Permaculture Principle #12: Creatively use and respond to change in your permaculture designs

Change can be fun and exciting! A new city, a new school, a new job – the possibilities for fun and adventure are endless. In permaculture, we learn that change is inevitable, and if we learn to go with the flow not fight against it, our permaculture designs will be much more fluid and resilient.

Change can be hard. And when things go differently than we expected them to, it can throw us for a loop. But we can learn to treasure these changes as learning experiences – and we might be amazed by what we learn, and how adaptable we can be.

One of the changes that we need to learn to respond creatively to is the weather. The weather forecasters do their best to give us advance notice of the weather conditions coming up next week, but they’re not always right, are they?

I won’t get into the whole climate change issue right now; but the climate is going to throw a wrench into the works quite often, and we need to learn how to respond to it, and use it to our advantage – or at least salvage things the best we can. And the same goes for all the other changes life throws our way.

  • Having an unusually rainy and sunless summer? Plant short season, cool weather vegetables.
  • Not a lot of rain or snow last winter and spring? Plant more drought tolerant varieties.
  • Is the neighbor’s tree starting to shade out parts of your garden? Plant that area with shade loving plants.
  • Does your water supply sometimes dry up, or are there watering restrictions in the summer? Setting up a variety of creative ways to collect and store water will keep you going if one of them dries up.
  • What if you were to lose power for an extended period? Are you prepared to adapt to that change? Will you be able to cook, keep warm, and maintain the essentials?
  • So your washing machine broke down. What do you do? People washed clothes for a very long time without washing machines.
  • Did your partner up and leave? Don’t even get me started on how creatively you can react to that particular change. But maybe you can think of it as making room for better things to come.

The one thing that I find gets in the way of being able to creatively use and respond to change is freaking out. Freaking out will get you nowhere, and fast. Honestly. Absolutely nowhere.

Your brain can’t think logically or creatively if you’re freaking out. So, once you’re done swearing or crying or yelling – or whatever it is you do to get it all out – it’s time to get it together and take action. Take deep breaths, give yourself a pep talk, and use that smart noggin of yours to work out a creative answer to your new situation.

Sometimes change is just amazing. Maybe you have to move somewhere else for some reason, but you discover that the climate is WAY better, or the soil is much better for gardening than where you used to came from. Awesome.

Or maybe you or a family member experiences a health problem, and gardening is put on hold for a while. This situation could spur you on to creating a more resilient garden – or even better, a food forest! – and the next time you have something happen that keeps you out of the garden, you can be hopeful that you will still get a harvest.

If we incorporate enough diversity into our permaculture designs, they will be much more resilient. And a resilient system is a stable system, which is what we’re working toward.

Change happens. But the repercussions it has on our lives depend largely on how we react to it. If we can creatively use and respond to change, our lives really can be so much more pleasant.

Health, Hope & Happiness


One Reply to “Permaculture Principle #12: Creatively use and respond to change in your permaculture designs”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *