For many people, sustainability is still a new or misunderstood concept. For many others, like “green”, sustainability it is quickly becoming a buzzword with little meaning. It has become a marketing term to peddle products to a hip and progressive population.
At it’s core, sustainability means the ability to sustain or endure – and this has deep implications. Far from choosing new products in our consumer culture, sustainability has to do with a quality of life that has the potential to endure generation to generation. It has to do with a reverence and nurturing of life. At it’s best, it is a holistic concept that includes our social interactions, our economic structures, and the physical environment that we share.
Foundational to a holistic perspective on sustainability is an understanding of Permaculture Design. While sustainability has become popularized over the past decade, Permaculture Design, established in the late 1970’s, provides support and clarity for the issues at hand. With very clear ethics and principles, Permaculture Design provides a system that a holistic understanding of sustainability can be built on.
The Permaculture Ethics provide a grounding and sense of place in the larger scheme of things, and serve as a guidepost to right livelihood in relationship to the global community and the environment. It acknowledges a basic life ethic, which recognizes the intrinsic worth of every living thing.
- Care of Earth
…includes all living and non-living things – plants, animals, land, water and air
- Care of People
…promotes self-reliance and community responsibility – access to resources necessary for existence
- Fair Share
…sets voluntary limits to population and consumption – distributes surplus to achieve the aims of earth and people care.
Here are a couple of great Permaculture resources: