The Three Ethics of Permaculture

While taking an online Permaculture Design Course, developed by one of my heroes, Geoff Lawton of the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, I was given a wonderful definition of the three Ethics of Permaculture.  I’d like to share those with you here.
(Everything in this course is based on Bill Mollison’s book Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual, and of course, Geoff Lawton’s rich and vast life experiences as he applies permaculture to broad acre design in every climate and environment, including the harshest, in the world).
“The Three Ethics of Permaculture
At the heart of permaculture design, informing all decisions, is an adherence to three simple ethics, which collectively help to guide our behavior towards cooperative, productive systems, that benefit people and the planet.
  1. Earth Care insures that our designs consider all living and non-living things in the environment that will be affected, aiming to enhance and preserve rather than deplete or degrade.
  2. People Care promotes self-reliance as well as community responsibility to look out for one another, avoiding structures of exploitation or abandonment.
  3. Return of the Surplus results from successful designs in which abundance is such that it is returned to the earth, such as in composts or animal feed, or shared with fellow people.
To appropriately apply these ethics, we must begin to understand the web of life, where systemic cycles, flows, and interactions occur within natural and, ultimately, designed systems, as well as how they have broken down in our current corporate configurations, which have not been looking out for people or the planet.”
Every time I delve into the materials provided for this course, I feel in love with the world, and so inspired.  I feel like a fire is lit underneath me.


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