Engineers and the Permaculture Principles

Discussion in 'General chat' started by Cypher, Feb 19, 2015.

  1. Cypher

    Cypher Junior Member

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    Hi everybody,
    My name is Ulysse and I'm a universitystudent in engineering in Canada. The more I take engineering courses the moreI realize that engineers have a lot to learn from the Permacultureprinciples in order to design systems and products that will berelevant in a low energy future threatened by climate change.However, when I speak to engineers about permaculture (or to anybodywho just vaguely heard this term), the first image that comes totheir mind is a hippie with flowers and butterflies. This needs tochange if we want this design science to spread.
    I thought that connecting thepermaculture world and the engineers' world would be a first step inthis direction.
    My idea would be to translatePermaculture principles and ethics into Engineers' words, to presentit in a way that allows them to understand, to accept it as ascience-based design technique.
    The ultimate goal would be to publishthis paper in an engineering journal to give it all the credits itdeserves.


    I'm now gathering information aboutwhat has already been done (because I'm of course not the first oneto have thought of that).
    I'm looking for keywords to orient myresearch, academic papers or experience. Do you know any?


    I'm also looking for engineers who tooka PDC, as they have for sure interesting insights that would be morethan helpful. Do you know any? Are you one?


    If you have any questions, please ask:-D


    Joy and Happiness,
    Ulysse
     
  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings Cypher and welcome!
    I worked at a large aerospace company for 31 years as a system test engineer (schooling was in manufacturing engineering). Engineering design work is done per customer "requirements" and system testing is done to verify/validate the delivered system does in fact meet those requirements. All well and good, right? Basic engineering design process is based upon physical, performance, and budgetary constraints .... i.e., the box. Bringing concepts such as ethics, society, and planetary perspective into the design process is most often frowned upon in the quest to meet the requirements and get paid. Most engineering is myopically oriented to design what the customer wants in order to extract money, then move on to the next job.
    Enter the Permaculture design process, where one begins by evaluating the energy flows through a system, energy entry and exit points, and how a system affects and is affected by adjacent (and global) systems. As I worked within the military industrial complex, I came to realize that our work was performed to further mankind's "conflict with nature". Permaculture teaches to design and operate "in concert with nature". So I "retired" as soon as possible and will spend the remainder of my life attempting to live in alignment with nature and the universe as best I can.
    If engineers adopted Permaculture design process, a great deal of existing engineering would come to a screeching halt while they changed course to design systems for cooperative life on a finite planet.
    Just my two cents!
     
  3. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    I know a place that teaches Permaculture, and teaches how to build using cob.

    https://www.cobcottage.com/

    Across town from me, excellent friendly people and Mountain Homestead (next door to them) is a planned Permaculture community filled with nice people as well.
     
  4. Cypher

    Cypher Junior Member

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    Thank you Bill for your insights! I have few more specific questions that I would like to ask you, but I did not find any way of Private Messaging you. Is there a way I could speak to you directly?
     
  5. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Sure: 9anda1f "at" gmail dot com
     
  6. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Susan Krumdieck in New Zealand set up the Global Association for Transition Engineers. Because of the overlaps between permaculture and the Transition movement they might be a good contact for you.

    https://transitionengineering.co.nz/


    This is a fantastic idea btw. Have you talked to permies locally?
     
  7. Ashlan Finn

    Ashlan Finn New Member

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    Thank you for your insight. What would you suggest of someone in a similar position of studying engineering with hopes of integrating permaculture principles?
     
  8. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Ashlan and welcome,
    In my humble opinion, if one holds the central truth of Permaculture near and dear, everything one does will be guided by that principle. After much research, exploration, and meditation, I have come to believe that Permaculture's central truth is exploring how humans might live on this planet in concert with nature. For dramatic effect, I like to use "in concert with the universe" which helps me keep my perspective. ;)
    For so much of what we humans do (especially in the "western" culture) is in direct conflict with nature ... I mean think about it. Name one thing in the US that's in concert with nature (Permaculture projects excluded). Even our environmentalists spray roundup, channelize creek beds, and attempt to impose their notion of wilderness on the landscape.
    So, to answer your question, if you can arrive at a similar personal definition of Permaculture or embrace the three ethics as guiding principles, it will manifest itself through your work (and life!) no matter what path you choose. Engineering is a set of design skills, a toolset. How you choose to use those tools will guide the path of your life. You are asking an extremely important question. Hope you will hang around and keep us apprised of your journey as it unfolds.
     

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