A term coined and a concept formed in 1978 has led to a modern examination of the systems that Mother Nature has used for millennia. These systems work synergistically with the people, land, resources, and local environment in a way that allows all parties involved to benefit.
The concept begins with the idea of integration of many systems and programs: non-invasive agriculture, agroforestry, aquaculture, hydrology, natural landscaping, and waste management, to name a few. This marriage of systems allows people to make the best use of available resources while conserving those that are at higher risk of depletion. Combining systems willy-nilly is a sure-fire way to waste time and money, so David Holmgren and Bill Mollison came up with 12 solid principles to carefully consider when humans want to interact with their environment.
1. Observe and Interact
2. Catch and Store Energy
3. Obtain a Yield
4. Apply Self-regulation and respond to feedback
5. Use renewable resources
6. Produce no Waste
7. Design from pattern to details
8. Integrate rather than segregate
9. Use small and slow solutions
10. Use and value diversity
11. Use the edges
12. Creatively use and respond to change
Following these rules can help drastically minimize waste and improve recycling while reducing humanity's carbon footprint.