Tag Archives: Permaculture







1)  Observe & Interact – creatively interact with people and the planet

The 1st step is to observe and collect information on our time and place, given the spread of a very infectious but not that lethal virus.

What is happening, and what are the direct impacts of this coronavirus on people, government policy and businesses.  Given the rapid (hard and fast) roll out of a ‘suppression’ lockdown approach, how are people responding, how effective and well thought out is the government response as we go through this lockdown? What is happening at a local community level, and where are there gaps in information and support?

What are the initial reactions and how diverse are they? How can we personally improve our access to information?

2)  Recognise Patterns & Pulses – the patterns of natural processes and their pulse dynamic

The 2nd step is to use pattern recognition to provide a wholistic overview and an understanding of the particular system dynamics of this virus/lockdown bio-social ecosystem.

What can we foresee about the longer term implications of this  ‘suppression’ lockdown approach and how people, governments and businesses are going to respond as the lockdown continues?  (A ‘mitigation’ community empowerment approach would be very different in actions and consequences)

What are the likely longer term consequences, especially those that are not been recognised or thought about by governments or the financial/corporate elite?  (From what we can tell.)

What are some likely changes in the patterns of responses?

Continue reading COVID-19 RESPONSES


This article was written about our actions in Christchurch after the damaging earthquakes, as a voluntary response, to bring information we had about compost toilets to people who were unable to use their flush toilets because of the damage to the centralised city sewer system.
It may well be useful to you if you find yourself in the same circumstance!






There have been many responses to the earthquakes in Christchurch from people outside the region.  A network of people interested in a permaculture response to emergencies was initiated following discussions at the annual permaculture hui in Raglan during April last year.  Within 6 months, the first large earthquake affected the Christchurch area.

Following the devastation of the February earthquake, there was an informal and personal response by some members of the permaculture emergency response network to demonstrate an emergency use compost toilet to local communities most affected by the loss of the city sewer system.  A simple bucket method was developed, which was easy to use with locally available materials, and contained the human manure until it was well composted.  Simple, contained, hygienic and recycling our ‘wastes’ as beneficial resources.  A website was also set up: www.composttoilets.co.nz to provide and share information.

There was major damage to infrastructure services in Christchurch, with the sewer system in particular suffering major and very extensive damage.  There was not going to be a quick return to normality, and ‘flushing it away’ could be to your own garden or to the street or nearby waterway.

An emergency kit includes stored water and food, among a range of personal items, but when we take stuff in, other stuff comes out.  Toilet paper and a bucket is about as far as most preparedness advice goes for our most basic ‘call of nature’.  So what do you do when the municipal sewer system is busted apart, and the ‘flush out of sight’ no longer works?  This has been the case in many parts of Christchurch for over six months now.

Over time, requests from local communities resulted in a series of workshops on emergency compost toilets, with increasing interest from people (and the media).  Recently, there has been some real interest from local authorities and organisations.

These workshops have been organised and undertaken by the following members of the emergency response network (in no particular order):  James Bellamy, Lisa Johnston, Matt King, Gary Williams and Felicity Yellin.  They have been supported directly and indirectly by many other people, not least their families and friends.

From this experience, the workshop approach and content has been refined, and is now being taken to other communities around New Zealand, starting with Whangarei and Wellington.  The workshop includes a practical hands-on demonstration of the emergency compost toilets.

The permaculture emergency response network now has a project on its books, and the start of a track record.  This project was undertaken on a voluntary basis by everyone involved, as neighbourly assistance where a real need was evident and we could provide a realistic and practical option.  The direct travel expenses have now, though, been covered by a generous donation from the members of the permaculture movement, through its coordinating council.