Some people seem to intuitively recognize the permaculture principles in nature once they set out with the intent to observe them. On courses, we always went out to the nearest unruly hedgerow and checked out whether the principles could truly be observed in any fairly thriving, wild ecosystem. The coast or woodland is a great way to observe the principles in action too.
As to how they can be better applied in practice: when using the design process, I'd recommend begin with your survey of the existing site (however large or small) and see to what extent the principles are already in operation, make notes. where the principles are already evident is a great resource to build upon.Then, when surveying the people / yourself /client, use the principles as a framework for identifying ideas and so forth, that together would constitute a resilient systems approach. For example, keeping in mind the principle 'catch and store energy' helps us be mindful of our own limits and of minimising brought in materials etc, navigating us towards using the existing landscape, sun, gravity etc as a source of energy.
Cultivating connection between people and places for thrival and peace.
I brought this back from the farm where they grow the tiny ads:
Earlybirds for the Garden Master Course Kickstarter