This month we’re kicking off our Monthly Permaculture Principle series. Each month we’ll introduce a permaculture principle and highlight examples of it. We encourage folks to join in, seeking out and sharing examples of permaculture design principles in action.
To start with, what are permaculture principles? Briefly, they are design principles, used in the continuous and evolving process of designing one’s landscape and lifestyle.
“Continuous and evolving” is a key phrase for this month’s permaculture principle:
4 – Apply self-regulation and respond to feedback
A go-to location for permaculture principle explanations and examples is PermaculturePrinciples.com:
We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
The icon of the whole earth is the largest scale example we have of a self regulating ‘organism’ which is subject to feedback controls, like global warming. The proverb “the sins of the fathers are visited unto the children of the seventh generation” reminds us that negative feedback is often slow to emerge.
And a thoughtful bit about reflecting backward and forward in self-regulating:
I always thought the Native American idea “think of seven generations” meant to think ahead seven generations into the future. But I have been shown that it also means thinking back to our own great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, and ourselves, as well as forward to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.In a garden, it means behaving as though we are part of a continuum, starting with an appreciation of the harvest of the land stewards of the previous generations, and planting perennials and enriching the soil so that years later our future grandchildren can continue to enjoy and reap the harvest of our labors. Responding to feedback can also mean remediating our own mistakes or those of our predecessors. This may mean replanting unproductive areas of the garden, or improving soil that has been impoverished.
What examples of self-regulation and responding to feedback have you found in your own or your peers’ work designing landscapes, lifestyles, and other systems? Please share in the comments, and pass this principle on to others!