“It’s a wonderful, readable book”

Permaculture Pioneers: stories from the new frontier

Permaculture Pioneers: Stories From the New Frontier

A review of Permaculture Pioneers by Diane Reynolds appeared on Green Energy Times.

This collection of 25 stories of those involved, in different ways, in the “extraordinary design system for sustainability known as permaculture” covers a range of perspectives – old/young, male/female, from very different backgrounds and locations.

Edited by Kerry Dawborn & Caroline Smith
Review by Diane Reynolds, Green Energy Times

A treasure trove of permaculture lore, this book is brought to you in an extremely engaging format … lots of baby memoirs — memoirettes — of permaculture practitioners.

Permaculture is the comprehensive term for living sustainability on the planet with principles rooted in ecology and social justice. It’s a pretty snappy phrase: care of earth, care of people, share the surplus. Or, in popular form, Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share.

The dedication says it all. “We dedicate this book to those with spirit and courage, past, present and future, who show us that a sustainable and just world is within our power. We simply have to choose it and make it happen.”

Royalties from book sales are donated to the Permaculture Pioneers Fund, supporting permaculture-related environmental and social justice projects and initiatives around the world.

A “child of Australia”, permaculture was conceived and developed in the small state of Tasmania in the early 1970’s by co-originators Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Since then it has spread to 160 countries.

“Thru their deep understanding of natural ecosystems, traditional small-scale mixed agriculture, low-impact technology and social justice into an interconnected dynamic system of design principles for creating self-sustaining human settlements” writes Smith.

Mollison moved it horizontal and Holmgren did the vertical work. It was the ”larger-than-life personality” of Mollison that made permaculture known the world over. It was Holmgren and others who have tested and practiced it in many ways, shapes and forms.

Adherents, “permies”, come in all stripes: some rigidly dogmatic and others more loosely flexible. The movement has been most successful on the local, small level – but what’s needed, say the editors, is larger systemic change. One contributor, Geoff Lawton, wrote “Think Big” about his experiences working for systemic changes around the world.

This collection of 25 stories of those involved, in different ways, in the “extraordinary design system for sustainability known as permaculture” covers a range of perspectives – old/young, male/female, from very different backgrounds and locations.

Each story is a motherlode of riches … a packed blend of memoir, technical specifics from their experience with permaculture applications with accompanying successes and mistakes as well as some history of the movement.

The reader is pulled into Max’s or Rosemary’s life or the lives of the Bookmans. Not only do they tell you something about themselves — who they are, how they became connected to the earth, and then connected to permaculture (always interesting how people wake up to a new paradigm). And then they describe their first tentative steps or, in some cases, being so disgusted with the status quo, their whopping huge plunges, into creating sustainable living environments for themselves and others.

It’s a wonderful, readable book. Perfect for a gift. And buying it supports permaculture initiatives around the world.

Available for purchase here.

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