The Permaculture Ethics Behind Design
for Sustainable Living and Self Sufficiency

Although Permaculture is about design, it is also applying values and ethics that exercise our personal responsibility for the impact of our existence on Earth.

"The sad reality is that we are in danger of perishing from our own stupidity and lack of personal responsibility to life….

It is our lives which are being laid to waste.

What is worse, it is our children’s world which is being destroyed."

Bill Mollison, 1988.

Permaculture ouroboros, a symbol of the enviroment ethic




Permaculture is a practical, positive approach to designing systems for environment and lifestyle sustainability that has at its core a fundamental set of values or ethics.

While Permaculture design can be applied to an infinite range of human centred situations and systems, these core principles underpin all Permaculture design for sustainable living irrespective of the application in question.

These 'ethics' are:

Care of the Earth

We all ultimately depend on the Earth for our survival, so we need to ensure our actions promote the health of all life ecosystems.

"What man does to the Earth, he does to himself"

American Indian Chief Seattle, 1894.

Set of Ethics on Natural Systems:

1. Protect remaining natural forests from any further disturbance.

2. Rehabilitate degraded natural systems to a stable state.

3. Establish ecological refuges for threatened species.

4. Use the LEAST amount of land possible for establishing plant systems for our own use.

Care of People

We will either survive together or none of us will survive, so we need to ensure that all people have enough to meet their needs for existence. The peace and the sustainability of society depend on this.

Limiting Consumption

The western obsession with materialism and growth at any cost have overtaxed the Earth’s resources and led us to the very brink of annihilation.

Our consumptive lifestyle needs to be limited to what is “enough” so that there is some left over for the needs of Earth’s ecosystem and all its people.

Treading Lightly...

For each of us, our ecological impact or footprint on the planet is measured by the resources we consume, and the waste we create.

Permaculture ethics dictate a conservative approach to the use of natural resources that is eco-efficient and non-wasteful. They urge us to live simply so that others may simply live.

It is about thoughtful and careful consumption so that we don’t squander today what our children will need tomorrow…

We already have all the know-how and technology needed to achieve sustainable living for all the world’s people using Permaculture ethics as a guide. Let’s start today!



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