Ecological Engineering Modeled on Nature – Geoff Lawton at TEDx San Francisco

Ecological Engineering Modeled on Nature: Geoff Lawton at TEDxMission

Geoff Lawton is a permaculture consultant, designer, and teacher. Since 1995 he has specialized in permaculture education, design, implementation, system establishment, administration and community development. In 1996 he was accredited with the Permaculture Community Services Award by the permaculture movement for services in Australia and around the world.

Lawton’s aim is to establish self-replicating educational demonstration sites. He has currently educated over 6,000 students in permaculture worldwide. Lawton’s ‘master plan’ is to see aid projects being replicated as fast as possible to help ameliorate the growing food and water crisis.

Geoff Lawton

Geoff Lawton is a world renowned Permaculture consultant, designer and teacher. He first took his Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course in 1983 with Bill Mollison the founder of Permaculture. Geoff has undertaken thousands of jobs teaching, consulting, designing, administering and implementing, in 6 continents and close to 50 countries around the world. Clients have included private individuals, groups, communities, governments, aid organizations, non-government organisations and multinational companies under the not-for-profit organisation. In 1996 Geoff was accredited with the Permaculture Community Services Award by the Permaculture movement for services in Australia and around the world. Geoff's official website is Geoff's Facebook profile can be found here.


  1. Really an inspiration to hear Geoff’s definition of culture after Ross Wolf’s flawed statement earlier this year, that permaculture can be interpreted as “permanent unnature”:

    By the way, Masdar is a modernistic city, which means it’s not built around the fifteen properties of wholeness:

    Nature evolves and unfolds through these properties. A city that doesn’t do the same cannot be whole; it cannot be part of nature in a deeper sense.

    To be honest, Masdar city is being made under system B. Personally I’m skeptical about that permaculturists cooperate with system B, as we need to change to and work with the influence of system A:

    I too want to remind about that the word technology simply means “the knowledge of making”.

  2. I want to quota CChristopher Alexander:

    “An environment or community will not come to life unless each place, each building, each room becomes unique, as a result of careful and piecemeal processes of adaption.

    This is a quality not acknowledged or valued in the history of modern architecture.

    That this process is the foundation of a living architecture is a significant discovery.

    Paying attention to this pervasive kind of adaption throughout our project required mental, artistic, and procedural tools. We had to develop these tools so that adaption could be a constant focus in each place, at many different scales, all over the Eishin Campus.” – The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth: A Struggle Between Two World-Systems, page 19.

  3. Good video, but there is one big thing mr. Lawton (which I otherwise appreciate very much) should take in to account when keeping these presentations. When talking about carbon cycle, carbon positive means something that emits carbon into the atmosphere, more preciselly that is emits more carbon than it sequesters. If city emits e.g. twice as much carbon as it sequesters, then it’s carbon positive.

    Carbon negative means something that sequesters carbon, or more precisely seguesters more than it emits. If a city sequesters e.g. twice as much carbon as it emits, then it is carbon negative.

    Carbon neutral means that amounts sequestered and emitted are

    If I didn’t know otherwise, I could get an image that Geoff is advicing us to build cities and communities that are net emitters of carbon dioxide and carbon.

    It would be good to either get the terminology straigth or notify the audience over the non-conventional use of terms.

    Otherwise good precentation.

    – Aapo

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