Ecology – Permaculture: Valuable Resources, No Waste

Where in our lives do we consume nature’s resources?  Where in our lives do we allow nature to provide us with renewable resources?  These are the fifth and sixth principles of permaculture–principles which we can apply both to our interactions with the natural world and to our relationships:

Use and value renewable resources & services.

Produce no waste.

Every single thing that my yard and garden produce can be collected, when it’s dead, and put out for garbage, or burned, or gathered into the compost pile to produce next spring’s nature produced fertilizer for next year’s garden.  Some part of me instinctually thinks to gather up refuse and put it out for garbage, but another, more recent part of me is learning to catch sight of how things that ARE can continue to be gifts and treasures if I really see them.

As a teacher, through the years I have found students doodling and drawing pictures during class.  Is this a problem, a behavior to correct, or something naturally coming forth from a creative life?  Early in my career, I saw this as defiance and distraction from my classroom goals, but over the years I have come to see the artistic work of students in my class as a gift of their lives that we might enjoy and benefit from.  I have learned to ask artistic students to do their drawings as a part of what we do in class.  Nature often gives us gifts, if we have eyes to see them.

What things in our world do we routinely waste? What things in our world could we make better use of so that we don’t waste natural resources?  These principles of permaculture pertain to our interactions, both with the Earth and with our fellow beings on the Earth.

Bob Patrick


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