Bill Mollison, A World Class Environmental Visionary, Has Died

We invite you to add your thoughts as a comment this post.

Joint press release from the Permaculture Association and Permaculture Magazine

bill_mollison_0111
Australian educator, author and co-inventor of Permaculture, Bruce Charles ‘Bill’ Mollison, died on the 24 September 2016 in Sisters Creek, Tasmania, and has been praised across the world for his visionary work.

Born 1928 in the Bass Strait fishing village of Stanley, Tasmania, Bill’s life story included backwoodsman, academic, storyteller, lady’s man, and to many just ‘Uncle Bill’, doing all these things par excellence. Bill was co-founder, with David Holmgren, of the permaculture movement – a worldwide network of remarkable resilience, with organisations now operating in 126 countries and projects in at least 140, inspiring individuals and communities to take initiatives in fields as diverse as food production, building design, community economics and community development.

Bill left much useful information and numerous words of guidance and encouragement for those who will miss him most: “The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”

Growing up in Stanley, Tasmania he left school at fifteen to help run the family bakery and before 26 went through the occupations of shark fisherman and seaman (bringing vessels from post-war disposals to southern ports), forester, mill-worker, trapper, snarer, tractor-driver and naturalist. His lack of formal education gave him many learning opportunities in how the real world works.

Bill joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO, Wildlife Survey Section) in 1954 and gained extensive research knowledge. His time in the Tasmanian rainforests gave him the founding structure for what became his life’s passion, Permaculture. The idea that we could consciously design sustainable systems which enabled human beings to live within their means and for all wildlife to flourish with us.

A spell at the Tasmanian Museum in curatorial duties, a return to field work with the Inland Fisheries Commission took him back to college in 1966 living on his wits running cattle, security bouncing at dances, shark fishing, and teaching part-time at an exclusive girls’ school. Upon receiving his degree in bio-geography, he was appointed to the University of Tasmania where he later developed the unit of Environmental Psychology. During his university period (which lasted for 10 years), Bill independently researched and published a three-volume treatise on the history and genealogies of the descendants of the Tasmanian aborigines.

In 1974, he with David Holmgren developed the beginning of the permaculture concept, leading to the publication of Permaculture One. He became fixated on proving and promulgating what he saw as a world renewing concept. Leaving the University in 1978, abandoning a secure academic tenure at the age of fifty (an unheard of move) Bill devoted all his energies to furthering the system of permaculture and spreading the idea and principles worldwide.

He founded the Permaculture Institute in 1978, his ideas influencing hundreds of thousands students worldwide. As a prolific teacher, Bill taught thousands of students directly, and contributed to many articles, curricula, reports, and recommendations for farm projects, urban clusters and local government bodies.

In 1981, he received the Right Livelihood Award (sometimes called the “Alternative Nobel Prize”) for his work in environmental design. In recent years, he has established a “Trust in Aid” fund to enable permaculture teachers to reach groups in need, particularly in the poorer parts of the world, with the aim of leaving a core of teachers locally to continue appropriate educational work.

Of all the accolades he received, however, the one he was most proud of was the Vavilov Medal, in large part due to the tenacity, courage, and contributions of the award’s namesake, who Bill considered a personal hero. Bill was also the first foreigner invited and admitted to the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Bill came to the UK in the early 80s, visiting city farms and early permaculture projects, teaching courses and visiting the newly formed Permaculture Association. His charismatic style drew large audiences and led to a flurry of new projects and programmes.

We are helped in remembering Bill by his 1996 autobiography Travels in Dreams. Typically he laughs at himself: “This book is a work of fiction: most if not all of it is lies. Even the lies are imprecise reports of old lies overheard.” He wasn’t universally liked. One reason being he was committed to disrupt the status quo of misguided and unfeeling management. “First feel fear, then get angry. Then go with your life into the fight.” He was eloquent about the need for peaceful ‘warriors’, as he called them, to challenge the stupidity of ill-governance on a global scale. Despite, or perhaps because, he was an iconoclast, he engendered a global respect which will endure and grow as others develop his foundation thinking.

He authored a number of books on the permaculture design system, the best known being The Permaculture Designers’ Manual, published in 1988, and often cited as his most outstanding work. Bill collected solutions and his Permaculture Book of Ferment and Human Nutrition, is an outstanding compendium of traditional food storage systems from across the world. Few could match his intellectual vigour or ability to recount stories that thrilled and taught deeper lessons about our relationship with each other and nature.

Bill asked : “Are we the public or the private person?” The truth of the matter is that for all seasons we are both. Perceived as challenging, a huge harvester of great ideas from around the world (and not always crediting their sources), Bill was also a sensitive man, eloquent raconteur, poet and appreciative of the poetry of others. He knew how to provoke others to action, but also when to withdraw and let others carry on the work. He paraphrased Lao Tzu: “True change is to so change things that it seems natural to everybody but no-one knows who thought of it.” And: “Our best will not be our children’s best.”

Bill returned to his Tasmanian homeland to spend his final years at Sisters Creek on the Bass Strait coast.

Bill’s legacy is that hundreds of thousands of past students have created a worldwide network to take his concept forwards. In a world in which we are acutely aware of our environment, its capacity and limitations, permaculture design offers a systemic approach to meeting human needs which respect those limitations and provide strategies to actively repair ecosystems. The effect of Bill’s legacy will only grow as the world recognises the urgent need to work together on environmental solutions.

