We must change our culture in fundamental ways to contract our economies and our populations and reduce production and consumption. Viable systems will need to be ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially just. How do we redevelop sustainable, relocalized, cooperative communities with systems goals of optimal well-being rather than optimal wealth? How do we create stable monetary systems that value nature at its replacement cost, and that can be reduced to match the contracting economies? How do we turn around the basic cultural assumption that what is good for us is good for the world? How do we develop ecological intelligence and holistic thinking again in ourselves and others?
It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.
We are going to have to gather up the fragments of knowledge and responsibilities that have been turned over to governments, corporations, and specialists, and put those fragments back together again in our own minds and in our families and household and neighborhoods.
― Wendell Berry
- To promote systems change, foster community and cultivate networks
- Work at multiple levels of scale
- Make space for self-organization
- Seize breakthrough opportunities when they arise
- Facilitate — but give up the illusion that you can direct — change
- Assume that change is going to take time
- Be prepared to be surprised
David Holmgren-Permaculture Design Ethics & Principles
“Central to permaculture are the three ethics: care for the earth, care for people and fair share. They form the foundation for permaculture design and are also found in most traditional societies.
Ethics are culturally evolved mechanisms that regulate self-interest, giving us a better understanding of good and bad outcomes. The greater the power of humans, the more critical ethics become for long-term cultural and biological survival.
Permaculture ethics are distilled from research into community ethics, learning from cultures that have existed in relative balance with their environment for longer than more recent civilisations. This does not mean that we should ignore the great teachings of modern times, but in the transition to a sustainable future, we need to consider values and concepts outside the current social norm” (Holmgren)
- Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
- Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
- Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
- Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
- Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
- Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
- Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
- Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
- Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
- Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
- Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
- Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time
Larry Merculieff on Sustainability above, more at Nativeperspectives.net
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. –Edward Abbey