What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
-King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

I have often come up with an idea or concept that I have been so excited about only to find someone else has been doing it or written about it years earlier. I get less excited about one of my new ideas, because the longer I live, the more I realize I am far from the smartest person on Earth. I still get excited that I have discovered a new way of doing things or seeing things, but I understand that as King Solomon said thousands of years ago, “there is nothing new under the sun.”

I recently shared the article about Native American gardens, and how they used urine as a fertilizer. My boys were doing this in my garden, with a little prompting from me, for years. I discovered this idea on my own. My boys were toilet training and had to go to the bathroom. We were outside, so I told my son to just pee in the bushes. Then it hit me… urine is full of nitrogen. As long as they don’t pee in the same place all the time and there is plenty of water around to dilute it, then urine should be a great fertilizer. Not too much later, I realized this was being promoted all over the place and for many, many years. This article was just the most recent addition to that growing list of supporting evidence.

This experience reminds me of how Permaculture originated. Bill Mollison and David Holmgren are known as the creators of Permaculture. I take nothing from them in saying that while they created the science and art of Permaculture, they did not invent much of the practical aspects. They collected a lot of existing and almost forgotten information, weeded through it all, kept what was relevant, and presented it in a holistic manner.

Watson and Crick, the recipients of the Nobel Prize for determining the structure of DNA, did almost no original research. They studied multiple researchers’ works, compiled their data, and were able to formulate a revolutionary concept… but they did little more than put the pieces together.

But it took THEM to put those pieces together! It took Bill Mollison and David Holmgren to put Permaculture together. It took Bill Mollison to create the Permaculture Design Certificate course to enable the teaching of thousands of people after him. These people were brilliant to see things in a new way and to apply ideas in new ways.

Don’t lose heart if you stumble across an idea only to find it already exists, because there really is nothing new under the sun. But maybe there is a new way that information can be applied? This is what Permaculture Design is all about!

If we take the time to learn, to observe, to apply, and to truly think… who knows what we will be able to put together?


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Photo Reference: http://www.damiancorbet.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/shutterstock_green-growth_71322319.jpg