Charlotte Ashwanden (nee Haworth)

Charlotte Ashwanden (nee Haworth)
I got my Permaculture Design Certificate in 2011, from Treeyo at Permaship in Bulgaria, and since then have been traveling the world learning about and practicing permaculture. Born in London, I’ve lived in a number of places in England, Spain, the Basque Country, and Italy. My mum lives in Leipzig (Germany) so I’ve spent some time there. In 2015 I got married in a pagan ceremony in a field to David Ashwanden and changed my surname to Ashwanden. A professional dancer, I do fire and hula dance and have recently become interested in dance meditation. Currently, I live in Thailand in a Forest Buddhism community school, so you can expect lots of tropical permaculture related articles in future.

Why Are Banana Circles Important? What Are The Benefits?

Banana circles are a popular and fairly easy-to-make addition to any tropical permaculture system. As there is already a lot appropriate literature out there on how to make banana circles I will not focus on the practicalities in this article (see for example 1, 2, 3). But why exactly are they so important? Can they be integrated into any system? And what are the benefits? Read on to explore these […]

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Mental Permaculture, Part 3: Energy Flows

Permaculture: a set of design tools, a way of creating gardens, of perceiving connections, of gaining insights into our environment. But can it also be rebellious? Co-founder of permaculture Bill Mollison once remarked about a book review describing Permaculture Two (1) as “seditious”,

“If you’re a simple person today, and want to live simply, that is awfully seditious. And to advise people to live simply is more seditious still.” (2)

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Corporations Seeking More Power than Governments: Ideas for working with power-flow

Last month a report (1) was published by five international rights groups analysing the possible side effects of a new free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (2), currently being negotiated among 16 Asian and Pacific states. The main concern of the report is that the agreement would put into law the ISDS, or Investor-State Dispute Settlement, essentially giving multi-national corporations the right not to adhere to national legislation […]

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Manuka Honey’s Healing Power: Exclusive Property or One of Many?

Manuka honey is well-known for its health benefits (see for example 1).Though famous as a product from New Zealand, the results of recent studies (2) show that the Australian variety is just as potent as its New Zealand cousin. But how does this affect the global honey market? And is it even appropriate, from a permaculture perspective, to place such importance on ‘manuka’ as oppose to other honeys? What is […]

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Virtual Reality to Help Us Make Mistakes: Smart Failure and How it Relates to Permaculture

Many people have spoken or written about the importance of thinking that reflects the changing world around us; “Everything you’ve learned in school as “obvious” becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe,” (1) as R. Buckminster Fuller put it. The universe is constantly changing, so it doesn’t make sense for us to learn “obvious” answers because every situation we find is uniquely different. Permaculture as […]

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Mini-Documentary Trio: Forest Gardening, Edible Landscapes and Urban Permaculture

Three unfortunately not great picture-quality but information-packed UK ‘mini-documentaries’ by Iota. First, an introduction to temperate permaculture pioneer Robert Hart (1913 – 2000), one of whose “guiding principles” is given as Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of “democratically organised, self-sustaining communities”. Next, a visit to The Field in Cornwall, where plant database Plants for a Future founder Ken Fern introduces his work. Finally, an interview with Mike and Julia Guerra, who grow almost a fifth of their food in their city back garden. “Nature is the biggest teacher”, says Mike.

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Permaculture: Green Gold

John D Liu tells how “it’s possible to rehabilitate large-scale ecosystems”. In 1995 he filmed the Loess Plateau in China where “local people transformed an area almost the size of The Netherlands from a …desert into a large green oasis” and since then has been involved in “greening deserts” around the world. The film begins with world problems but if you get past this the solutions are imaginative and inspirational: from re-introducing “thought to be extinct” species in Jordan to reforestation and rehydration in Ethiopia. Featuring Geoff Lawton.

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Permaculture: A Quiet Revolution

Film from 8th International Permaculture Convergence (IPC8) (1) which was held in four permaculture communities across Brazil in 2008. Featuring Rosemary Morrow, the film focuses on how the participants were “preparing for, and mitigating, our looming global crisis”. Still very much relevant now as it gives a useful introduction to each of the four sites used to host the IPC8 and some of their features, as well as a short […]

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Permaculture, Ethics and Diversity: Can Permaculture Ethics Help with the Evolution of Human Culture?

Using permaculture as a tool can be hugely beneficial for people to create practical ways of improving their immediate environment. Many have suggested that such a tool only works if we use the lens of permaculture to first create our own empowerment from within (see for example 1). This view can be seen indeed as underpinning much of permaculture thinking, for example, with the three permaculture ethics of “Earthcare, Peoplecare […]

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Language and Permaculture, Part 2: Practical Ideas for How We Use Terminology

In the first part of this article I explored a few of the key terms associated with permaculture and how becoming conscious of their meaning and implication can help us empower permaculture as a tool, even more than it may be already.  In this part I look at some practical ways we can apply these terminological changes, and some examples of organisations or projects who are putting them into action. […]

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Language and Permaculture, Part 1: Why we need to focus on Terminology to take Permaculture to the next level.

One of the most universally applicable attractions of permaculture is that it is a practical set of design tools, based on directly observable effects and which can be used to create physical solutions to problems in the world. Indeed, co-conceptualiser of permaculture Bill Mollison famously pointed out that one of the reasons permaculture is so useful is that it involves actually applying what you are saying to what you are […]

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Shou Sugi Ban: How to Preserve Wood Using Fire

Modern building practices often use designs and materials which cause destruction or detriment to the surrounding ecosystem and utilize resources which may be cheap to buy but are expensive to the Earth (see for example 1). Luckily for the Earth, a myriad of projects out there are following the “use and value renewable resources and services” principle with building materials and techniques. One common natural resource to use is wood, […]

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