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.