BSC2009 – Permaculture – Jesse Lemieux

Jesse Lemieux, now living on Denman Island is a Permaculture educator who has been engaged in Permaculture principles around the globe. His presentation at the Building Sustainable Communities Conference was a primer on Permacultur, the reasons and means to make a difference in sustainable design of human settlemtn and the relationship to the environment and resources..

Permaculture is a set of Patterns for Sustainability

The background –

Peak Oil Impacts

  • 1 barrel of oil 25,000 man hours – 4 cents an hour of labour

  • 4 – 6% decline in oil production

  • The majority of people in the world will never have the opportunity of wasting energy in the way we have.

Climate Change and Peak Oil

  • It is the “destructive” use of fossil fuels which is depleting them and exacerbating climate change and pollution.

  • Internal combustion engine is only 25% efficient

  • Large-scale collapse of global ecosystem, fisheries, deforestation, urban sprawl.

  • Eco-systems and their services have been replaced by a finite and decreasing supply of fossil fuel energy.

  • Jesse mentioned Transition Towns as a great concept that accurately links the relationship between Climate Change and Peak Oil.

  • Possible Futures

    • Rapid Depletion

      – Collapse, Lean Economy

  • Slow Depletion

    • Techno-Markets

    • Burnouts

Business as Usual – Linear Model

  • Energy + Raw Materials ? Industrial Processing ? Consumers (how about Citizens?) ?

    Waste Streams =

    • Increased GHG

    • Pollution

    • Wasted Energy

    • Decreased Health

  • Chaos

    • Pollution is nothing more than energy that has not been put to productive use

      • Algae Blooms

    • Permaculture aims to put all the energy to productive use and reduce the bumps (highs and lows)

The Permaculture case – The Eco-System

  • Sun, Wind, Rain + Soil Mineral Resources ? Biological Interconnectedness ? Sink of CO2 & Mineral Leaching =

    • Carbon stored as biomass

    • Increased Diversity

    • Increased Organizational Complexity

    • Foirest Growth

    • Soil Building

    • Resources Increase

  • Every element must serve multiple functions, every function in our system must be achieved by multiple elements.

  • Redundancy

  • Resilience

  • Feedback loops

    • Predator / Prey Species relationship

How does Permaculture Approach Design?

  • We must define our values

  • It is not enough to sit back passively and observe what is going wrong

  • “What do we want?”

  • Integrated human habitats

    • Care for the earth

    • Care for people

    • Returns of surplus

    • Positivism and co-operation

  • Design Approach

    • in harmony with the local climate and landscape

    • use a multi-disciplinary bio-social approach

    • Assemble all components to form connections (energy production)

    • goal is to produce a self-managing design which builds soil ands grows forests.

    • Any bylaw is a deficiency in design

Practical Edge

  • Education

    • Empowerment and Enthusiasm

    • Intra courses in Langley

  • Community Development

    • Trading labour for a place to live

    • moving away from the linear system and into an ethical system.

  • Design

    • how do we take the money and resources we have and use them to the best of our resources.

    • Water is life, Life is Water

      • no matter what scale, water is the first point in design, (home through to city scale)

      • Access follows

      • Structures follow

    • Energy

      • 1st Elements that produce energy and resources

      • 2nd Elements that save energy

      • 3rd Elements that consume energy

      • Avoid Type 1 Errors (house on a ridge example – not water collection etc). Anything that requires a continuous input of energy over it’s lifetime is a type I error.

Establishment and Maintenance of Systems

  • on paper first

  • set priorities based on ethics and economic reality

  • locate and trade for components locally or cheaply

  • expand on information

  • information is only a resource if it is acted upon.

Through active and ethical approach we can be part of the change – the change required is massive, active groups and individuals making small scale changes.