Bruce Charles "Bill" Mollison (4 May 1928 – 24 September 2016) was an Australian researcher, author, scientist, teacher and biologist. He, along with David Holmgren, is referred to as the "father of permaculture".
From childhood till his late twenties, Mollison lived in a small and self-sufficient Tasmanian village. However, in the 1950s he witnessed the fish collanies his village depended on collapsing, seaweed around the shorelines thinning, and nearby forests dying.
Later, he worked as a scientist with the CSIRO Wildlife Survey Section and the Tasmanian Inland Fisheries Department where he closely monitored the life of those ecosystems. At these jobs, Mollison was simultaneously protesting the politicians and industry that was negatively impacting the environment. He observed that his protests were in vain and withdrew from society for two years to find a more constructive alternative to protesting.
Publication of Permaculture One
Mollison started tutoring at the University of Tasmania in 1968 and later became a senior Enviornmental Psychology lecturer. In 1974 Mollison and David Holmgren, his student at the University, collaborated on a sustainable agricultural framework based on a polyculture of perennial trees, shrubs, herbs, fungi, and root system, for which Mollison coined the term "permaculture". In 1976, he began lecturing on the permaculture concept at the university.
In 1978, Mollison and Holmgren published Permaculture One to introduce their design system to the general public. Reaction to Permaculture One was mixed. "Specialists" in professional communities were outraged at the book's discipline integration, such as architecture with biology, agriculture with forestry, and forestry with animal husbandry. Members of the general public who were dissatisfied with the state of agriculture were more receptive.
Mollison resigned from the university in 1979 to focus on permaculture and design properties using his research.
Mollison later founded The Permaculture Institute in Tasmania, and created the education system to train others under the umbrella of permaculture. This education system of "train the trainer", utilized through a formal Permaculture Design Certificate, has taught thousands of people throughout the world how to grow food and be sustainable using permaculture design principles.
- Mollison, Bill. Introduction to Permaculture. Tagari Publications, 2011. vii.