[permaculture] The 4th Ethic

Toby Hemenway toby at patternliteracy.com
Sun Mar 23 13:39:47 EDT 2014

Couple of questions:

Who wrote the handbook that LL linked to at

Permaculture Institute/Scott Pittman: Publication2 - PDC-Outline.pdf

This has been around in various forms for many years, and this is a revised version of the one I got in 1994. I've never seen an author's name on it. 

Second question: What is the 3rd ethic? In the Designer's Manual on P 2 Mollison says that the 3rd ethic is

"3. Setting limits to population and consumption: By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles" [Bill is referring to ethics 1 and 2, care of earth and care of people--which he confusingly calls "principles."]

So--how did "set limits to population and consumption" get turned into "share the surplus"? Bill muddled the issue by adding "we can set resources aside" to his "set limits" injunction, but still--how did we drop the whole "set limits" piece so that so many people think that the 3rd ethic has always been "share the surplus" when it never has been that, according to Bill?


On Mar 23, 2014, at 1:17 AM, Steve Hart <stevenlawrencehart at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks for that Scotty
> This brings up memory....you say
> "At some point the fourth ethic was
> dropped from the teaching of permaculture and that ethic, *reduction of*
> *population and consumerism*, was and is critical to our future path."
> I too like yourself have issue with the diversion of the 3rd Ethic which
> has always been from the beginning "Share the Surplus" not the watered down
> version "Fair Share" which has an entirely different meaning
> As you also say
> " Not the watered down version of permaculture
> that is currently being flogged by to many incompetent teachers and
> practitioners but the version that I believe was envisioned by Bill
> Mollison's anger and David Holmgren's thoughtfulness"
> I continue the challenge to re-right this ship which is sinking fast
> already listing badly, by plugging effort into the European Permaculture
> Teachers ( perma*teachers*.*eu )* series of conferences. IMO it is critical
> to get a recognised firm curricula (
> http://www.permaculture.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/PDC-Outline.pdf )
> as one basis for teaching. Then of course build an entity to develop and
> support the standards to maintain all this.
> Scotty, I'd like to see your paragraph on the detailed explanation of the
> 3rd & 4th ethic, to share amongst all
> Warm ones ...
> Kia ora
> [image: Picture]
> *Steve Hart*
> Ecology Architect
> skype: stevenlawrencehart
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