Design for a Sustainable Future
by Gary Krakka Dorn
In Zimbabwe there is a place called the Fambidzini Training Centre which is demonstrating and teaching the local
village people how to overcome the exasperating tragedy of drought. Their example and knowledge of a designing
systems which provides drinking water, home grown food - (both which are scarce), pleasant cool environments and a
hope for a better future, is leading the way to recovery.
In outback Queensland, where farmers are shooting their sheep, the thin topsoil is blowing or being washed away and
where food parcels are given out to exhausted hungry farmers, there is a small property which is ﬂourishing. It is like a
jungle with mangoes, paw paws, carob & oak, basil and tyme, comfrey and quava, bananas and potatoes, and within its
green canopy exists an organic passive solar house built from locally grown straw bales, all combined in an integrated
manner, demonstrating the abundance that can be produced when sensible designs are overlayed onto the land. Bill
Mollison’s, rich home paradise on this 5 acre property is an alien amongst the surrounding poor barren monocultural
These are just two examples of what people are associations in Perth and country areas, as well as
doing when the principles and ethics of designers, teachers, healers, nurseries, naturopaths,
Permaculture are utilised to rehabilitate the ecologists, botanists, farmers, small business
damaged land of this planet. owners, tradesmen, mums and students etc... These
people are linked by their training in permaculture
Permaculture Design is a solutions based process and their concern for the land and its children.
centred around the ethics of care of the land, care of
the people and sharing our surpluses, hence its is Permaculture is applicable to : our buildings - by
seen by many as the only positive advancement of making them more healthy & energy efﬁcient, energy
the human species, for without healthy soil their is production systems, small home gardens and
no healthy food, without the forests their is no properties, urban & rural subdivisions, country
rainwater (drinking water). These basic things need properties & small farms, broad acre farms, and
to be supplied to us on a sustainable way, bioregional water catchments.
Permaculture is design for a sustainable future.
The ﬁrst step for most is beginning at the back
Based on the concept of door. Doings things like
observing nature, particularly mulching your garden, and
the forest and jungles (our Permaculture and its practise planting fruit trees and
greatest teachers), the principles is to be very conservative. vegetables, doing a 10 day
learnt by Bill Mollison and his Permaculture Design course,
co-authors are now taught to changing your lighting to
thousands of people annually energy saver globes, putting in
around the world though their Permaculture rain water tanks to water your garden and reading
Design courses. books like- Introduction to Permaculture and Getting
Permaculture design integrates all the various Started in Permaculture which have great ideas on
elements - ( people, landscape, plants, animals, what you can do for yourself.
products ) in such a way that food, energy, shelter
and other material and non-material needs are met In effect Permaculture and its practise is to be very
in a sustainable way. conservative, that is; conserve your organic waste,
conserve your forests, conserve your water,
Permaculture in Western Australia is thriving. conserve your energy, conserve your time and
There is PAWA (Permaculture Association of WA) conserve your money.
the larger local association, smaller local
Permaculture and its advocates now cover the Permaculture Design solutions, the ideas and
globe. PAWA is hosting the next International principles which we use in designing integrated
Permaculture Conference IPC 6 and Designers systems.
Convergence, here in Perth in September/October
in 1996. With the central theme of “Designing for a Sustainable Ideas for our Common Future, - the
Sustainable Future” and it will feature experts on potential that we and our land hold if we take
Aquaculture systems, perennial garden agriculture, charge of our destinies. and
Straw bale constructions, Human Settlement
design, Alternative economic systems plus case Essential texts, references, local groups and
studies of some magniﬁcent work being done in people.-a ﬁeld guide to Permaculture knowledge
countries like Cambodia, Nepal, Vietnam, Lesotho, and places in Western Australia.
Uganda, Zimbabwe, India, Brazil, USA, Norway,
France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand plus many Finally if you wish some more immediate
others. information you could try the following:
Myself and other “Permies” are involved in general
planting trees, LETS systems, designing buildings Permaculture Association 417 2274 or
which conserve energy and are healthy to live in, Permaculture Information centres - Fremantle 430
growing organic healthy food, designing rural sub- 4535, Midland 274 4995
divisions and human settlements, revitalising
towns, ethical investments, and teaching. Designers
contact Permaculture Institute of WA.-
Getting involved has in interesting effect on your
health and wellbeing. Firstly; you begin to feel Nurseries -
more alive and conneced to the land, you become North Freo 430 4535-
healthier as you begin to avoid those things which Midland 274 4995
are detrimental to your health, you become
about the author
responsible as you learn how to untrap yourself
from the binding mortgage/work cycle which Gary Dorn is a Permaculture architect involved in
dominates our consumer lifestyles, and ﬁnally you design of intergrated building, energy and food
begin to become more knowledgeable. More systems: Organic Solar Architecture, Renewerable
knowledgeable about the ecology of life, land use Solar and Wind Power systems, & Perennial Garden
systems and health, which gives you more Agriculture.
inﬂuence and power over your own destiny.
A series of articles shall soon follow including
topics such as ;-
Permaculture home gardens, what they can be
like and how to create your own.
Permaculture buildings and energy systems, -
featuring low cost straw bale buildings and solar Bill Mollison is author of main Permaculture, texts
and wind power systems. i n c l u d i n g ; -
“Introduction to Permaculture”, “Permaculture- a
Small rural Permaculture properties, featuring D e s i g n e r s m a n u a l ” , &
examples of existing properties and the potential of “Book of fermentation and human nutrition” and
these intensive systems. videos:- “Global Gardener” & “In Grave Danger of
Permaculture broad acre farms, discussion some
big issues and long term agriculture on these lands. Ross & Jenny Mars are authors of “Getting Started in
Permaculture” - all of these are available from the
Forests as natural teachers, discussing the information centres
signiﬁcance of our forest to the landscape and how
we can create more.