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Become A Permaculture Designer

What Permaculture Designers are doing is the most important activity that any group is doing on the planet.”

David Suzuki, Geneticist, writer, international environmental researcher

Over the past 40 years or so, Permaculture Design has evolved and challenged all sectors, especially including conventional higher education. Mainstream conformity to conventional educational structures has failed to recognize the values offered by multi-disciplinary and ecologically-oriented disciplines such as Permaculture Design.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
― Buckminster Fuller

In taking the lead from Buckminster Fuller, an alternative and better solution to sustainability and environmental education were created in the form of the decentralized discipline of Permaculture Design. The founder of the design science, Bill Mollison, often said: “The Problem is the Solution”.

Conventional/mainstream academia prefer a reductionist approach to nearly everything. This is evident to any student attending a conventional university. Different disciplines are taught in what is referred to as “institutional silos”. Those trained in Economics rarely interact with those training in Sociology. Business students do not cross-pollinate their studies with Law or Natural Resources. Fields of study that incorporate knowledge and experience from several academic disciplines are traditionally not offered through college and university systems because of historical notions placing value on theory and specialization.

Professionals working in the field will always prefer hands-on experience and knowledge that comes from weaving together related disciplines. The historical university educational model is currently being turned on its head by necessity – we need inter-disciplinary thinking in order to address the systemic problems we are experiencing.

Intentionally operating outside of this "institutional silo" model of specialized academic training, an independent global movement of practitioners has taken up the work of integrating knowledge from many related disciplines to supply solutions to real-world problems on the ground.

This movement includes not only current and former academics, but also highly-skilled researchers and teachers from various disciplines, including farmers, gardeners, ecologists, builders, foresters, homesteaders, and people from all walks of life.

Permaculture Designers adopt “design thinking” and "systems thinking" to design solutions to improve agricultural systems, mitigate the effects of drought, regenerate degraded landscapes, design and protect properties, incorporate renewable energy systems, create sustainable land-based livelihoods, support communities, and establish integrated local economic and social structures.

In the wake of natural disasters, Permaculture Designers have mobilized to offer solutions that can both prevent and mitigate such disasters in the future. However, because Permaculture Designers are trained outside of the conventional college and university systems, their solutions are not always given the merit and attention they deserve. This is very unfortunate, because Permaculture Designers bring with them the knowledge, experience, and proven models from working in the most challenging environments across the globe. The knowledge and experience they bring to the table are far more valuable to humanity today than any theories being discussed and debated in conventional colleges and universities.

The development of Permaculture International College:

Permaculture Europe focussed its attention on improving education with a series of conferences in 2012-2015. One outcome of such was the idea of a Europe-wide College. This was ignited and morphed to become international or global for all the world over to engage in. Permaculture International College, PIC, was born.

What is a college in this context? It is the coming together of interested and like minds to stimulate the evolution of topics. To share and develop any stream that fits into the wider domains of Permaculture Design. It is not an authority, but a stimulus. At its core, it recognizes the need to uphold and increase the standards of delivery of every facet of Permaculture. This need has been recognized through witnessing the collapse of standards worldwide in all activities of Permaculture - especially in education, which in itself affects every other activity.

The Permaculture International College (PIC) was formally launched as a charitable trust by three experienced Permaculture teachers and consultants: Steve Hart, Steve Cran, and Alan Enzo. Each of these key founders having diverse experiences and interests in many of the fields and disciplines within Permaculture.

The College is open to all teachers and anyone with an interest in Permaculture at any level. PIC offers educational courses and opportunities through a project called the International Permaculture Education Centre, at PermacultureEducation.org. This site is not proprietary and is open to all teachers and consultants worldwide to list themselves in the global directory, and to promote their own projects, courses, workshops, and events.

Permaculture International College has developed higher education in Permaculture Design with accredited Master’s and Doctorate degrees, in addition to the internationally-recognized Permaculture Design Certificate Course and Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design.

PIC has awarded its first Honorary Doctorate for intellectual and academic excellence in the field of Biodynamics to Glen Robert Atkinson (www.bdmax.co.nz, and www.garudabd.org). Glen is recognized as the leading Biodynamic scientist in the world today. Although Mollison referred to Biodynamics as “fairies in the bottom of the garden”, the discipline has become recognized as a vital cog in the whole ecological domain which Permaculture weaves together.

It is time for the profession of Permaculture Design to be recognized for the common-sense design solutions it offers, all of which are directly applicable to the natural and societal challenges we see in the world today.

Glen Robert Atkinson

Pioneer in Biodynamics, Crop Management, and Plant Nutrition, and author of several books on these subjects.

Recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from Permaculture International College.

Glen’s websites: https://www.bdmax.co.nz and
www.garudabd.org

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