Permaculture Principle 12 – Creatively Use & Respond To Change

As the saying goes ‘the only thing we can be certain of is change’ and when it comes to any system that will ring true. Change is an opportunity to grow and more often than not change creates opportunities for new things. We cannot always control change but how we think about it is something we can control. For example, without a caterpillar, we will never have a beautiful butterfly. The butterfly goes through many changes before it floats past us on a beautiful summer day. What would happen if the caterpillar was afraid of change? There would be no next generation of butterflies. Looking at change from a Permaculture point of view we believe that in most instances the problem is the solution. For instance, say you and your family grow and eat a lot of vegetables thus creating a lot of vegetable scraps or waste (the problem). The simple solution would be to simply throw your vegetable scraps in the bin, which creates an additional problem at our waste dumps. But a creative solution would be to create compost (the solution) which can be used in the vegetable patch again or feed your composting worms (the solution) which in turn gives you castings and worm juice which can be used to nourish the soil in which you grow your vegetables. One way of dealing with change would be to use Permaculture principle 1, that of observe and interact. Allow the change to take you on a journey of discovering solutions. When we moved to our Farm we build a very basic chicken coop for our chooks. It was not long before a Goanna started making the rounds. Observing the Goanna we soon realised a simple bit of corrugated iron around the pen would suffice to keep the Goanna out as they are unable to climb up on the slippery tin. We were just settling into our farm life when the carpet pythons appeared. The first knee jerk reaction was to have the snakes relocated but that soon gave rise to a mice and rat problem on the farm. So lesson 1, understand your preditors. Lesson 2 was to understand the relationship between all things. Thus a creative solution would be to snake-proof the pen so that the snakes can remain to predate on the mice and rats. Change is constant and happens all around us; change of seasons, rain patterns etc. The answer to it all is, plan for what you can predict and seek creative solutions for the other unforeseen changes and use change to your advantage by reframing the way you look at change, see it as an opportunity, not an inconvenience.

Mel Marx | Secretary | Permaculture Teacher & Designer

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