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A World Teacher Like No Other—Dr. Bruce Charles “Bill” Mollison

By Marcela Andre López

He taught so many how to think about the landscape, to clothe raw earth with soft green fruitful trees around the world. Organic markets and products in San Miguel, water catchment systems intentionally placed in the last 20 years: a movement started with the excitement of permaculture, helping the city rediscover its sustainable and fertile ancestry. Bill said reforestation begins with one tree; then keep planting around it. Launching stories in the middle of technical discussions, he created concentration, mental skills, and creativity in his students. Bill Mollison’s whale story: Google it. Lecturing in pre-Katrina Louisiana, New Orleans professors walked out, disgusted by Bill’s tale of vultures as a mortuary solution―coaxed back to the lecture, they heard the cause and solution for the catastrophic erosion of the barrier islands, previously hurricane protection for New Orleans.

Bill´s brilliance, uniqueness, and unflinching original intellectual methods attacked nonsense and the unsustainable, relentlessly providing enormous volumes of information; he did not suffer fools. His sense of humor held the bite of saber-toothed fangs. Bill wanted to be buried with a mango pit; his death, “a lie.”

Bill’s legacy is that hundreds of thousands of past students have created a worldwide network to take his concept forwards. In a world in which we are acutely aware of our environment, its capacity and limitations, permaculture design offers a systemic approach to meeting human needs which respect those limitations and provide strategies to actively repair ecosystems. The effect of Bill’s legacy will only grow as the world recognizes the urgent need to work together on environmental solutions.” ―Permaculture Assoc. Magazine 26-9-16

Official statement of the Permaculture Research Institute with Bill´s Widow, Lisa Mollison, 26-9-16:

“With deep sorrow, we wish to inform family and friends that Bruce Charles “Bill” Mollison, the “Father of Permaculture,” has passed away. He departed peacefully from this world in Hobart, Tasmania, just before 11 PM AEST, 24 September 2016.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Bill’s family and close friends, who kindly request privacy and space during this difficult grieving period; at an appropriate time, a public memorial will be announced for those who wish to formally extend their condolences.

A massive tree in the forest of humanity has fallen. But in keeping with Bill’s invincible optimism, these verses from the great mystic, Rumi, are perhaps most appropriate:

When you see my procession, don’t cry, “Gone, gone!”/For me it is a time of meeting and reunion. /As you lower me into the grave, don’t say, “So long.”/When you see that lowering down, consider a rising./What harm is there in the setting of a sun or moon?/What seems a setting to you is a dawning./What seed goes into the earth and does not grow?/Why are you doubting this human seed?

Bill, you will never be forgotten.


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