What are Permaculture Ethics?
Perhaps you have become curious about Permaculture and would like more information. I know just how you feel.
Are you asking, “What, exactly, are Permaculture Ethics?” Or perhaps you are wondering what drew me towards Permaculture?
What is my “WHY?”
Well, when I first learned about it, I just thought that it made so much sense. Permaculture is often considered a design “language,” if you will, that can work in a variety of situations. It has also been defined as, “Regenerative Sustainability.”
One of my teachers explained it this way, “Say a Permaculture designer is designing a car. The car should not only run without a polluting output or toxic emissions, it should be able to also CLEAN the air.”
Whether you live in the country or the town, there are ways to practice Permaculture Ethics. It’s getting back to the land, wherever possible, and getting back to basics. And it’s being responsible, sustainable, organized. And so much more!
But what really sold me were the three Permaculture Ethics:
- Care for the Earth
- Care for the People
- Share the Abundance
They seem so elementary, even obvious, perhaps. Let’s take a closer look at each of these points.
First, caring for the Earth is near and dear to my heart.
Do you remember the slogan, “Give a hoot, don’t pollute?”
I remember, as a little girl, I said that I wanted to ride a horse as my only mode of transportation so I wouldn’t pollute the air with car exhaust. Well, that didn’t exactly pan out, but all of my children (especially one in particular) fell in love with horses and horseback riding. We use composted horse manure in our garden. In addition, we are working toward creating less and less waste – hopefully zero waste in the not-too-distant future. We only have the one planet and it is in everyone’s best interest to take care of it.
Have you heard the expression, “There is no Planet B”?
The Native Americans believed that the actions of one generation affected the next seven generations. That is, I believe, rather eerily true.
Let’s take a deep breath and think about that for a minute. We leave the Earth to our children plus six(hopefully more than six, actually) subsequent generations of descendants.
Hence, the reason for the saying, “We borrow the Earth from our children.” Now, more than ever, the Earth needs our tender, loving care.
Second, caring for people goes hand-in-hand with caring for the Earth.
We need to care for one another, as in “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” This is crucial, especially in a time when so many people are looking away from one another, or looking for reasons to cast others aside. It is important that we put aside differences, refrain from judgement, and simply care for each other. Yes, it can be hard. I know it’s not always that simple.
Let’s say we start at home, with those closest to us, and then branch out from there? Compliment your child. Hug your spouse or significant other. Offer a neighbor some of the apples you grew or a jar of the jam you canned. Start a conversation with someone and really listen to that person. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
What if someone is hurtful?
If someone is hurtful, you can keep a careful distance, but pray for that person. You may have just encountered them having a bad day. In a case where the hurt is severe and makes you feel endangered, well then, obviously, I would urge you to get the help you need to be safe. If necessary, involve any and all appropriate authorities and professionals. This, in a different way, is caring for yourself and possibly your loved ones.
Hopefully, most of us won’t have to contend with such severity. But I would urge you to start caring for people today.
Doing something as seemingly small as catching someone’s eye, smiling, and saying, “hello,” can truly make a difference! Hold the door for that person behind you. Be kind and courteous with your language. Donate time, expertise, and/or money to a worthwhile cause.
Third, and finally, share your abundance.
Do you grow your own food?
Well, I don’t know about you, but we usually have a surplus. I sell some of my produce, and I barter some, and I give some away. Garden fresh vegetables and fruits make wonderful host or hostess gifts, for example. The neighbor up the hill is happy for us to cart away horse manure, but I still like to offer something in exchange. I’ve given rhubarb away countless times and in return was given pies, as well as fermented, pickled rhubarb. The latter is surprisingly delicious and refreshing!
With sharing our abundance we must also be mindful of waste. This is all part of the “cycle” in Permaculture Ethics. Compost your table scraps and give that to your garden rather than the landfill, thus nourishing the soil to grow more food. Yet, your abundance isn’t limited to the garden.
Once I hemmed a dress for the woman who cut my hair in exchange for a wash, trim, and style. Think creatively. Don’t think you have nothing to offer, because we all have something.
Do you have cooking skills? Bring a meal or a box of baked treats to someone who is housebound or infirm.
Are you handy with tools? Perhaps you can fix that loose shutter or leaky faucet for your Grandparents. Read out loud for your elder neighbor whose eyesight isn’t what it used to be. Share Your Abundance.
Working in Harmony
Now, think about all three of these things. They overlap one other, yes? Caring for the Earth IS Caring for People IS Sharing your Abundance IS Caring for the Earth, and so on.
Each one of us has gifts. Each one of us IS a gift. It should be our privilege to share our gifts with others. That is sharing our abundance, as well as caring for people, which will, hopefully help us nurture and care for Mother Earth.
Share Your Gifts
Perhaps you sing or play an instrument. Performing a song gives people joy, and sometimes comfort. Maybe you love animals. Offer to walk someone’s dog or help feed pets while someone is away. Volunteer for a charitable group you feel you can strongly support.
The more ways we can help each other the better. One of my beliefs is that whatever goodness you put into the universe will bring goodness back to you. You are part of “people,” and you must care for yourself, as well as for others. How wonderful would it be if we all could figure out our own unique gifts, plus a way to share them in order to impact ourselves and others in a sustainable, positive way?
So this, my friends, is my “WHY.” I’ll admit, I haven’t mastered this to perfection. I am a messy work in progress. But who isn’t? If we shift our mindset to focus on these three very basic ethics, what a wonderful world it would be! And, bearing all that in mind, I really feel that Permaculture Ethics go hand-in-hand with striving towards being one’s very Best Self, and living one’s life with Purpose.
I hope that you’ve found this information to be of value. I also hope that you will continue to explore the world of Permaculture and sustainability.
Permaculture Ethics|My Why
And that, my friends, is my “WHY.”
Do you have any unique gifts that you share with others that also care for our earth?
I’d love to know in the comments!
For more information about Permaculture, check out THIS POST, “Permaculture Principles on the Homestead.”
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