Maddy Harland definitely shows that if we truly care for the environment, it should reflect in our initiative. Her advocacy on building a sustainable world only demonstrates her selfless act of educating and spreading awareness to people. Congratulations Maddy!
Maddy Harland is the editor and co-founder of Permaculture magazine. Maddy co-founded Permanent Publications in 1990, a publishing company, and the Sustainability Centre in Hampshire, UK, once a military base and now a thriving immersive learning centre. She is a founding member of Gaia Education who developed the Ecovillage Design Education course endorsed by UNESCO.
Maddy Harland is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Visiting Knowledge Exchange Fellow of the Institute of Theological Partnerships at the University of Winchester in the UK, and a member of the Ecosystem Restoration Foundation Advisory Council. She is the author of Fertile Edges: Regenerating Land, Culture and Hope.
As an advocate for sustainability and green living, how do you spread awareness to your audience? And how does it affect your role as a founder?
We publish printed and digital magazines and books, produce YouTube videos, and have made 3 BBCtv films, run 3 websites, and have an expansive presence on social media via Permaculture magazine. My role as a founder is to walk my talk in my private as well as my public life as a practitioner of permaculture, a gardener, mother, author, Trustee of the Sustainability Centre in Hampshire, UK, and with my other advisory roles to charities.
How have you used situations of personal chaos to strengthen your resolve as a founder?
If you have a strong vision no matter what the obstacles are, you simply have to get through crisis and endure them. Nothing is more important than the well-being of our beautiful planet and all its species.
Are there any ethical concerns that your organisation must deal with? How do you overcome these ethical problems?
We try and resource our goods and services as locally as possible and minimise our carbon footprint. We do this by printing as locally as possible to our supply chain (in the UK). Our procurement policies for things like internet services are equally strict. And our offices are run on 100% renewable energy, much of it generated onsite here at The Sustainability Centre.
Can you tell us more about the three ethics of permaculture? How do you see and interpret them, and how do you put them into practice?
Permaculture is primarily a thinking tool for designing low carbon, highly productive systems. The discipline of permaculture design is based on observing what makes natural systems endure; establishing simple yet effective principles, and using them to mirror nature in whatever we choose to design. This can be gardens, farms, buildings, woodlands, communities, businesses, even towns and cities. Permaculture is essentially about creating beneficial relationships between individual elements and making sure energy is captured in, rather than lost from, a system. Its application is only as limited as our imaginations.
The three ethics are: Earth Care, People Care and Fair Shares. They are not exclusive to permaculture and were derived from the commonalities of many worldviews and beliefs. They are therefore shared by many throughout the world. What permaculture does is it makes them explicit within a design process; removing them from the realms of philosophy and practically rooting them in everybody’s lives. This transforms thinking into doing. It is their combined presence within a design that has a radical capacity for ecological and social transformation.
What advice would you have for anyone looking to start their own initiative?
Be very clear about your vision. Assess your existing resources. Be realistic about limitations. Have a detailed plan. Work incredibly hard to put it into action.
About Permanent Publications
Established in 1990, Permanent Publications publish inspiring, practical information that encourages people to live more healthy, self-reliant and ecologically sound ways of life. They produce the world’s most innovative range of permaculture books, including titles which instruct on: sustainability, practical solutions for the home, garden & community, education, politics, economy, woodlands, food and cooking, and people. They also publish Permaculture, a print and digital magazine read worldwide.