Permaculture design philosophy is based on three fundamental ethics: Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share. These three ethics work together to inform decision-making and design processes, as well as support our communities and ecosystems.
These ethics were originally formulated by the co-founders of permaculture, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren
Permaculture must be practiced with the intention of caring for the environment. Permaculture philosophy considers the well-being of every aspect of the local ecosystem in its design and maintenance.
The Earth Care ethic is met when you create a healthy, life-sustaining environment. A good indicator of this is soil health. If the soil is nutrient-rich and flourishing with organisms, it is a good sign that the whole ecosystem is healthy. No single element, including humans, can be healthy if the system that contains and supports them is not healthy, making Earth Care crucial for creating a successful permaculture garden.
People Care entails nurturing and supporting individuals and our kin, emphasizing self-reliance, personal responsibility, and fostering a sense of community. It recognizes the reciprocal relationship between caring for the Earth and caring for ourselves, as a healthy environment directly contributes to our well-being. By extending the benefits of environmental stewardship to human well-being, People Care creates a synergy between the sustainability of our ecosystems and the vitality of our communities.
Fair Share is the concept of setting limits to consumption and redistributing surpluses so that they can be used productively. Fair Share ensures that as we create holistic systems capable of supporting our communities, distributing the support and resources we create equitably. This means setting limits to our own consumption so that others can benefit, and collectively considering the needs of the next generation.
The three ethics of permaculture provide a moral compass for practitioners to create regenerative relationships between humans and nature. By adhering to these ethics, permaculturists strive to create systems that are resilient, self-renewing, and beneficial to both people and the planet.