Lately I've been thinking a lot about people care and what it means in permaculture, due to some life events and my general pondering nature. I jotted down some thoughts, and alas, this little article series emerged.

In this rant:

  • Is permaculture just a buzzword for ”better” organic gardening
  • People care vs. Bully culture
  • How to deal with imperfect people

Is permaculture just a fancy name for ”cooler” organic gardening?

Many people, often new to permaculture, seem to think that. On the other hand, many ”oldtimers” who learned about permaculture very early on, when it was still called permanent agriculture, are very adamant about it and its principles being used on land-based designs, on agricultural solutions only.

But the fact is, times change, and good tools are too scarce to be left to one single application field if they can serve in many different settings. Another fact is, that permaculture is based on ethics.

What are ethics?

The Oxford dictionary says ”Ethics are moral principles that govern a person's behaviour or the conducting of an activity”. So ethics are about morals, principles and actions. Aligning permaculture ethics with your own values enables you to practice permaculture while living authentically and actually being the change you want to see in the world. Just reciting the ethics but not really believing in them, or just believing in Earth care but not People care and/or fair share will at some point make you tired of the division between your beliefs, your talk and your actions.

The topic of this article is People care. As far as the permaculture ethics go, Earth care is clear for many, and Fair share is much debated in what it means, but what does the seemingly simple People care actually mean? says ”Look after self, kin and community. If people’s needs are met in compassionate and simple ways, the environment surrounding them will prosper.”

This opens many new questions 

  • Who are our kin and who are the communities? 
  • What does looking after even mean?

Understanding who we ourselves are is clear and we all know we should sleep more, eat more vegetables and be kind to ourselves in order to look after ourselves. Some benefit from therapy, some need a friend, some need a divorce to look after themselves.

But how can we take care of our kin, which I here choose to understand as family and friends, and communities? 

Some ideas I came up with

  • Be kind to each other
  • Help people in need
  • Create connections and make friends
  • Give feedback and keep people accountable for their actions ”call their bullshit"
  • But tolerate differences, value edge and the marginal
  • Accept your own responsibility of your life and actions instead of blaming other humans
  • Seek people to talk to that are different from us (use the edge & value the marginal)
  • Question the current culture.

Part 2 here 
Part 3 here