Resilience Action Network

inspire and empower neighborhood activity that builds community resilience!

Permaculture and community resilience

Permaculture is a framework that guides interactions between people and between us and our environment.   It consists of three ethics and 12 principles.  When we integrate these ethics and principles into our daily lives, lifestyles, and the design of our built environments (our “human habitat”), it should lead us beyond sustainability into regenerative living.  For this reason, permaculture Principles and Ethics are important patterns or ingredients of community resilience.


(from Wikipedia’s entry)

  • Take Care of the Earth: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply. This is the first principle, because without a healthy earth, humans cannot flourish.
  • Take Care of the People: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence.
  • Share the Surplus: Healthy natural systems use outputs from each element to nourish others. We humans can do the same. By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles.



  1. Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.

More resources

Principles poster in english or spanish

Design flower in english or spanish

Essence of Permaculture book in english or spanish

See for more languages and resources


Permaculture (ethics, principles and design) is a big player in community resilience.  The permaculture movement officially originated in Australia and quickly spread worldwide.  It seems to resonate with a lot of people everywhere.  It resonates with me — I am a certified permaculture designer!

However, I believe permaculture is not the only solution we should consider when working to build community resilience.  What about our use of technology?   Emergency preparedness?   Transportation? Necessary changes in local, state, federal law and policy?

All of these pieces and more fit together to form a larger whole.  I think our efforts to build community resilience will be more successful for recognizing that the problems we face are diverse, the answers to each problem are many (some may be mutually exclusive, others can or need to coexist), and we need to recognize and value every effort to develop our capacity to adapt and thrive in the face of crisis!


About ozob

lifelong learner with interests in human ecology and evolution

One comment on “Permaculture and community resilience

  1. Pingback: Why Saueressen? EF Schumacher | Saueressen: farm-fresh fermented foods

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This entry was posted on August 17, 2012 by in General Info, Resources and tagged , , , , , .
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