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Permaculture is an ethical design science.
Geoff Lawton

Today I, Paul Wheaton, sat down with Geoff Lawton to discuss all things permaculture in the 195th edition of my podcast. We spent 90 minutes on topics ranging from the issues of being a leader and having detractors to aquifers under the Sahara.

Geoff will be a special guest on the permies.com forums where you can ask him all your detailed, complex questions and get detailed, complex answers in return. Four lucky permies.com members will receive a free edition of his Food Forests DVD.

But most importantly, Geoff says I am right that plants do exchange loads of nitrogen with the soil while they are still alive as Geoff has a meta-review of the review that Helen Atthowe and I did of his Food Forests DVD. He also says Helen was right, but you should focus on the fact that I was right!

Geoff then goes on to share his wisdom about all things permaculture including:

  • Using the word ‘permaculture’ without taking a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course.
  • How permaculture is an inclusive design of all elements, not an exclusive design.
  • The importance of self-sustaining fun and how whether we are having fun or not can inform our design.
  • Being a spiky pioneer plant and trying to transition to a more peaceful, sophisticated understory plant in the shade of the next-generation canopy.
  • Non-native plants, our global food party and our need for a global system of connection.
  • The advantages of temperate climates.
  • Permaculture as facilitation of creative events in nature on the right side of chaos and agriculture as excess energy on the wrong side of chaos.

Being Geoff Lawton, he wasn’t done there. Geoff talked about the evolution of the chicken tractor and using the chickens in succession in a food forest, possible new DVDs, permaculture projects all across North Africa and the Middle East, and stacking time in functions. Submit your ideas for his next DVD here. And tune in for a special secret gift for permies.com members. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out more.

Click play to hear the interview!

Interview with Geoff Lawton

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Paul Wheaton is the administrator of the forums at permies.com and richsoil.com. He is kicking off his Symphonies in Seed and Soil Tour throughout the Western United States on August 16 in Woodinville, WA.

4 Responses to “90 Minutes with Geoff Lawton (Podcast)”

  1. A

    What the hell is Wheaton talking about (around the 25 minute mark) with people using ethics to say something is not permaculture? Who ever is doing that, where ever he sees it is just douchey and should be ignored.

    Reply
  2. Kevin Thien

    Paul wheaton seems to forget what permaculture is about. Building functional swales isn’t permaculture if the purpose of these swales doesn’t endeavor to a system that falls within the ethics, for permaculture isn’t about techniques, but the design of sustainable human habitats, that enables people to pursue a PERMAnent CULTURE. Permaculture minus the ethics, minus the holistic approach, is just a bunch of techniques that may seem sustainable on the short term … but won’t be in the long run. For instance, the reason you are able to read this blog is because someone else couldn’t … someone else had to work in a sweatshop to build your computer or the hardware of your internet provider… because someone had to be expropriated so that you enjoy the cheap electricity, … etc, etc…. it is therefore illusionary to pretend selfishly to pursue a permanent culture / a permaculture lifestyle if you ignore one of the 3 ethics : earth care, people care… fair share/return.

    Reply
  3. Kevin Thien

    As brought forward by Paul wheaton in this interview, many people seem to forget what permaculture is about. Building functional swales isn’t “permaculture” if the purpose of these swales doesn’t endeavor to building a system that falls within the ethics, for permaculture isn’t about techniques, but the design of sustainable human habitats, enabling people to pursue a PERMAnent CULTURE. Permaculture minus the ethics, minus the holistic approach, is just a bunch of techniques that may seem sustainable on the short term … but won’t be in the long run. It is therefore delusional to pretend selfishly to pursue a permanent culture / a permaculture lifestyle if one ignores any one of the 3 ethics : earth care, people care, fair share/return. Failing to acknowledge them would one way or the other, in the shorter or longer term, get back to you (picture a boomerang). As Geoff reiterates : “Permaculture is an ethical design science”.

    Reply

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