Coping with the Complexity of Permaculture Design

photo courtesy: versionz

I was cleaning out my inbox and in doing so, I ran into this post from Dave Pollard at How to Save the World .  In his March 9, 2010 post, Dave writes about a seven step process for coping with complexity. These steps could apply to how one would begin to tackle such issues as climate change, peak oil or any other complex societal problem. They could also apply to how one would begin to create a permaculture design.

The steps he identifies are: sense, self-control, understand, question, imagine, offer and collaborate.

Dave summarizes them this way:

Sense: Observe, listen, pay attention, open up your senses, perceive everything that has a bearing on the issue at hand. Connect.
Self-control: Don’t prejudge or jump to conclusions. Don’t lose your cool. Focus. Breathe.
Understand: Make sure you have the facts and appreciate the context. Things are the way they are for a reason. Know what that reason is. Sympathize.
Question: Ask, don’t tell. Challenge. Think critically.
Imagine: Picture, hear, feel what could be. Be visionary. Every problem is an opportunity. Anything is possible.
Offer: Consider. Give something away. Create options, new avenues to explore. Suggest possibilities. Lend a hand. Help.
Collaborate: Create something together. Evolve  collective approaches that are better than any set of individual approaches. Learn to yield, to build on, to bridge, to adapt your thinking.

Read more here.

I’m not sure whether Dave has a background in permaculture. I know he is familiar with Transition Towns which use permaculture principles as core guidelines.

Dave’s first four steps seem to be a further refinement of Permaculture Principle no. 1,  Observe.  It helps me to break this one step down into these four parts.

The remaining steps relate to the planning and design process.

This blog is definitely keeping an open mind, resting at the observe, question and understand stage for now. As we begin to build up a baseline of observations, together we’ll move on to imagine, offer and collaborate.

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