[permaculture] The 4th Ethic

Scott Pittman scott at permaculture.org
Tue Mar 25 12:48:06 EDT 2014


This is an amazing historical discussion, perhaps will morph into a game of
Trivia!

>From 1985 until 1997 the courses I attended and co-taught with Bill stated
the 3rd ethic as "a return of all excess to care of people and the Earth".
I called it the recycling ethic which includes manure, organic waste, money,
old buildings, unused 501c3's and etc.  

The problem with the Ethics is that there is so much implicit in them,
depending on your depth of understanding.  Actually one ethic would suffice
"care of the Earth" but in order that there was no misunderstanding the
other three were added to make the point.  There is no way that "Fair Share"
covers all the bases of the third ethic, and to my mind is lazy pedagogy.

Within the ethics it is obvious that our knowledge is too limited to really
understand them completely.  How does one care for the Earth?  We don't even
know how most of it functions let alone taking care of those elements.  Care
of people is even dicier. Return of all excess leads us into some real
conversations about capitalism and social justice.  I agree with David
Holmgren that we also need to make explicit the ethic of population and
consumerism control, which are two main drivers of our dysfunctional
stewardship.

The original "Foundation Yearbook of the Permaculture Academy" was compiled
by B.C. Mollison, I have the 1993 edition and have misplaced my original
copy.  The 1993 edition has Bill's name on the cover and is the one we post
on our website www.permaculture.org 

Hope this helps clarify.

Scott Pittman  

 

"To change something build a new model that makes the existing model
obsolete"  Buckminster Fuller
-----Original Message-----
From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Michael
Pilarski
Sent: Monday, March 24, 2014 8:16 AM
To: permaculture
Subject: Re: [permaculture] The 4th Ethic

Here is what I tell my pdc students when the 3rd ethic is discussed.  I
mention all the permutations of the 3rd ethic, including the term "fair
share".  Most people are anthropocentric and at first hearing the term think
of sharing among humans.  I point out that fair share also applies to homo
sapiens sharing the planet in a fair way with all the other species we share
the planet with. Which is where the limits to growth and consumption comes
in.  

Humans are using too much of the planet for their own ends and have pushed
many species to extinction or the edge of extinction.  We need to make more
room for the other species to survive and thrive.  We need to use less of
the land for agriculture and grazing our domestic livestock.  We need to
fish less of the world's oceans.  We need to walk more lightly as a
species.  

Permaculture gives us land use patterns that are more able to accommodate
wild creatures in the same space as humans.  


 Michael Pilarski



On Monday, March 24, 2014 7:37 AM, Chris Carnevale <c.s.carnevale at gmail.com>
wrote:
 
This is invaluable information to be having documented. There was a 
thread on this listserv not long ago about the third ethic and I 
remember reading someone say that "fair share" was adopted just to fit 
into the rhyming scheme of the other two. After reading that it is 
descended from "/to recognise and establish limits to growth and 
consumption and disperse surplus to support care of the earth and care 
of people,"/ "fair share" seems to be a much better distillation of the 
idea than simply "share the surplus." Robyn, I believe your 
interpretation of implications is correct. And Steve, I agree the two 
phrases have two very different meanings.

