Saturday, May 1, 2010

Permaculture Ethics Lesson #1

If you have been anywhere near a radio or TV in the last few days I am sure you have heard about the oil spill that is happening in the Gulf. I say "is happening" because it is an on going event. To date, they still have not been able to cap this thing and stop the thousands of gallons of oil that is pouring into the ocean every day. To say the least, I am more than a little annoyed at this situation. I am annoyed for more than one reason. Not only is this an environmental disaster but it stands to affect my home state for which I am not very happy.

As irritating as all of this is, it is not the core of what I wanted to talk about today. As we make our preparations for creating a simpler life and I focus on using Permaculture to create a harmonious living environment, recent events have made me think about the ethics behind Permaculture. For those who are not familiar with Permaculture I thought I would discuss the three ethics that lie at the heart of Permaculture and how these ethics translate into our everyday lives.

Care of the Earth

This is the first ethic in Permaculture. It is a fairly obvious statement, but it means our first priority is to take care of the planet and not damage the systems that we depend on. So what does this mean? Does it mean we should recycle, compost, and conserve water? Of course, but we have to go a little deeper to find the true value of this ethic.  

For a person to have a deep concern for the Earth, we must have a relationship with it. This relationship must be developed over time and it also needs to have a healthy dose of respect thrown in. We develop this relationship by spending time in nature. Listening to its rhythms and watching the changing of the seasons. Unfortunately, the majority of people in our society have become disconnected from the world around us. I am no exception but I am slowly correcting this problem and working on my own relationship with nature.

Because of this disconnect, many people do not respect the world around them and have trouble fully comprehending the damage we do to our environment and what this means for us. As we gain an understanding of how the world around us functions, then we can understand how we fit within the grand scheme of things. We cannot count on some government agency or our children's schools to take us by the hand and show us how to have this relationship with nature either. This is something personal that we all must take the time to explore and discover. Then, we can teach our children so that this pattern of consumerism and abuse is broken. 

So the next time you spend some time outside, think about our connection to the earth and the ethic of Care for the Earth. What does it mean to you and how you interact with the world around you?

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