Permaculture is a design philosophy and set of principles that focuses on creating sustainable and self-sufficient systems that mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature. One of the key ideas in permaculture is the concept of capital. This is the resources and assets that we have at our disposal to support and sustain our lives and communities.
In this article we will explore the 8 forms of capital and how they relate to permaculture.
The first form of capital in permaculture is financial capital, which is the money we have available to invest in our permaculture systems and projects.
Financial capital allows us to purchase land, tools, materials, and other resources that we need to establish and maintain our permaculture systems. It also allows us to pay for professional services and support, such as consulting, design, and education.
The second form of capital in permaculture is human capital, which is the knowledge, skills, and experience that people bring to their projects and communities.
Human capital is what allows us to design, implement, and manage our permaculture systems, and it’s what makes us valuable to other permaculture practitioners. Investing in our own human capital – through education, training, and hands-on experience – can help us become more effective and successful permaculture practitioners.
The third form of capital in permaculture is social capital, which is the networks and relationships that we have with other people who are interested in permaculture.
Social capital can be informal, like the connections we make with other permaculture practitioners at local events and workshops. Also, it can be formal, like the relationships we have with permaculture organisations and groups. Social capital is what allows us to access resources, information, and support that we might not otherwise have access to.
The fourth form of capital in permaculture is cultural capital. This is the shared values, beliefs, and norms that shape our behaviour and guide our decisions in the context of permaculture.
Cultural capital is what defines permaculture communities and gives us a sense of belonging and connection. It’s also what allows us to understand and communicate with other permaculture practitioners, and it helps us navigate the complexities of sustainable design and implementation.
The fifth form of capital in permaculture is natural capital, which is the Earth’s natural resources – including soil, water, air, and biodiversity – that we rely on to establish and maintain our permaculture systems.
Natural capital is what allows us to grow food, medicine, and other useful plants and animals in our permaculture systems, and it’s what provides us with a rich array of ecosystems and habitats to support our well-being.
Investing in natural capital through conservation, restoration, and regenerative practices can help us create more sustainable and resilient permaculture systems.
The sixth form of capital in permaculture is intellectual capital, which is the knowledge and information that we create and accumulate through our permaculture experiences and practices.
Intellectual capital includes things like permaculture design plans, plant and animal lists, soil tests, and other technical information that we use to manage our permaculture systems. It also includes the expertise and know-how that we develop through research and experimentation.
Intellectual capital is what allows us to innovate and adapt to changing conditions, and it’s what enables us to improve and optimise organic systems over time.
The seventh form of capital in permaculture is spirit capital. This is the values, beliefs, and principles that guide our actions and inform our decisions in the context of permaculture.
Spiritual capital is what gives us a sense of purpose and meaning in our permaculture work. It’s also what allows us to connect with the deeper significance and beauty of the natural world.
The eighth form of capital in permaculture is physical capital. This is the buildings, structures, tools, and other tangible assets that we use to establish and maintain our permaculture systems.
Physical capital is what allows us to turn our permaculture designs into reality, and it’s what enables us to create the material infrastructure that supports our permaculture practices.
Investing in physical capital – through construction, renovation, or the purchase of upgraded tools and equipment – can help us grow and expand our ecological systems, and it can also make our permaculture practices more efficient and effective.
A World of Abundance
We live in a world where we are led to believe our wealth is only measured by financial capital or lack thereof (scarcity mentality). As we have shown, there are a total of 8 forms of capital and the world is an abundant and wonderful place. We are wealthy beyond our wildest dreams so don’t let the powers-that-shouldn’t be tell you otherwise.
Permaculture and The 8 Forms of Capital