More on Bill Mollison (was RE: More Green Party)

From: altamira (
Date: Fri Jun 30 2000 - 22:08:28 MDT

"I grew up in a small village in Tasmania. Everything that we needed we
made. We made our own boots, our own metal works; we caught fish, grew food,
made bread. I didn't know anybody who lived there who had only one job, or
even anything that you could define as a job. Everybody worked at several

Until I was about 28, I lived in a sort of dream. I spent most of my time in
the bush or on the sea. I fished, I hunted for my living. It wasn't until
the 1950s that I noticed large parts of the system in which I lived were
disappearing. Fish stocks started to collapse. Seaweed around the shorelines
had thinned out. Large patches of the forest began to die. I hadn't realized
until then that I had become very fond of them, that I was in love with my

After many years as a scientist with the Wildlife Survey and the Tasmanian
Inland Fisheries Department, I began to protest against the political and
industrial systems I saw were killing us and the world around us. But I soon
decided that it was no good persisting with opposition that in the end
achieved nothing. I withdrew from society for two years; I did not want to
oppose anything ever again and waste my time. I wanted to come back only
with something positive, something that would allow us all to exist without
the wholesale collapse of biological systems.

In 1968, I began teaching at the University of Tasmania, and in 1974, David
Holmgren and I jointly evolved a framework for a sustainable agricultural
system based on a multi-crop of perennial trees, shrubs, herbs (vegetables
and weeds), fungi, and root systems, for which I coined the word
"permaculture". We spent a lot of time working out the principles of
permaculture and building a species-rich garden. This culminated in the
publication of the Permaculture books.

Public reaction to permaculture was mixed. The professional community was
outraged, because we were combining architecture with biology, agriculture
with forestry, and forestry with animal husbandry, so that almost everybody
who considered themselves to be a specialist felt a bit offended. But the
popular response was very different. Many people had been thinking along the
same lines. They were dissatisfied with agriculture as it is now practised,
and were looking towards more natural, ecological systems.

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