[permaculture] permacultural investing

Michael Kramer MKramer at hawaii.rr.com
Sat Jan 3 20:54:14 EST 2004

A lot of people ask me about the relationship between my work as a permaculture teacher trainer and my profession as a socially responsible investment (SRI) advisor. Aside from the fact the SRI is one of the topics included in the invisible structures component of the basic design course, there hasn't been a whole lot of attention within the permacultural community towards money. Of course, we do have the Permaculture Credit Union, which is an astounding accomplishment, but I see that more as a Zone 1-3 strategy, a way to circulate capital amongst like-minded folks towards more sustainable ends, such as greener car and home loans and permacultural small business enterprises. As a Zone 4-5 strategy, SRI offers the opportunity to influence the wider economy by redirecting resources away from degenerative sectors of the economy, such as polluters, oil, the military-industrial complex, and sweatshops while supporting more regenerative activities such as organic food, biodegradable products, and renewable energy. As permaculturists, I hope we see the value of participating in all the zones of influence, for money is clearly a tool we can use to hold corporations accountable. The days of protests, boycotts and lawsuits as our only recourse are over - now we can own companies and try to change them from the inside or conversely support the competition if they choose to embrace better practices and products. Little by little, we can change capitalism so it reflect more of our permacultural values. It will take time, and certainly there is plenty of compromise along the way, but the trend is encouraging: 11% of managed money in the stock market is now socially screened, so we're not talking about small potatoes or fringe people anymore; it's mainstream. There are 200 SRI mutual funds and $2.3 trillion invested in better companies and/or community development financial institutions (including the assets of the Permaculture Credit Union). These are exciting times; all the corporate scandals are giving rise to far greater ethical considerations in the rules that govern corporations, which is what's been needed for generations. So with crisis there is opportunity, and I encourage any and all permaculturists to put their money where their values are and join the movement to transform the economy.



Michael Kramer
Natural Investment Services
P.O. Box 390595
Keauhou, HI 96739
Michael at NaturalInvesting.com

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."
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