The 3 ethics of Permaculture underpin everything we do. They are the core and the foundation. These ethical underpinnings of permaculture are introduced at the beginning of every course and book on the topic.
The permaculture ethics are generally expressed as:
- Earth Care -- Kaitiakitanga
- Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply.
Earth care encompasses the care of the soil, care of all living systems, concepts like Gaia
- People Care -- Whanaungatanga
- Provision for people to live as fully functioning human beings, in all our complexity and weirdness, and to access the resources necessary for our existence.
People Care starts with the self - if you don't take care of yourself you can't care for anyone else!
From the self, People Care spreads out to kin and community.
- Fair Share -- Manaakitanga
- Variations of the third ethic include: "return the surplus"; “contribution of surplus time, money, and energy” and “set limits to consumption and reproduction, and redistribute surplus”..
By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further our ethics.
Many permaculturists feel ethically bound to share their ideas and enthusiasm for permaculture and are active in various education efforts involving permaculture. The ethical commitment of permaculturists to care for the planet and share their commitment with others makes them ideal candidates as ambassadors for sustainability and, as citizen scientists. Such an ethically bound person may be more willing to take time to visit a science class at a local school or host a site visit on their property. A commitment to the Earth, to people, and to sharing puts permaculturists in the position to help make science more relevant, more local, more experiential, and more hopeful for students worldwide. They can do this by sharing their experiences with the applied sciences of sustainable practices and the use of ecological design.