[permaculture] What happened to the third ethic?

Rain Tenaqiya raincascadia at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 15 18:23:42 EDT 2009

The basis of ethics is the use of restraint.  It is one of the things that make people unique as a species.  Since we can understand the results of our behavior, we are responsible (able to respond) for it.  Restraint is an essential ingredient of sustainable culture.  So is self-awareness and self-evaluation.  We must constantly look at ourselves and our behavior to see if we are creating the kind of reality that we want.
The third permaculture ethic asks us to use restraint so that we can create abundance, for people as well as other species and the planet as a whole.  So far the most succinct expression for this that I have found is David Holmgren's:
Set limits to consumption and reproduction, and redistribute surplus.
He has a good discussion of this ethic in his Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability.  It is time that we start taking this ethic more seriously in our educational and design efforts.


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