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Harness the Power of Permaculture to Redesign Your Life for Resilient Living

Author Bernard Alonso

Author Cécile Guiochon

In Human Permaculture: Life Design for Resilient Living, authors Bernard Alonso and Cecile Guiochon use the principles of permaculture and apply them to redesigning your life and community to align with the resources available on the planet. In today’s blog we reflect on permaculture ethics and how they relate to human permaculture and allow us to put our talents at the service of the environment and live ethically.

Excerpt from the Book

Permaculture Ethics

In adhering to the ethics of permaculture, permaculturists commit to:

Care for the Earth

Here, caring means protecting, it means paying attention, and offering respect and gratitude. “Earth care” applies to living things in all strata of the ecosphere. These include the life of the soil and subsoil, microorganisms, the world invisible to the naked eye (the most populous and oft-forgotten world); water in all its forms, marine and other aquatic life; the atmosphere, the air, and the gaseous components needed for life; and the other planets that influence life on Earth, as well as invisible realities (depending on individuals’ beliefs).

Care for humans

“People care” means ensuring that every person, starting in childhood, is given the proper conditions to live, grow, develop consciousness, achieve their potential in all dimensions, and do what they were born to do. It means ensuring that every individual has access to the abundance that is an inherent principle of life. It means organizing work to ensure human beings struggle as little as possible to produce the goods they need.

Share resources fairly and redistribute the surplus

Given that our planet has limited resources and is home to a rapidly growing human population, permaculture encourages sobriety in production and consumption. It calls for the “fair share” of natural resources and goods. It encourages people to strike a just balance between the needs of each person — present and future — and those of other living organisms (human, animal, and plant).

Defining Human Permaculture

“Human permaculture” is created by the interaction of individuals within a “team.” Teammates organize their work around projects in which each person has the opportunity to express their particular skills (their “niche”) by reaching for a common objective, all while applying the three foundational ethics proposed by permaculture: earth care, people care, and fair share.

The term we created, human permaculture, is intended to go much further than social human interrelations: communication, caring, and functioning around societal rules, etc. Human permaculture projects are built around the human qualities and capabilities that are present (rather than those that aren’t), which stimulates the creation of enhanced exchange zones — a well-known concept (“edge effect” or “border effect”) in the world of permaculture for those regions of greater diversity of life where ecosystems meet and overlap.

  • Social permaculture is about human interrelation.
  • Human permaculture is about the interaction of human talents, which are woven together in teams to create Life in all its forms.

The two approaches are complementary. Human permaculture contributes:

  • The idea of the individual life design, also known as the life plan.
  • The expression of niche profiles that belong to each individual.
  • The exchange zone (border effect), i.e., the stimulation of talents that merge within a team to spark collective intelligence and genius.

This functioning can be observed in the wild in a number of social species such as termites, bees, and lions. It also seems to appear in the complex construction of our modern societies — which have nevertheless forgotten an elementary principle: that every life is imbued with its own function, its own niche, flowing from the fact that it possesses the biological tools required to express itself.

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