“I have often found that the [permaculture] Ethics are taught in a watered-down and feel-good style, that does more to create good vibes and excitement than it does to challenge students, or help designers navigate the sometimes-murky waters of choosing clients, partners, and projects. If they get reduced to a story about tending our garden, then sharing our kale with our friends, and then composting our “surplus” kitchen scraps back into the garden, then what does the movement really gain by having ethics at all? Other than to say – with permaculture, it is so easy to be ethical.
The way I think about the Ethics – and the way I train future designers – revolves around the idea of putting some teeth in Ethics. “Care” is a tricky term, after all – it can refer to emotion alone. Like: “In my heart, I truly care for the Earth, and so I shed a single tear every time I turn the key and start up my Hummer.” I prefer to think that, as used in the Ethics, it refers to the action of caring – of taking care of something. So the question becomes, how do I know when I am taking care of the earth, of people?”
Rafter Sass Ferguson
- Video: Rafter Sass on Permaculture & Farming Research (flxpermaculture.net)