Paul Wheaton came to permaculture from a background in software engineering. These days, he is widely known as "The Duke of Permaculture," a title bestowed upon him by Geoff Lawton. And... some people also like to call him "the bad boy of permaculture," mostly because he sometimes uses "dirty" words.
Paul Wheaton has been an innovator in many areas of permaculture design, with his most influential work touching on energy consumption. His advocacy for rocket mass heaters has helped to drive that technology forward. And he has also helped spur the adoption of hugelkultur raised beds around the world.
Paul was born in Idaho and grew up on Oregon. Today he lives near Missoula, Montana on a large ranch called Wheaton Labs where he researches and experiments with permaculture design concepts, along with a team of volunteers and employees.
Before dedicating himself to permaculture, Paul Wheaton was a software engineer who notably worked on the satellite that is used by Google Earth. He founded the website Java Ranch in 1998, which is still in existence today at www.coderanch.com.
Paul is the founder of the permaculture forums at Permies.com, which is widely acknowledged to be the largest and most popular website about permaculture. Some of permaculture's leading experts are regular contributors to the forums, including Paul himself.
Paul Wheaton has not authored any books yet, but he has been quite active in producing permaculture-related videos and instructional movies. He does not teach full permaculture design certification courses, although he has served as a guest instructor for some courses - specifically teaching about the use of animals in the permaculture landscape.
Some of Paul Wheaton's most important work has centered on rocket mass heaters. Paul believes that the average family heating their home with a wood-burning stove can increase their fuel efficiency by up to 90% by switching to this new technology.
Paul has cultivated a strong relationship with rocket mass heater pioneers Ernie and Erica Wisner. And he collaborated with them and other innovators on his 2016 video release DIY Rocket Mass Heaters, the successor to his original series Wood Burning Stoves 2.0.
Paul Wheaton is a self-proclaimed fan and disciple of the important Austrian permaculturist Sepp Holzer. Paul is a strong proponent of the hugelkultur method of building planting beds, and he has repeatedly demonstrated the effectiveness of hugelkultur in the northwestern United States.
In 2012, Paul Wheaton brought Sepp Holzer to the United States to collaborate on a permaculture design site in Montana. Paul demonstrates his approach to hugelkultur in detail in his video series World Domination Gardening.