Monday, May 11, 2015

Day 27: Permaculture

Today I've been thinking a lot about the Permaculture. It combines a lot of ideas that I am interested in: renewable energy, greywater and rainwater storage, soil regeneration and restoration, food forests, trees and garden design. Careful use of resources, respectful approach to life, and thoughtful planning. It provides for the needs of human beings, and other forms of life. Waste becomes resources, productivity increases, work is minimized, environment is restored.

Holy cow is that a paradigm shift.

I've been raised in a culture, a business culture, of resource extraction and efficiency. That science, rationality, and engineering will produce the best life humans can have. While that may be true, it seems mainstream science has actually stopped with principles developed during the industrial age. Efficiency, redesigned as the least amount of work, became the goal. Waste was discounted.

Now, though, I've come to a new business, with a new understanding of waste. In my new workplace, waste is defined as: Defects, Overproduction, Waiting, Non-Use of Capabilities, Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Extra Processing.

So, suddenly things like packaging, or manure, become resources, not waste. What can I do with extra cardboard or junk mail? Things like transportation and inventory become waste: Where do I store manure? What do I do with the cardboard?

It's interesting stuff. I can see in our current set up where much of what we do is work intensive and not sustainable. As we move into our new farm and location, we'll have to make some observations as to what's possible to make the most of the resources we have, to the greatest benefit of the creatures that live on our property.  Given that it's a forested area, with good drainage, we'll have some interesting opportunities.

Of course, one of the appealing things for me is the fact that the work is reduced by building relations into the systems.  We'll see how it turns out, and how closely I stick to it.

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