Consider the yellow jacket (the actual insect, not our mascot). What purpose does this pest have in our ecosystem (other than to viciously attack when disturbed)? Yellow jackets serve an important purpose by helping to control the pest population. The importance of every living creature, no matter how small, is at the heart of permaculture—the development of agricultural ecosystems that are intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.
An ecosystem cannot be sustainable and self-sufficient without all of the players working together—you grow and others grow, you eat and others eat. As Brandy Hall from Shades of Green Permaculture shared at the July Sustainably Flourishing Series, a guiding question in creating permaculture systems is, “how does nature handle this?” Permaculture theories look to how nature takes care of problems—waste, energy, water—and creates sustainable systems within that framework of thinking. Nature without human intervention is self-sufficient. As people become involved with permaculture solutions, they are healing environments.
The self-sufficiency of a permaculture ecosystem is witnessed by the presence of onsite water collection and the generation of energy through renewable sources such as the sun or wind. Georgia Tech already has renewable energy sources and cisterns that collect rain water. Permaculture will be vividly present at our future Living Building. The Living Building will transform an asphalt parking lot to a building that will create more energy than it needs through sustainable methods, and will collect all the water that falls on the area. There will be pollinator friendly plants and nothing that harms the environment will be on site.
Be sure to be on the lookout for more information about the Living Building. Visit here or here if you are interested in learning more about permaculture, including ways to incorporate permaculture into your home. The next Sustainably Flourishing series meeting will be Thursday, August 17 on Canning. Click here for more information and to register. Sign-up for our newsletter and follow us on social media to stay informed about all happenings of the Office of Campus Sustainability.