The following Principles are those first identified and defined by David Holmgren in his book “Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability.” My own adaptation follows each as to how I feel these Principles may be applied to our lives and business practices. Bill Mollison has offered another list of design principles that I’ve interwoven into these for the purpose of keeping this essay succinct.
The exciting thing about these principles is that they are tools that we can use to think deeper into any aspect of our life or business. Contemplation of these Principles can lead one to discover new and exciting options for living a more sustainable life, more efficient business, and a more integral contribution to community and humanity’s chances for survival.
Observe and Interact
“By taking the time to engage with nature, we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.”
Making solution-based decisions, of any sort, requires that we can first accurately identify the present situation, influencing elements, and the desired outcome. This may sound simple, but it’s something that is commonly overlooked. We often make decisions based on impulse, idealism, and habits, and short-sighted projections. Societal tendencies to rush things, to implement ideas out of context, or just do things the way it’s always been done, have contributed to some of our most unfortunate tragedies.
Here are a few suggestions for how you can begin to observe & interact with your life in a more contemplative manner:
- Whenever possible, avoid the tendency to be “in a hurry” and make decisions from this state! The feeling is often based on a habitual response pattern, born of our cultural drive toward “progress.” Activating from this place, very often, proves to be a less productive approach. When we’re faced with making an important decision and don’t know what to do, this Principle teaches us to step back, breathe, open our mind, wait, and contemplate. Asking others’ advice is always useful, even if it’s just to have someone there as a ”sounding-board.” If possible, give it time to revisit the topic over a several day or week period to gather more perspective and insight.
- Take the time to get to know your neighbors, co-workers, employees, customers, and children. How well do you really know them? How well have you allowed them to know you? These are the people that bring value and meaning to our lives. Contrary to modern-day practices, our greatest chance to live happily, connected, and productive lives require that we make time to put down our phones, close our computers, and ask meaningful questions to those who are meaningful to us.
- Study emotional intelligence and consider it as a skill worth developing. It can prove highly useful when you want to more clearly understand what you’re really seeing, communicate effectively, and interact efficiently.
The Eco-Ethusiasts' Guide To Efficient Living
This is Part 3 of a 15 part series pulled from the Permaculture Lifestyles ebook with over 100 tips for how someone might apply the permaculture principles to their life for greater efficiency, impact, and happiness. Click the link below to download the whole book.