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Taking the Tragedy Out of Wildfires with Permaculture Design

Recent wildfires in Australia shocked the nation, and the world – killing more than 200 people, untold creatures, buildings and other property. Indeed, entire towns were razed to the ground. In the following podcast, Geoff Lawton (talking while on the road – in his true multitasking style) talks about how Permaculture can tackle this issue head on, by designing appropriate Permaculture systems around settlements that would passively and perpetually protect people and property from the kind of horrific devastation we witnessed last month.

In comparison to the cost in life and property that these fires bring, such systems would be extremely cost-effective, and if done thoughtfully could also be used to bring other benefits – beyond fire protection – to local populations, wildlife and the environment. These concepts should be urged upon your local political representative for their consideration, and not just in Australia. Climate change is causing many normally wet regions to begin to dry out and already dry areas to dry out even more – so we can expect the frequency and intensity of fires to escalate in coming years.

You can listen to the clip in its entirety here (17 min, 15.4mb MP3). To download the file, simply right-click on the link and choose ‘Save Link As’ (Firefox) or ‘Save Target As’ (Internet Explorer).


  1. Thanks Craig
    As a person living in one of the bushfire affected areas (thankfully unscathed) I’m very interested in how to better plan and manage for bushfire, short of the “create a desert around your house” mentality currently being fed to communities as the only way. I look forward to listening again and taking notes this time.

  2. I found this podcast by Geoff utterly fascinating:is there a way to make it into a Youtube video? To design living, wet tree barriers to fire seems the most sensible, sane, enlightened option available, in a water-decreasing, warming climate. Using collected & diverted run-off/gray-water/biofitered black-water to grow a tree belt has so many other incredible benefits too: a positive change in micro-climate, food-production, health & recreation, fuel, building material,wildlife area, biodiversity, carbon-sink… Why, why, why would every town NOT do it???? Why, why, why is the government not acting decisively to do this & also to be recreating wetlands using Peter-Andrews methods? Both ways of reversing long-term damage caused by us & rehydrating exhausted land at miniscule costs/efforts – back into rich, viable, fire-resistant & diverse places. Places that will allow us the best chances of survival.
    Thank you Geoff, for the observations made from all the devastatingly sad & frightening news footage of the fire-devastated areas – that the only oasis of green where the non-native trees in the scorched landscapes. And for the myriad proofs of rehydrating & regreening desertified land for permanent,biologically diverse & safe culture.

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