The permaculture-behaviour change connection

By Livvy Drake

Wow, I have just completed an amazing two-week intensive Permaculture Association  Permaculture Design Course in Southern Spain, which included 72 hours of classroom theory (luckily the classroom was outside sometimes).

Permaculture (Permanent Agriculture) is inspired by the study of nature and indigenous tribes and is an approach to living and working with nature on the land, and in society and can be applied to all aspects of life.

The 12 principles are: 

The 3 ethics are Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share

The above obviously have a lot of synergy with my sustainability work, but I wasn’t expecting the connections with my behaviour change work. 

Zones make it easy

Permaculture Design is often applied to designing a farm, self-sufficient lifestyle or garden. The land is designed into zones with Zone 0 being the house, so zone 1 is where you put the herbs, salad garden, social spaces and compost toilets. Thus removing the FRICTION to access and making things EASY (101 in behaviour change theory).

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Stacking functions

As in nature, Permaculture Design looks for synergy and to make things multi-functional by stacking, e.g. using the heat from compost to heat greenhouses in winter or chicken tractors which clear the weeds and manure as their pen is moved around. This reminded me of the behaviour change of BUNDLING behaviours together.

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Achieving rare’s actions

In my workshops, I regularly share the @Rare 30 behaviour change actions that could remove 1/3rd of greenhouse gases. 40% of this is dedicated to agricultural practices, which I can now proudly say I have an idea on how to implement, following the course.

There is so much more I learned about on the course, which can solve our waste and carbon problems using natural solutions e.g. biochar, micro-organisms and mushrooms. 

Where can you apply the principles of permaculture to your work? 

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