[permaculture] The Earth Bank

Wesley Roe and Santa Barbara Permaculture Network lakinroe at silcom.com
Sat Feb 20 08:19:04 EST 2010

hi Andrew
    The other organizations that is looking into 
New models of Finance is the Slow Money Alliance 
www.slowmoneyalliance.org here in the US, I 
attended their first convention in Santa Fe in 
Sept and am helping with a local chapter here in 
Santa Barbara

>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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