Biomass fuels from sustainable land use: A Permaculture perspective


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Vale Toby Hemenway

Toby Hemenway, one of the most influential permaculture authors and teachers from North America, passed away earlier this week aged 64. Toby discovered permaculture in 1990 after a career in genetics and developed a rural permaculture property in southern Oregon with his wife Kiel. He was editor of Permaculture Activist magazine from 1999 to 2004 and his book Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture is credited as being the most successful book about permaculture in the world, having sold more than 250,000 copies. His 2015 book The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience applies permaculture thinking and principles to organising everyday life.

In 2005, Su and I were hosted by Toby in Portland, Oregon during our 6-month teaching and study tour of North America. I remember him as earnest and modest as he maintained a passionate commitment to permaculture ideas as he made the transition from rural self-reliant living to applying permaculture in the city. His move back to urban living was emblematic of the learnings of our generation about the limits to rural self-sufficiency.

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Futures framework for RetroSuburbia: limits to growth, energy futures and energy descent scenarios

This primer outlines key concepts that have shaped permaculture principles and practices over more than four decades. RetroSuburbia builds on those same understandings, refined over time and focused on the prospects for the ‘lucky country’ over the 21st century, without going into all the technical detail or debates. For those interested in understanding future prospects

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