Permaculture: a Holistic Approach to Life

When we tell people we practise permaculture, we usually get some questions. The interesting thing is the type of questions we are asked. Usually, the person asking us has a plant or tree that has some sort of disease and we are asked what they can do about it. It is interesting how we are all so indoctrinated into thinking that someone who works with nature, plants, and animals should just know how to treat something that is diseased without doing any further research or knowing the circumstances…

We are so used to go to a doctor with our own ailments and being given a prescription for something or other which will “fix” the symptom, and we expect the same for our plants, trees, and animals. Holistic medicine is becoming more popular these days, and people are starting to understand that they have to research and look at the cause behind the symptom. However, even some holistic medicine practitioners still seem to think that there should be a blanket cure for symptoms of disease in plants or animals (or soil, or other non-human life…) This attitude is one of the reasons our planet is in such a mess.

As with the human system, other natural systems also suffer under stress. This stress can be caused by lots of different factors, as in humans. We as permaculturalists are holistic practitioners, and we need to look at improving the natural environment for all elements in a system, thus improving the health of each individual element. It takes time to truly understand how to look at everything holistically, as we have been brought up in a culture of band aid solutions to everything. We also want results overnight and we tend to forget that nature works in a different time to humans. The human life span is only around 70-80 years if we are lucky. Trees can grow for hundreds or thousands of years… For nature to produce fossil fuel took millions of years! Quick fixes always have a cost, and the cost gets higher and higher every time we take a short cut.

We have to understand that we need to fix the foundation before we can build more. And this will not happen overnight, and maybe even not in our lifetime! We have to understand that EVERY action has a reaction. And usually, that reaction is bigger than we can even imagine and will ever know. We need to climb out of the box and start seeing life and its elements in a holistic, interactive and integrated swirl of patterns that it is. Bandaids are obsolete, we need to move towards an age of holistic practitioners and thinkers, who can see how everything is connected.

So next time, if you have a plant or tree that is diseased, study its environment; soil, water, its companions, its position and all other factors and elements that may cause it stress. Improve its health by targeting any stressful factors and keep observing. Permaculture is observing nature. Observing nature is a holistic practice. It involves time and patience. And it is a continual learning process.

Zaia Kendall grew up in a family of musicians in Holland and has a background in top sport and web development and design. She co-founded the PRI Luganville and PRI Sunshine Coast Inc with Tom Kendall, and runs all the background stuff, like finances, business administration, website design, and maintenance, writes articles, records and edits videos and also organises the cooking and the kitchen on site. She has been researching and studying nutrition and health for 20+ years, has a certificate in Nutrition and continues to study by research, reading and daily observation. She is a certified member of the International Institute of Complementary Therapists and is a holistic food, health and lifestyle coach. She is also an active member of several musical projects and bands, involved in community music and runs occasional percussion workshops

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One thought on “Permaculture: a Holistic Approach to Life

  1. I am a Venetian born in Africa and I have grown up between the African continent and Italy observing both culture European and African and mainly the nature in Africa as I’m deeply atached to my birth country BURUNDI and shortly after Zambia. I like studied my anthropology of a Venetken descendent but African born and with 53 years of life to discover how everything it’s so wonderfully connected to territory and genes even on us human’s. To make an example I never got seek of any African disease while growing to 16 years old in Africa and once brought to Padova started getting sick of all type of flies and parasite which my body was not immune and after a period of 7 years returned to Zambia and got sick of Malaria Bilarzia and all parasite in the region because in the mean time my immunity had got used to another weather and region. It’s all like you said. It’s a perfect balance that exist in all species related to the environment and everything it’s connected to one another. You would probably want to ask me what Venetken descendent got to do with all these. Probably nothing but the fact that I’m so attached to earth , mother earth, and the fact that they believed in goddess and that they have discovered a teenager birdied with an horse in an old burial site may look like my ancestor had a very deep dualism with nature a dualism that I have myself felt trough my all life and that as riconducted to me reading you and understanding all too perfectly well and agreeing entirely with the truth you are talking about and the process not only in understanding that human’s will have to go through but also and mainly the fight against this human ipocricy. I am quite happy to have read you because I sometime feel so lonely talking about the same things you mentioned though I did not have a name to categorize them but all together the same. Best regards

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