4. Relationships and connection

If we’re aiming to turbo-charge our relationships for resilience and social transformation, we need to be judicious about where and with whom we channel our effort.  In Episode 4 of the Social Permaculture Online Bootcamp, Ben Habib draws on the concept of permaculture “zones,” and specifically how they might be interpreted in a social permaculture context, to inventory our networks of interpersonal relationships.  Ben also introduces a social permaculture patterning tool, inspired by the zoning concept, of levels of political organisation of increasing scale from the individual to the global.

Taking it further

For more on the “zones” concept in permaculture, see:

  • David Holmgren (2002). Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability. Hepburn: Holmgren Design Services.
  • David Holmgren (2018). Retrosuburbia: The Downshifter’s Guide to a Resilient Future. Seymour: Melliodora Publishing.
  • Rosemary Morrow (2015). Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture (2nd Ed). Permanent Publications.
  • Peter Bane (2012). The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers.

For more on social permaculture, see:

  • Looby Macnamara (2012). People and Permaculture. Permanent Publications.
  • Juliana Birnbaum and Louis Fox (2014). Sustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.

For more on holons and complex systems sciences, see:

Also, Permaculture Australia has compiled a list of permaculture resources from Australian practitioners for living through pandemic times.

Social Permaculture Online Bootcamp

With an emphasis on transmutation, Social Permaculture Online Bootcamp will explore issues, problems and anxieties associated with the COVID-19 crisis, and draw from insights from social permaculture and beyond to think about how we might respond.


  1. Hi Ben, I studied Permaculture in 1995 with David Holmgren and understand its concepts, but I found it wanting in an area that I could not at the time put my finger on. Since then I have re-discovered truth – one-unifying-truth i.e. we are all ONE equally so which brings simplicity to life and deconstructs complexity/resilience etc. which the world runs with and has been turned on its head by this virus. But are we listening to the truth which is innate in our body? Mostly, no because we don’t understand that we are vehicles of energy and puppets to either of two energies – soul or spirit. Our soul/divine energy is always within us but is not aligned to so our spirit (the separated aspect of our soul which has to reconnect to our soul) is the driving force in most interactions. This is because we are layered with so many ideals, beliefs, behaviour patterns and so we keep indulging in them to find solutions to our problems when the only true answer is to listen to our inner-heart by connecting to our body. I have a saying ‘we cannot save the environment until we save ourselves’. What does that mean? The environment can take care of itself if we get out of its way and stop imposing on it – ably shown by floods, fires, droughts, smoke hazards which the weather has given us as wake-up calls. So it makes sense that if we stop imposing on anything or anyone and mind our own business i.e. listen to our bodies and heed its warnings or activate its impulses we will heal and then we will ‘spread’ love instead of hate/fear/lies etc. Until we know ourselves we will not know love and truth.
    with kind regards,
    Susan Wilson, Albury. NSW.

    • Thanks for your comment Susan, it’s much appreciated. I agree, there are other ways of knowing that we’re not generally encouraged to tap into…the knowledge of the body and the knowledge of the heart. Will say more about this in future videos.

  2. […] I strongly recommend the work of Robin Clayfield and Robina McCurdy, who created the social sector activity developed in this video. I also recommend checking out these permaculture dynamos who’ve had a big influence on my social permaculture thinking: Pandora Thomas, Starhawk, Erin Young, and Dave Jacke, along with Looby Macnamara, whose social zones concept was featured in Episode 4. […]

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