Bill Mollison talks the talk and walks the walk

Bill Mollisons is the founding father of the design system called Permaculture
and a voice of sobering clarity.

Bill Mollison was born in 1928 and has been called the 'father of permaculture', an integrated system of design encompassing not only agriculture, horticulture, architecture and ecology but also money management, land access strategies and legal systems for businesses and communities. The aims to create systems that provide for their own needs, do not pollute and are sustainable. Conservation of soil, water and energy are central issues to permaculture, as are stability and diversity. Bill Mollison in 1978 founded The Permaculture Institute in Tasmania.

Mollison's two early books, Permaculture One: A Perennial Agriculture for Human Settlements (with David Holmgren, Transworld Publishers, 1978) and Permaculture Two; Practical Design for Town and Country in Permanent Agriculture (Tagari Publications, 1979) have sold over 100,000 copies and been translated into eight languages. Since then, he has published three books, Permaculture - A Designer's Manual (1988), Introduction to Permaculture (1991) and The Permaculture Book of Ferment and Human Nutrition (1993). His latest book is Travel in Dreams (1996). In addition, Mollison has written various articles and reports on permaculture for governments, educational and voluntary organisations and the general public.

The main focus of the Permaculture Institute is education. Since its inception in 1978, its certificated design courses have attracted more than 40,000 people, most of whom are now active in the practice or education of permaculture around the world. Independent permaculture institutes have been established in several countries and the movement is linked by biannual international conferences.

In addition to his work at the Institute, Mollison consults and educates extensively elsewhere in Australia and abroad. He has worked, for example, on village housing and planting design in Brazil; tropical polyculture systems in Hawaii, Fiji and the Seychelles, and design strategies for city farms in the UK and USA. He has developed a teaching manual in arid land techniques for the Australian Department of Education's Technical and Further Education Colleges and has advised on this topic in Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Brazil and the USA. The Permaculture Institute endeavours to spread its practical work internationally by training a core of local people in different countries and then assisting them with backup resources through a Trust in Aid Fund until they are self-sustaining.

In 1991, Mollison was elected in Kursk as a member of the Russian Academy of Agriculture Sciences, founded by the the former biogeographer Nikoli Ivanovich Vavilov. Bill is the only Australian to be honoured so.

Other initiatives of the Institute include the formation of an Earthbank Society, which holds seminars on ethical investment and publishes on alternative economic and financial strategies; and the initiation of a Tree Tithe Programme which voluntarily taxes the proceeds of all permaculture publications to invest in permanent tree-planting. So far the Programme has funded tree-planting groups in South and Central Australia, New South Wales, India, Nepal, Chile and Spain.

In 1994, a Permaculture Academy was established to enable graduates of permaculture courses to achieve tertiary qualifications in practical work. There are now few countries worldwide which do not have a permaculture group or association, and many countries have adopted permaculture as a sustainable land-use ethic.

About the Right Livelihood Award

The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 to honour and support those "offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today".

It has become widely known as the 'Alternative Nobel Prize' and there are now 133 Laureates from 57 countries.

"All my life we've been at war with nature. I just pray that we lose that war. There are no winners in that war..."

Bill Mollison

Permaculture Design with Bill Mollison (Part I)

Last month I had the privilege to speak with Bill Mollison, visionary and creator of the revolutionary and true reality-based design science of permaculture. The interview is published here, so that those of you who are new to permaculture can discover the history of its founder and the nature of the concepts embodied in his philosophy.

This is the first part in a two part series. Please listen and enjoy, and come back soon to hear part two.

The World According to Mollison (Permaculture Part II)
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

In the second part of our interview with Bill Mollison, Bill’s humor, wisdom, and philosophy are on display as he opines about Peak Oil, global warming, and the future of our planet. This one is not to be missed.

Bill Mollison (co-popularizer of permaculture ideas with David Holmgren) narrates a four part series exploring successful permaculture strategies in four different climatic contexts around the world.

1 - Tropics

2 - Dry

3 - Cool

4 - Urban

Further reading:

* Permaculture One: A Perennial Agriculture for Human Settlements (with David Holmgren, Trasworld Publishers, 1978) ISBN 978-0938240006
* Permaculture Two: Practical Design for Town and Country in Permanent Agriculture (Tagari Publications, 1979)
* Permaculture - A Designer's Manual (1988) ISBN 978-0908228010
* Introduction to Permaculture (1991, Revised 1997) ISBN 978-0908228089
* The Permaculture Book of Ferment and Human Nutrition (1993, Revised 1997) ISBN 978-0908228065
* Travels in Dreams: An Autobiography (1996) ISBN 978-0908228119
* The Permaculture Way: Practical Steps To Create A Self-Sustaining World, with Graham Bell (2005) ISBN 978-1856230285
* Smart Permaculture Design, with Jenny Allen (2006) ISBN 978-1877069178

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