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Saturday, August 08, 2015

Use and value renewable resources and services

Here is one of twelve collages on The Permaculture Principles and how they might be applied, especially in the maritime Pacific Northwest. Concepts from David Holmgren's Essence of Permaculture.


"Use and value renewable resources and services"

My first thought when contemplating this principle was the adage: "reduce, renew, reuse, repurpose, recycle." And you do see some of that here: at 2. the harvest/forage bag has been made from a conference tote bag by snipping the handles at one end and sewing them to each other to make a shoulder strap, while at 3. the compost bins are made from pallets and the mailbox is repurposed as a rain-proof hand tool bin.

But it also means to let the earth gift you with things you may use and then return to the earth.

1. Perennials give and grow back, just as trees offer fruit and nuts and then offer them again.

2. Annuals provide fruit and veg but also seed, so that they may come again.

3. "Wastes" become compost gold. Water goes onto the soil, then out to the sea, becomes clouds, returns as rain and snow.

4. Our straw comes from local wheat farmers, and the following year comes from local wheat farmers again. The trellises are made from shoots from hazel, maple, ash, knotweed, and even Oregon grape, all growing on the premises, and renewing from the land cyclically. "Services," indeed. As these become soil and become food for us and the other creatures here, we make some small return via the composting potty and the kitchen "waste" bucket.

There's really no such thing as waste -- the continental plates will subduct all. What there is is spoilage -- making the things you have used into things that are (in the nearer term than geologic processes) harmful or unusable for others.

On a grand scale, the Pacific Garbage Patch would be an example of such spoilage, or the Love Canal, or whatever has been touched by the Tar Sands or nuclear industries. Closer to home, lead paint, Roundup usage, or motoring to the store with a V-8 to buy cigarettes, say. 

Watch what happens to the stream of gifts from the Earth you sample. Where do the beanpoles go? The apple cores? The old fence boards? 

Respect the cycle.


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