[permaculture] The Earth Bank

Andrew McSwain aeromax.way at gmail.com
Fri Feb 19 21:16:50 EST 2010

Thank you very much Wesley and Robyn. Just the little effort you guys put in
to share this information has already helped me tremendously in
understanding the field that stands before me.  I'll check out the Credit
Union and hunt down copies of that Journal.

I am a business and investment specialist, but I started my foray into the
permaculture scene and "alternative perspectives" long before i got heavily
involved with the finance world.

 Basically what I am creating is a mechanism that functions like a siphon- a
Robin Hood Bank- to suck money from the financial sector (financial capital;
i.e. money) through a variety of convoluted investment schemes then and
transform it into social and ecological capital, that is, forms that can
benefit society and the earth. Hopefully in the process it will also provide
a solution to some of our culture's pathologies/neurosis and improve the
quality of our spiritual life.

Projects like
•Credit Unions that fund renewable energy installations for schools,
•Insurance and Retirement for Change-Agents,
•and funding permaculture initiatives in the Brazillian Forests (in
conjunction with the Landless Movement) as a solution for deforestation
(among the fifty million other issues that permaculture addresses)

I've become almost positive that the structure of this enterprise will have
more than one legal title. I've been looking at a number of different
models, and i think the one it comes closest to it is a Japanese Keiretsu: A
central holding company that controls a variety of inter-dependent
organizations. I understand how it would function, but there are some doubts
about how to actually go about putting it into practice effectively.

Having a record of what Robyn called a "comprehensive written record" would
be invaluable for my efforts.

On Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 8:13 PM, Robyn Francis <erda at nor.com.au> wrote:

> I was instrumental in getting the Earthbank Society going in Sydney
> Australia in 1984 with Robert Rosen, Alice Wise and several others. It was
> never established to handle any money or funds, but to promote the concepts
> and strategies for ethical investment, community economics and right
> livelihood.
> We ran several national Earthbank Conferences in the '80s that put the
> concept of ethical investment on the radar of the mainstream business
> community and media, and inspired numerous ethical investment funds,
> community loan initiatives and promoted LETs and complimentary currencies
> here in OZ. Robert Rosen became a key player working within the emerging
> Ethical Investment movement over the next few decades, and is now often
> referred to as the 'father' of EI in Australia. The Earthbank played its
> role as an important catalyst. It no longer exists but what it inspired
> lives on.
> The PIJ (Permaculture International Journal) used to have an Earthbank
> Section, which is probably the most comprehensive written record of its
> activities and the EI and Community economic initiatives from the late
> '80's
> to 2000. None of this has been put on the web.
> Re legal structures, as with any enterprise the appropriate one for the job
> is selected. In Australia there's investment trusts, Maleny Credit Union,
> community systems have used non-for-profit legal structures such as Company
> Limited by Guarantee and Incorporated Associations.
> There's a lot of interesting case studies I could share, and would love to
> go into more detail but have other urgent tasks clamouring for attention...
> Ciao
> Robyn
> On 20/02/10 1:14 AM, "Andrew McSwain" <aeromax.way at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I ran across an audio recording of Bill Mollison called "Funding The
> > Revolution" wherein he described his use of credit-unions and
> > socially-responsible investment banking to fund permaculture projects
> > worldwide. He named his project The Earth Bank.
> >
> > There doesn't seem to be an online presence. Is it still in existence?
> > Where/How can I contact them?
> >
> > If not that's not much of a matter for me, My real interest is in
> learning
> > more about the history of it's formation as well as the actual business
> > model (combination of legal structures used, how they applied them,
> etc.).
> >
> > If anyone can help me out, you would make my day! :D
> >
> >
> > Thx,
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Andrew Edwin McSwain
055(11)6785-1176 (São Paulo)
01(501)681-0439 (United States)

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