An Introduction To Permacomputing

By Garrett Mickley •  Updated: 01/07/24 •  2 min read

You’ve probably heard of permaculture.

Permanent + Agriculture = PermaCulture

According to Bill Mollison, cofounder of the movement,

“Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems.”

Another thing Bill Mollison said,

“The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children.”

In 1978, I don’t think he was considering the impact computers and the internet would have.

Or electronics in general.

According to a 2021 study by Lancaster University, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) makeup between 2.1% and 3.9% of global emissions.

Techoptimists say increasing efficiency of computers will improve this, but they have been historically wrong.

In is 2023 essay on Frugal Computing, Wim Vanderbauwhede writes:

“We can’t rely on next-generation hardware technologies to save energy: the production of this next generation of devices will create more emissions than any operational gains can offset.”

Permacomputing is one answer to this problem.

Just like permaculture is permanent + agriculture, permacomputing is permanent + computing.

It’s quickly becoming a “buzzword” around both sustainability and communities.

Even kids tech magazines are talking about it.

Let’s take a look at the permaculture ethics and principles:


  1. Care for Earth
  2. Care for People
  3. Reinvest Surplus


  1. Observe and Interact with the land.
  2. Connect and integrate the pieces.
  3. Catch and store energy and materials.
  4. Each component performs multiple functions.
  5. Least change for the greatest effect.
  6. Use small-scale, intensive systems. has a page for Principles, which integrates the Ethics as well:

Last year I had already decided to stop buying new music equipment.

I’m either buying used, repairing/refurbishing broken, or building my own.

Moving forward I’m going to be thinking (and writing) a lot more about permacomputing and how we can all live that life, especially from a musician’s standpoint.

Garrett Mickley

I've been working in digital marketing for a decade and a half, and I'm ready for a career change. This blog is my journal.

Keep Reading