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Ethical Basis of an Alternative Nation

Bill Mollison's Permaculture Design Manual
I started reading the final chapter of Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual with the hope of gleaning insight into how to create resilient and regenerative communities. The title of the chapter is: Strategies for an Alternative Nation.

It is basically about how we must develop an ethic and practice that places care for the earth at an equal footing to care for people. By doing so we can avoid the perpetual destruction of the global commons and bring about a sustainable society.

Here are some of the highlights from my reading so far:

  • Few sustainable systems are designed by those who hold power because letting people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to loose economic and political power over them
  • We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems or governments to help us. We should instead devise ways to help ourselves.
  • We start by defining a nation as a people subscribing to a common ethic and aspiring to a similar culture. This culture must be minimally defined by a need:
    • To care for the earth; to repair and conserve
    • To seek peace, and to guard human rights everywhere
    • To invest all capital, intelligence, goodwill and labour to these ends
  • A people without an agreed-upon common basis to their actions is neither a community nor a nation
  • We lay waste to our lives in proportion to the way in which the systems we support lay waste to the environment
  • Meaning in life is lost by striving after status and future glory; it is gained and realized by action towards a common ideal, in serving the whole according to our physical, mental, educational, and revelationary (understanding) capacities. It is never enough to mean well (“fair words plant no cabbages”), rather it is necessary to ensure that it gets done.
  • If an ethical and responsible community can establish a durable, dependable and waste-free resource base, then leisure time becomes a plentiful resource
  • Until we have demonstrated that we can establish a productive and secure earth society, we do not belong anywhere else, nor (I suspect) would be welcome elsewhere

In my circles of friends the ethics mentioned above are fairly ubiquitous but when I look to the larger society they appear to be largely absent. What thoughts do you have on how you can promote a wide-spread consciousness shift so that people start to live their life based on the ethics of: earth care, people care and fair share?

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