Permaculture Ethics: "Care of the Earth, Care of the people, Share the surplus" - Bill Mollison
I recently listened to a lecture by the director of the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, Geoff Lawton. I really enjoyed what he said about ancient cultures and ethics. In order to live in community, people lived by an average of 18 ethical principles, they lived harmoniously (within their tribes) with each other and their environment. Creating and living by a system of ethics meant life and harmony vs. disorder, chaos and possibly death. Where are our current ethics? If they are not taught at home, when and where are they discussed? You don't really hear of the word? Is this part of why current reality is not in harmony? Is it because ethics and values are no longer part of our consciousness? Is it missing in interactions with each other, with our environment? Is this why greed is rampant, even at the cost of our environment and ourselves? Permaculture has 3 ethical principles, Geoff stated, that with these as a minimum, societies etc. can live more harmonious and sustainably. They are: Care of the Earth, Care of the people, Share the surplus (back into both). Perhaps people can begin to discuss and identify what ethics are, or even a virtue? Then perhaps once again, they can be a part of society at large. I love this diagram because it illustrates Native American virtues (which are related and connected to ethical principles) that were valued and I believe created much more harmony and happiness in communities.
Wisdom:..... To cherish knowledge is to know Wisdom. Wisdom is given by the Creator to be used for the good of the people. In the Anishinaabe language, this word expresses not only “wisdom,” but also means “prudence,” or “intelligence.” In some communities, Gikendaasowin is used; in addition to “wisdom,” this word can also mean “intelligence” or “knowledge.”
Love:..... To know Love is to know peace. Love must be unconditional. When people are weak they need love the most. In the Anishinaabe language, this word with the reciprocal theme /idi/ indicates that this form of love is mutual. In some communities, Gizhaawenidiwin is used, which in most context means “jealousy” but in this context is translated as either “love” or “zeal”. Again, the reciprocal theme /idi/ indicates that this form of love is mutual.
Respect:..... To honor all creation is to have Respect. All of creation should be treated with respect. You must give respect if you wish to be respected. Some communities instead use Ozhibwaadenindiwin or Manazoonidiwin.
Bravery:........ Bravery is to face the foe with integrity. In the Anishinaabe language, this word literally means “state of having a fearless heart.” To do what is right even when the consequences are unpleasant. Some communities instead use either Zoongadikiwin (“state of having a strong casing”) or Zoongide’ewin (“state of having a strong heart”).
Honesty:........ Honesty in facing a situation is to be brave. Always be honest in word and action. Be honest first with yourself, and you will more easily be able to be honest with others. In the Anishinaabe language, this word can also mean “righteousness.”
Humility: ......Humility is to know yourself as a sacred part of Creation. In the Anishinaabe language, this word can also mean “compassion.” You are equal to others, but you are not better. Some communities instead express this with Bekaadiziwin, which in addition to “humility” can also be translated as “calmness,” “meekness,” “gentility” or “patience.”
Truth:....... Truth is to know all of these things. Speak the truth. Do not deceive yourself or others.
My parents are 100% Ecuadorian. My father was born and raised in Alausi, Ecuador and my mother is from Southern Ecuador, Catamayo.
You might be familiar with Catamayo if you are familiar with Vilcababma (in the Valley of Longevity) there is a large and growing ex-pat community there.
Speaking of longevity, both sets of grandparents lived into their 100's. They told me the formula is low stress, clean food, moving your body and of course, love...
My parents bought the farm before they had any of us, about 45 years ago. They had in mind retiring there, or moving back to Ecuador sooner. Something always got in the way.
They did finally move back, in 2006 to retire.
Unfortunately, my dad became ill from 2008 forward, until he passed on in late October 2010. He was hard working, and I think one thing that kept him going was getting back to his country and his land. He always imagined us all returning and enjoying living there. He was always very proud of where he came from. He was an honorable man, with integrity and a love for simple things. He laughed, a lot and loud, always joking. He had many dear and old friends in Alausi. He contributed to his community in any way he could. He was, and is still very much loved there.
While sick in the hospital, he asked me to please keep the land
and do something with it. I said yes, of course...and here I am!
I basically took a PDC (permaculture design course), since I had heard so much about Permaculture being the answer to the many environmental and social issues of the modern world. I took the course and fell in love. I have always been a nature lover and once I discovered that our current farming practices of monocultures and GMO's (genetically modified organisms) are by far the most damaging to our environment than anything else we are doing, I knew this was the best use of the land. A teaching farm and demonstration site filled me with lots of ideas and excitement. My passion for permaculture was born.
This planet is paradise, custom made for human beings and all it's creatures, it's just that human's have forgotten. There is a disconnect, from the fact that we are mammals, we are nature! The further people get away from this knowing, the more harm we do to ourselves and the earth. As any animal would not destroy it's own environment.
My connection to nature is also my early memorable experiences in Ecuador. Both sets of grandparents, were connected to the land. My mother's parents were farmers, as well as my father's mother, was the care taker of my parents farm in their absence. My entire childhood was spent either on the farms or immersed in nature. I am very comfortable there, I suppose it's in my DNA, and if you think of it, it is in everyone's from our ancestry...
Human's may be "at the top of the food chain," so to speak, yet to me, having more intelligence and the ability to reason and talk makes me a steward. Responsible for all the creatures and the earth. Not a callus taker, consuming until there is little or nothing left for future generations? People argue, that the earth can replenish herself, yes she does, always coming back to balance, however that may mean people are out, since our species is not in equilibrium. I sometimes ask myself, this maybe the current evolutionary trajectory, and humans are meant to go? I also believe that the intelligence that created us makes no mistakes. Humans can have an enormous impact for good, we can actually help nature, work with her instead of against.
Everything I have ever fallen in love with in regards to earth stewardship, permaculture and what I feel I can do to make a difference is what I am committed to co-creating here...
"Permaculture, reforestation, sustainable education, health, shamanistic studies (ancestral wisdom), agritourism, voluntourism..."
The prophecy of the eagle & the condor is very fitting, as I am planning to host various experts from both North and South America, in a wide range of sustainable farming practices, with a focus on permaculture.
I am grateful to my parents for helping me re-discover my passion in sustainability and to be able to use this farm as an example for others looking to do the same.
Thank you for reading.