[permaculture] What happened to the third ethic?

Rain Tenaqiya raincascadia at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 14 17:23:32 EDT 2009

Although Bill Mollison wasn't a perfect example of someone that adhered to the third permaculture ethic, his wording in the Designer's Manual is:
"Setting limits to population and consumption: by governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles."
Somehow this has been turned into a simple directive to "share the surplus," at least in the US.  What happened?  Without limiting consumption and reproduction, there will be no surplus to share.  A sustainable lifestyle requires radical restraint relative to mainstream habits in the US.  Anyone who thinks they can fly around the planet on vacations (or even permaculture courses) or produce their own biological children is not practicing permaculture, as far as I'm concerned.  This is just more crappy mainstream environmentalism that assumes we can keep living outrageously selfish lifestyles as long as we change a few lighbulbs and drive a Prius.
I advocate a third ethic which combines the following:
1. limit population and consumption
2. create a surplus
3. share (redistribute) the surplus
Can anyone think of a succinct way to say this?


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