plants living in that environment.
If we take agriculture for example, we can see throughout history that agriculture after long time brings famine, more degenerative diseases, shorter lifespan compared to foragers, smaller stature and epidemics. Also the land needed for agricultural food production is big in scale, takes more resources and landscape. Unfortunately farming destroys functional ecosystems!
If we take horticulture we can see that the potential of nurturing plants for food can also build fertile ecosystems. It is more about gardening than farming. Also the tools used for horticulture are smaller and the land needed does not have to be big in scale. It encourages succession and helps ecosystems instead destroying them. The people working with horticulture have more leisure time and they are happier than the farmers.
Permaculture can make society to develop within nature! As Tomy Hemenway says about permaculture, it is succession from horticulture. The regenerative design practiced in permaculture is all about the least change for the greatest effect. No waste and no degradation of living systems. The permaculture principles favors local materials, local plants and food production using local environment. The major benefits from the energies flowing around us like the sun, solar and wind power we can capture and cultivate these energies to create even more energy. So permaculture is a stable way of taking care for nature and make human society integrated with natures principle and laws of creation.
Images from Wikipedia