separates us from the resources on which we depend for survival. Only by reconnecting
ourselves with our local resources can we move towards a sustainable society.
Local Solutions to Global Problems
The Earth is enormously varied. Physical, biological and cultural conditions are never the
same from one place to another. What is appropriate to one country is not necessarily ap-
propriate to another. The principles of permaculture design are broad principles, not de-
tailed prescriptions. They can only be used in combination with deep local knowledge, and
the results will look very different from place to place.
By contrast, the conventional approach is to do away with traditional, local ways of do-
ing things and replace them with a single, global culture. Applied to agriculture, this has
been called the Green Revolution and in the short term it has greatly increased yields. But
it is dependent on high fossil fuel inputs, causes pollution and is destructive of both the
Earth's natural systems and human societies. It cannot be sustained.
The essence of permaculture is to work with what is already there: firstly to preserve
what is best, secondly to enhance existing systems, and lastly to introduce new elements.
This is a low-energy approach, making minimum changes for maximum effect, and has the
least destructive impact on both natural and human communities. It applies on every scale.
Not only will solutions be different from country to country, but from one locality to the
next, even from one garden to the next. Subtle differences of microclimate, soil and veget-
ation are taken into account, and so are the differences between the needs, preferences and
lifestyles of different gardeners and their families.