Designing Your Life with Permaculture 10: Use and Value Diversity

Josh Davis
Friday, 24th February 2017

For a healthy ecosystem, we need diversity, and the same applies to a healthy lifestyle. By adding diversity we can keep our bodies, mind, relationships and work healthy and happy.

A healthy ecosystem is extremely diverse. Millions of different species come together to create a thriving forest. The more species, the healthier the overall system. The same applies to our interactions in our own communities. If we can create communities that work together and are integrated then everyone in the community will thrive. If we create fear and uncertainty, that results in us being more insular and segregated and both our communities and ourselves suffer. Imagine the difference between a thriving forest environment and a monoculture farm that only grows one crop. Which would you rather live in? 

Diversity in society - Embrace diversity. Do not be fearful, judgemental or discriminatory towards people that are different. Instead realise that they add value and resources to your community that you do not. The healthiest systems are where everything works together for the greater good of the ecosystem. In the forest it might seem like the trees are the biggest most powerful force, when in fact they are as reliant on all the other microbacteria, insects, animals, shrubs etc. as those species are of the trees. Remove any of those species and the larger system suffers. Our society’s fear of immigration should instead be seen as an opportunity to strengthen our resources and increase diversity.

Hobbies and exercise - Having a range of hobbies can be more fulfilling than focusing on one in particular. The same is true of exercise. If you only cycle or only run you do not build an all round healthy and fit body. While you will have good aerobic ability you might not be able touch your toes! It is healthier to diversify your exercise to include strength training, movement, flexibility and endurance. If you look at an animal in the wild they incorporate a diverse range of movement and abilities. If you keep your body moving in a number of ways you will not be limited to what your are able to do with your body. Use it or lose it.

Experiences - If we close our mind to trying new things because of preconceptions we limit our opportunity to grow. We often fall into the trap of not trying something new because it is different to what we are used to. Opening our mind to try new things provides more chance of finding things you are good at or really enjoy. Traveling, reading, attending workshops, listening to talks, all of these are effective ways to be exposed to new ideas and experiences.

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Josh Davis is an outdoor educator and facilitator exploring ways we can learn from the natural world. He offers one on one coaching and consulting to help design your life from permaculture. 

You can find out more at

For more ideas about designing your life with permaculture

People and Permaculture and 7 Ways to Think Differently by Looby Macnamara

Zen in the Art of Permaculture Design by Stephan Geyer