Tuesday, 1 April 2014

My Diploma Journey

by Claire Wise

The beginning of my permaculture diploma journey!
Tomorrow is a big day for me! On Saturday  the 15th March 2014 at Ourganics, I deliver a presentation of my work, before celebrating with friends, peer group members and my tutor on completion of my Diploma in Applied Permaculture.

When I began the diploma I imagined that my designs would be predominantly land based, as that was how I understood permaculture. As part of my diploma, I designed gardens for my friends and family. I love to be outside and have a passion both for growing things and for nature. However, using the permaculture principles and ethics throughout my pathway, I realised that permaculture's applications are far greater than that!  During the two years, I learned how to apply permaculture to fulfil my own needs and those of precious family and friends, guided by my improved observational skills.

I decided to do the diploma because for a long time, I have been using the principles and ethics in my own decision making. Realising the benefits of permaculture, I wanted to become better at using them, to learn more of permaculture as a design science, and to become a more accomplished designer.  I wanted to understand more and to improve my analytical skills, take positive control of my destiny and reduce my negative impact.

The diploma has provided me with hope, with a direction, with structure and focus.  I had become burned out by frustrations of voluntary work, council work and global issues.  The diploma, and especially my work on ‘zone 00’, has grounded me in the NOW and re-opened my eyes.

It has helped me to find my purpose in this messed up materialistic world, and reminded me that I can make a difference from within my own life by my own actions, whilst also leading a happier more fulfilled life. Despite of negative events happening around me locally and globally, permaculture has helped me to embrace a happier, healthier and more accomplished life. The positive changes in my life show that the diploma has benefits far beyond it being a great qualification!

So what have I learned during my diploma pathway?

My attitude has changed dramatically…. 

I used to jump into new projects with both feet and start work. Now I start by stopping!

Previously I’d keep ideas in my head then start to put them into action. Now I use permaculture design tools to become aware of my options, and take action only after noting all my observation and possibilities.
My questions are now more constructive, and yield more informative and useful answers!

My analytical skills have dramatically improved, and I re-visit and tweak my designs automatically!

If resources are under-used, I pass them on rather than storing them just in case!  (A stored resource is not much use!)

I became really good in  looking for yields, connections and opportunities. 

I value everything and everyone. 

I have learned that memory influences who we are, and that capitalising on positive memory improves today! 

I have found that small slow solutions – going one step at a time - really does conquers daunting tasks! 

Through self regulation and by accepting my own feedback I have created new patterns and have also become able to appreciate and use the diversity of my own skills, abilities needs and desires.
Design for my steam maker oven

I am able to observe and interact with a multitude of edges now that I have observed them. Everything from catching thoughts between mind-states to community involvement in designs I have worked on, or inspiring others to use the design tools.

Through daily monitoring of our home energy use, I am not only aware of what impacts on our energy use. I also visit the garden boundary daily, so that I notice when gutters need attention, or when a fence is damaged, for example.  I see the first snowdrop and spot the pests on my salad early.

I have grown and flourished and am grateful to the Permaculture Design process for opening my eyes, improving my life, and for the opportunities and friendships it has guided me to!  In the future I would love to inspire members of my local community to learn more about permaculture and hope one day to lead introduction taster sessions to provide that vital step towards a more sustainable future locally.

Until then, my achievements in the garden, my time management, and use of resources along with my mainly positive attitude and ability to calmly approach a crisis, has inspired friends and family to become inquisitive and seek to learn more about permaculture.  Friends have noticed the difference in me and want some of it themselves!  By applying permaculture throughout my own life, and by others witnessing its benefits, a ripple effect is taking place and permaculture is taking root through small seeds all around me.


  1. Enjoyed this thanks. Any reason it was published today? Curious.
    I'm looking for a PDC personal mentor. Do you have any recommendations in the UK?

    1. Hey there! Great to hear you enjoyed reading! No particular reason for the publishing date :) For more info and advice about finding a personal mentor it would be best to contact Joe, out learning coordinator. You can contact him through our website: http://www.permaculture.org.uk/contact or just give us a ring some time! All the best and good luck with everything!