“The ecologically-destructive path we are on is as if all of humanity is in a giant car heading towards a brick wall at 100 miles per hour. Everyone in it is arguing about where to sit. Permaculturalists are some of the only ones who know how to put on the brakes and turn the wheel
Dr David Suzuki - award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster
Nick Rittar is a leader in the Australian Permaculture movement and an activist and educator for urban food production. According to Nick, who along with his wife and son have a Permaculture farm located in the Central West of NSW, the definition of Permaculture is: A goal to create a permanent culture. Their code of ethics and core principles are:
- Care for the Earth
- Care for each other
- Accept limits on our consumption and population
In this lecture Nick Rittar focuses on the westernised lifestyle and how it has nonsensically urbanised without the inclusion of food production planning and moved far away from a sustainable system. He asks ‘what is a city?’ to which he answers: A huge vacuum sucking resources from its environment every now and then dumping its waste into the ocean.
As discussed on his website (http://milkwood.net/about/) permaculture seeks to create sustainable systems in which to live our lives in terms of food production, waste and a future for our families. A case better explained by Nick himself:
“We all aspire to live in a state that offers everyday comfort, good things to eat, beautiful surroundings, well designed infrastructure, meaningful livelihoods and a future for our families. Preferably not at the expense of others, and definitely in a way that doesn’t damage our planet.
Permaculture is a design system that aims to provide an effective, holistic framework for designing systems really, really well. So well that those systems produce no waste, re-cycle all available energy and treat every output as an input.”
Two things in this lecture had the greatest impact on our group’s work in approaching our final submission. The first point was Nick’s comparison of garden space people would need to sustain themselves versus the amount of space conventional agriculture requires to feed our cities and urbanised areas.
5 square metres of garden in peoples yard (home gardens) offsets 1500 square metres of conventional agriculture.
The second point was his challenge (aimed at industrial designers) to design a medium scale toilet composting system, which produces compost to help grow the food in a sustainable way ‘ treating every output as an input’.
These points inspired our group to include community gardens with a sustainable systems approach (and educational purpose) as well as composting toilets in our final submission presentation for the Sydney Water site in Guildford