Chris Carnevale



On 3/24/14, 2:10 AM, Steve Hart wrote:
> Thanks Robyn for a clarification. My experience in observing the many
> teaching patterns wherever I go is that there is as I've been beating on
> about like Scotty far too many willing teachers who offered a very
> distorted perspective to this 3rd ethic. With the tremendous work being
> done by the collective of energies around Europe in the EPT series of
> conferences much of this clarification is vital and desperately needed. I
> have used primarily your curriculum as a basis for all levels of teaching
> but do personally enjoy elements of the original curricula which I once
had
> from my course in 1981 and follow up courses with Bill, Max and Lea. I
also
> like Skeeta and Scotty perhaps resonate with the original. To me "Share of
> Surplus" and "Fair Share" have two totally different meanings.
>
> Perhaps a full paper on the 3rd ethic will help considerably to support
the
> best dissemination of the subject into the new teaching world. ...Steve
Hart
>
>
> On 24 March 2014 05:39, Robyn Francis <robyn at permaculture.com.au> wrote:
>
>> The PDC outline in the download is a bit different from the original and
>> unfortunate that it doesn't acknowledge the source, authors, date or
>> include the preamble. I do have a copy somewhere of the original document
>> which I'm trying to find in my too numerous archives. I've found the
>> original Arid Zones PDC Handbook by Bill and it seems some of this has
been
>> incorporated into Scott's edited version "PDC Outline". The original PDC
>> Handbook as issued by The Permaculture Institute (Australia) was written
by
>> Bill Mollison, Andrew Jeeves and Reny Slay.
>>
>> Re Third Ethic, what Bill taught in the courses I did and co-taught with
>> him in the 80s & early 90s, was " to recognise and establish limits to
>> growth and consumption and disperse surplus to support care of the earth
>> and care of people".  Bill had a habit of rephrasing this third ethic and
>> also his pc principles, so there's many different versions, which can be
>> somewhat confusing.
>>
>> I have only every heard Bill talk of three ethics, not four.  There are
>> some permies trying to introduce a fourth ethic "Spirit Care" but
>> personally don't support this idea, as it nests within the first two -
i.e.
>> providing for peoples material and non-material needs
>>
>> Under the catch cry "Fair Share" i introduce the first part of ethic 3,
>> limits to growth and consumption, in the context of designing and living
>> within our ecological footprint (to use/consume more than our share is
>> 'unfair' and effectively stealing from future generations, as well as
>> contributing to current inequity in the world) and that all natural, and
>> subsequently human, systems have limits, then second to this comes the
>> ethical sharing of surpluses  we might generate.
>>
>> Robyn
>>
>>
>> On 24/03/2014, at 4:39 AM, Toby Hemenway wrote:
>>
>>> Couple of questions:
>>>
>>> Who wrote the handbook that LL linked to at
>>>
>>> Permaculture Institute/Scott Pittman: Publication2 - PDC-Outline.pdf
>>> http://www.permaculture.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/PDC-Outline.pdf
>>>
>>> This has been around in various forms for many years, and this is a
>> revised version of the one I got in 1994. I've never seen an author's
name
>> on it.
>>> Second question: What is the 3rd ethic? In the Designer's Manual on P 2
>> Mollison says that the 3rd ethic is
>>> "3. Setting limits to population and consumption: By governing our own
>> needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles" [Bill
is
>> referring to ethics 1 and 2, care of earth and care of people--which he
>> confusingly calls "principles."]
>>> So--how did "set limits to population and consumption" get turned into
>> "share the surplus"? Bill muddled the issue by adding "we can set
resources
>> aside" to his "set limits" injunction, but still--how did we drop the
whole
>> "set limits" piece so that so many people think that the 3rd ethic has
>> always been "share the surplus" when it never has been that, according to
>> Bill?
>>> Toby
>>> http://patternliteracy.com
>>>
>>>
>>> On Mar 23, 2014, at 1:17 AM, Steve Hart <stevenlawrencehart at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>>> Thanks for that Scotty
>>>>
>>>> This brings up memory....you say
>>>>
>>>> "At some point the fourth ethic was
>>>> dropped from the teaching of permaculture and that ethic, *reduction
of*
>>>> *population and consumerism*, was and is critical to our future path."
>>>>
>>>> I too like yourself have issue with the diversion of the 3rd Ethic
which
>>>> has always been from the beginning "Share the Surplus" not the watered
>> down
>>>> version "Fair Share" which has an entirely different meaning
>>>>
>>>> As you also say
>>>>
>>>> " Not the watered down version of permaculture
>>>> that is currently being flogged by to many incompetent teachers and
>>>> practitioners but the version that I believe was envisioned by Bill
>>>> Mollison's anger and David Holmgren's thoughtfulness"
>>>>
>>>> I continue the challenge to re-right this ship which is sinking fast
>>>> already listing badly, by plugging effort into the European
Permaculture
>>>> Teachers ( perma*teachers*.*eu )* series of conferences. IMO it is
>> critical
>>>> to get a recognised firm curricula (
>>>> http://www.permaculture.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/PDC-Outline.pdf)
>>>> as one basis for teaching. Then of course build an entity to develop
and
>>>> support the standards to maintain all this.
>>>>
>>>> Scotty, I'd like to see your paragraph on the detailed explanation of
>> the
>>>> 3rd & 4th ethic, to share amongst all
>>>>
>>>> Warm ones ...
>>>> Kia ora
>>>>
>>>> [image: Picture]
>>>> *Steve Hart*
>>>> Ecology Architect
>>>> skype: stevenlawrencehart
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>
>

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