Permaculture Design Course Bolsena (IT)

Facilitated by John Button, Francesca Simonetti and Marguerite Kahrl, mentoring by Rosemary Morrow with guests presenters for specific themes.

Course convener, Accademia Italiana di Permacultura Held as an edge event to the European Permaculture Convergence (EUPC), Bolsena, Italy

August 22nd to September 4th, 2016

Continue reading

The EuPC 2014 family, more than 300 participants from all corners of Europe and beyond

EuPC 2014, Batak, Bulgaria

The European Permaculture Convergence (abrv. EuPC) is a bi-annual gathering of Permaculture practitioners, teachers and enthusiasts representing the all countries and bioregions of the European continent and beyond. The decision to host the EuPC 2014 in Bulgaria was made following a meeting of the European Permaculture Teacher’s Partnership (EPT) in Vale de Llama, Portugal. The Partnership was a EU-funded initiative that brought together educators within this emerging field to set standards for the implementation of Permaculture education throughout the continent. It included representatives from more than a dozen countries. The first meeting of the EPT was held immediately after the EuPC 2012, which took place in Escherode, Germany. Since the project was part of a two-year funding cycle, it only made sense that that the final meeting should be held right before the EuPC 2014. Leading up to the decision, both the EPT and the Permaculture Council of Europe realized that the event had never been held in an Eastern European country, so the decision for it to take place in Bulgaria was rather obvious. Continue reading

update on the IPC 12 :: London

By Ryan Sandford-Blackburn, Strategic Communications Coordinator, Permaculture Association Britain

So far we have 82 people coming from across Europe (Germany, Sweden, Slovenia, Ireland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Hungary and Portugal)!

We have the Conference programme online and are really pleased and excited! www.ipcuk.events/conference/programme
There will be over 130 presenters from around the world, in 28 sessions; the session range is intended to bring out the full range of permaculture applications. Continue reading

EuPC13 :: Italy 2016

LOGO-EUPC-bold_webSave the date: 7th to 11th September 2016

EUROPEAN CONVERGENCE EUPC 2016

Location: Bolsena (VT, Italy), Bolsena lake.

Organiser: Accademia italiana di permacultura organizes and designs all this.

Side events: Probably we consider the possibility to do also a PDC course before the EUPC and in parallel or just after a TEACHERS Training Course. Continue reading

Principles and Structure – Draft

The proposed Principles and Structures of the EuPN contain details of the following aspects:

Three principles:

  1. Self-government / sovereignty
  2. Free agreements
  3. Transparency

Structure, Governance and Decision-making

  • Purpose, Organisational design principle and Structure (Working groups, Country representatives)
  • Governance
  • Decision-making (within working groups, at the European Permaculture Convergence)

Invitation to the IPC12 in London

International Permaculture Convergence, London 2015

IPCUK will bring together leading experts and practitioners from around the world.

We have everything we need to create a sustainable world and future. Together we will create a vision of a near future society that is caring, sustainable and fair, and explore how we can collectively design strategies and pathways to make it happen.

Conference, 8-9 September 2015, The Light, Euston Road, London.
Designing the World We Want – two days packed with presentations, workshops, academic papers, exhibitions, music, and art.

Convergence, 10-16 September 2015, Gilwell Park, Essex.
Designing the network we want – for people from around the world using permaculture in their everyday lives and communities.

Edge events, throughout the UK and Europe.
From tours and courses, to talks and more.

Book now for early bird tickets.

Continue reading

Invitation to the European Permaculture Convergence 2014

eupc diagram

We invite you to the European Permaculture Convergence 2014 in Bulgaria this summer! — an event designed for the cross-pollination of transition networks throughout our diverse and abundant continent.

5 fun-filled days of learning, laughing and laying in the sun — enjoying the fruits of our labor to date and discussing the future of permaculture in Europe. This convergence immediately follows the final meeting of the European Permaculture Teacher’s Partnership, an initiative to better spread permaculture education throughout Europe. Continue reading

IPC 11 :: Sponsorships needed

Sponsorships needed for International Delegates for International Permaculture Congress (IPC)

11 November to 6 December 2013 To be held in Cuba – www.ipc11cuba.com

Screen shot 2013-08-15 at 12.09.41Dear friends of permaculture and sustainable living, We need your help in raising funds to assist people in low income countries in learning what Cuba has achieved.

Have you heard about Cuba and what happened there in the late 20th century? If you don’t remember, check out this video: “The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak OilContinue reading

IPC11 :: Cuba – November/December 2013

The IPC11 Cuba Organizing Group

The 11th International Permaculture Conference & Convergence (IPC11), Cuba (Nov/Dec 2013)

Community Projects, Conferences, Courses/Workshops, Presentations/Demonstrations, Social Gatherings

Cuba, that started using Permaculture in 1993, brought in solidarity by Australian activists, has been accumulating experience and our Permaculture movement has integrated efforts with other important groups in the country, like Agroecology, urban agriculture, traditional knowledge rescue and others. This is also all within the framework of an environmental policy that puts priority on conservation and reforestation, promoting development with low energy use and low greenhouse gas emissions, and a dignified form of life for Cubans based on universal access to basic services like health, sports, culture, education and healthy food. Continue reading