My wife and I recently finished a 2 day introduction to permaculture course last weekend that we took with Kym from Giggling Chi Tree and a bunch of other great people.
While we were there we went over many more philosophical ideas than practical. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I think it’s a great thing because this is what gives us critical thinking ability and the desire to experiment.
We spoke in great detail about the permaculture ethics. These are the ethics which should be considered any time you make a change to your design. It is a holistic way of thinking about how we can prosper with our designs.
I’m going to talk about these ethics, and then I’m going to ask some questions for each ethic. I would love to see your answers to the questions, so please put them in the comments. Of course there’s no pressure to do so if you’re not comfortable.
I don’t know who wrote this, but the going catch phrase for people care is this…
“If people’s needs are met in compassionate and simple ways, the environment surrounding them will prosper.”
There are many ways we can show people care, but in essence it means to provide for the health and welfare of our human family. So healthy homes, food and medicine for people to help them have a healthy lifestyle.
In our course, we were split into three groups and given tokens which represent one ethic. Our group had people care, and while we were discussing our ethic we realized that it’s much more than not polluting your neighbours yard. It involves listening to everyone’s ideas and realizing that everyone has something meaningful to contribute. This is very easy when everyone agrees, but it’s very difficult when people disagree.
What are some practical ways you would like to see people care practiced? What are some ways you practice people care?
“The Earth is a living, breathing entity. Without ongoing care and nurturing there will be consequences too big to ignore.”
Earth Care involves making sure that the earth is treated well. It’s about giving back to the entity that provides us with food clothing and shelter, not to mention beauty, comfort and life.
The earth will be around forever, or at least the mass that floats in the vacuum of space will be, however the thing that really makes earth special and different from any other planet that we currently know of is life! We have living organisms as small as prokaryotic cells, and as large as armillaria ostoyae. We have living beings which fly 21,000 feet in the air and others that can live 13,000 feet under the ocean. There is an intricate ballet that goes on to sustain all of these diverse beings and we’re included in that ballet. Lets do our best to give a stellar performance!
What are some important ways people of the world can practice earth care? (think positively) What are some ways you practice earth care in your area?
“We are provided with times of abundance which enables us to share with others.”
Fair Share is about being practical about our needs. It’s about harvesting what we need, and leaving the rest for other people, animals and to be consumed by the soil.
Fair Share means that we set limits and redistribute surplus. Practising fair share obviously means that we share with others, but it also means being fair to ourselves. We would not be fair to ourselves if we gave all of our time and energy and means away. In reality when we take care of ourselves by eating nutritious food, taking time to relax and doing things that make us happy, we are better equipped to help others physically and emotionally.
In what ways would you like to see people of the world practice fair share? In what ways do you practice fair share?
Transition – The 4th lesser known ethic
“it is OK to use unsustainable means to get out of a cycle of unsustainability” – www.GaiaCraft.com
Permaculture is a VERY broad term which touches probably all aspects of our lives. We are not able to do everything perfect especially while operating in an unsustainable world.
As an analogy: A goal of permaculture is to have a closed loop system where your land can sustain itself by providing mulch, ground cover, seeds etc. However when we’re in transition from our lawn to our food forest, this is impossible, so we would not beat ourselves up for the fact that we need to buy seeds and perhaps have a tree trimmer drop off some mulch and whatever else we might need.
Of course we want to use local resources and get creative as much as possible, but the idea of the ethic is; we are making changes to get better and better, so if using a less than desirable means gets us to a desirable end and as long as we’re not hurting anyone of course, don’t drag yourself down over it. Feel good about the changes you’re making.
We would not want to judge others for the level they are at. To paraphrase what I heard Paul Wheaton say in a podcast once, everyone is at a different level of environmentalism/sustainability/permaculture/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. People who are at the higher levels sometimes feel they’re above those on the lower levels, while people at the lower levels think those at the higher levels are crazy. For instance, people who are just starting out might be cool with reusing jars and containers, but think humanure is insane! Meanwhile those using humanure might be caught thinking the people at lower levels are not doing enough.
Stop judging…Remember that we are all in a state of transition and remember we all started somewhere.
What examples can you think of where people use unsustainable products to get to a sustainable end?
Thanks so much for reading. Please feel free to comment on the article and contribute to the conversation.