With the passing of Bill Mollison, aged 88, in Tasmania on Saturday comes the end of an era for many thousands of people around the world whose lives were transformed by the teaching and writing of one of Australia’s most influential ecological pioneers. My two year student/mentor relationship with Bill from late 1974 was certainly the defining relationship that set the course for the rest of my life. This piece (published in the 2011 Permaculture Diary) recalled that pivotal moment when I first met Bill and effectively selected him as ‘the teacher’. Bill’s brilliance was in gathering together the ecological insights, principles, strategies and techniques that could be applied to create the world we do want rather than fighting against the world we reject. His personal life was as tumultuous as his public persona, at times tragic but always full of the passion and contradiction that the term ‘ecological warrior’ represents. His legacy lives on in all those who were transformed by his teaching. This tribute by leading British permaculture teacher, Graham Bell, provides an excellent overview of his life including his confronting character.
Permaculture is an approach that has proven itself on land as a way to blend farming with healthy ecosystems. What if it could do the same on water?