Should we be applying permaculture principles to our outdoor writing?

Over the last 12-months. I’ve been enjoying finding out more about the principles of permaculture. I’ve also been trying to apply them to my own life. Developed in the 1970s from a sustainable agriculture movement, permaculture offers an exciting incentive towards positive change.

Permaculture and work

Much of the discussion around permaculture is based on home-living ideals such as food production and energy consumption but it was designed to give a blueprint for a way of existing that embraced all aspects of life. Including work life.

This is why I’ve recently been thinking long and hard about whether or not I can apply permaculture principles to my enjoyment of my outdoor writing.

The 12 principles of permaculture all have ideals that relate well to outdoor writing but examining them in detail would make for a really long read. So I’ve focused instead on the three main concepts behind the permaculture way of thinking.


These alone have the potential to change our thinking in all aspects of our lives.


By putting our green spaces and the flora and fauna within them first, we will ensure their health and longevity. I’ve recently been asking myself these earth care questions:

  • How will my outdoor activity impact this space?
  • How will what I say or share impact this space?
  • How can I have a positive impact on this space?


There can be no doubt, being outdoors is good for people. In theory, being outdoors is also good for our outdoor spaces because it helps us be interested enough to care for them. My people care questions are long-standing but nonetheless important:

  • How can I help people enjoy being outdoors?
  • How can I help make sure people feel safe outdoors?
  • How can I encourage EARTH CARE outdoors?


This is where the brain-work becomes trickier. There is a  big disparity when it comes to access to green space. The reasons for this are many, and it is difficult to work out how, as an individual, I can help facilitate change. I’m still forming ideas on this one but at the moment my fair share questions look a bit like this:

  • How can I show that the outdoors is for everybody?
  • How can I consider availability for all when I write about the outdoors?

In my small urban garden applying the principles of permaculture can be hard work but the thinking behind it is relatively easy. Two years in I am seeing the benefits of my adjusted thought processes. I have healthier soil, happier insects, and hopefully more bountiful crops. Let’s hope the same will be said, in the years to come, of our outdoor spaces.

Desperately seeking wilderness. We outdoor writers have a responsibility.

The new travel writing – extreme lockdown locations


Leave a Reply