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What is permaculture, and what can it do?

Permaculture can save the world!

Yes, really! How? Watch the FREE VIDEOS below to find out… these are 15+ of my favorite permaculture videos. I also have provided links to some excellent books here, which are especially informative if you are just learning (heck, I’m still learning!).

Permaculture is a design science.

Permaculture might not save civilization, says permaculturist Toby Hemenway (author of The Permaculture City), but the system of permaculture absolutely has the potential to save the earth, the environment, and our future on this planet because it is a holistic system based on being in tune with nature, rather than working against it.The principles include an ethic of caring for the earth, caring for people, and returning the surplus. Not a philosophy of taking and using and abusing by unsustainable means (hence, the toxic environment and wasting of natural resources and diminishing food value due to monocrops and corporate monopolies), but instead a philosophy of generosity and fair share, giving back to the earth and its people. It’s rather beautifully simple, really.

Forgive me for standing on my soapbox for just a minute, but on a side note, as far as people and civilization go, it is my opinion that only a spiritual upgrade within the hearts of human beings can change people in their innermost core, which ultimately affects our outer world–a spiritual system that is in tune with the highest ideals of unity between all peoples, all religions, promotes global peace, promotion of higher education and equality between the sexes, the independent investigation of truth (personal responsibility for one’s spiritual growth), financial equality and prosperity, harmony between science and religion, a universal/auxiliary language so all peoples can communicate effectively (not giving up their native tongues or traditions), and other similar concepts, is also one that would have an actual PLAN to bring this kind of future civilization about. The ONLY existing religion I know of with this lofty ability and plan and vision is the Baha’i faith, founded by Baha’u’llah. There are officially over 5 million Baha’is in the world (about 7.5m unofficially, perhaps). There are Bahai’s in literally every country in the world. The Baha’i faith is also the most diverse (people and culture wise) religion in the world, so it is easy to see why “unity in diversity” is a common theme. Interestingly, like this article shows, the Baha’i Economic System Starts with the Farmer. ‘Nuf said. Back to permaculture!

These permaculture videos below should keep you busy for a while!

I’m going to show you some free videos on permaculture in a certain order, on purpose, because if you are new to permaculture you need to see what permaculture can actually do. With global climate change and rising temperatures and sea levels in our midst, the problem of forest fires, more severe storms, higher temperatures and drought conditions, the problem of desertification (see this TED video) is a real issue for many areas around the world now, and will be paramount in future decades. Permaculture can reverse this, and planting more trees and food forests are only part of the bigger picture.

This is also about regenerating the lands. This allows for crops to have higher yields without chemical pesticides, herbicides, using 1/10th the water, and does not require tilling the soil (yes, you heard that right). Food security relies on water security first, and with fracking and aquifers diminishing, fresh water and outmoded agricultural methods are going out fast, and will soon cause a crisis in the nations using these unsustainable practices.The next war of significance will be about water, not oil.

Therefore, please see–what I call “inspirational”–videos by Geoff Lawton first because they are short and give you an idea of what permaculture can do in the worst of situations… the hottest deserts… the most harsh environments. I have land in the desert of El Paso, Texas and plan to “green the desert” through permaculture methods as time goes by.

GEOFF LAWTON – Inspiration

1: “Greening the Desert” – by Geoff Lawton (YouTube – Geoff Lawton is a permaculture expert that taught with a founder of permaculture, Bill Mollison)

2. Geoff Lawton’s website – “Property Purchase Checklist” (this shows how swales are made to catch water, and covers some of how permaculture design works for water security and ultimately food security – I LOVE this video!)

3. Short but interesting 3-min video of “How to find water in the desert” (helps us know where to buy land)

4. “Designing 5 acres on a budget” (this helped me understand swales and ponds and dams more efficiently)

5. “Reversing desertification with gabions” (small gabions help slow the flow of fast-running water, and then that water can also go into swales)

6. “Regreening the urban streetscape” (the ‘cutting curbs’ aspect is something promoted by Brad Lancaster in his books on Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands)

7. “Check dams in the desert” (good to use in desert arroyos)

8. “An oasis in the USA desert” (this is the potential, even when completely left unattended!)

9. “From desert to oasis in 4 years” (here is a good example of what can be done)


10. “Fukuoka gets better soil with no-till” (5-min video – Larry Korn explains how he met Fukuoka in Japan)

11. “One Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka (Japanese man who inspired much of permaculture’s techniques to let nature guide the way… his motto was “do nothing” farming–this is great if you are lazy like me! haha).

12. “Natural Farming with Masanobu Fukuoka” 

13. You can take a FREE online permaculture course at (we really love Larry Korn (author of the One-Straw Revolutionary) and his discussions about Fukuoka, and I learned so much about life in the soil and why we should not till from Larry Korn!).

Please note that the University of Oregon also (as of this writing) offers a FREE introductory course in permaculture here:

BILL MOLLISON & DAVID HOLMGREN – Co-Founders of Permaculture

14. “David Holmgren on permaculture and reading landscape” (16-min video, but there’s lots more on YouTube)

15. “01 The Journey Begins” – Bill Mollison (These are longer… 1 to 1.5 hrs each, with Mollison and Geoff Lawton in the early days. But it’s a whole set of videos (starting with this one) where you can learn about permaculture from the experts.) NOTE: Once you click on the link you can go to part 2, 3, etc. from there (there’s 40 videos in all!).  –
NOTE: if this link is defunct just do a search on Youtube for similar videos (I will try to update this when I can)

There’s lots more permaculture videos online… TONS of stuff… but this is a good start and could keep you busy for days or weeks, if not months!

Facebook Permaculture Groups

Join the permaculture community!  There are many Facebook groups to learn more about and from the permaculture community. Many permaculture teachers also teach PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate) courses for not only learning permaculture design, but also for getting certification in it so you can teach it too.

Most permaculturists learned permaculture directly from the late Bill Mollison or his book (and/or students who have moved on to teach), and many permaculture teachers teach his methods (see Mollison’s book Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual), specifically. This is the real deal. I am thrilled that I got my PDC in 2016!

If you are on Facebook and want to connect with like-minded folks, then there are groups available to join (public and private). Just go on Facebook and do a search in the search box for permaculture in the “groups” area and you’ll find them… there are tons of groups and lots of people who can answer questions!

Enjoy learning about permaculture!


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