Lesson Three
What are the ethics of permaculture?

In this lesson you will learn:


The ethics of permaculture

When we talk about permaculture we can start by talking about the ethics because permaculture is an ethical design system.

The ethics are at the core of permaculture. They define how one should behave toward the earth and each other.

The three ethics of permaculture

1. Care of the earth means that our number one priority is taking care of the earth, making sure we don't damage its natural systems.

2. Care of the people means meeting people's needs so that people's lives can be sustained and have a good quality of life as well but without damaging the earth.

3. Accepting limits to population and consumption is realizing that as a human species we cannot continue to increase and also sustain the planet. We must put limits on our own growth and on our own consumption. Sometimes you will hear this ethic phrased as "share the surplus, invest all of your means in the first two ethics". This means limiting your consumption so that you can invest your resources in caring for the earth and caring for the people.


  1. Do you agree with the permaculture ethics? Why or why not?
  2. What are your ethics and how do they guide your personal lifestyle choices?
Lesson Two Lesson Four


Heathcote.org Home
Introduction/Table of Contents | What is sustainable living? | What is permaculture?
Ethics of permaculture | Seven principles of permaculture | How do you apply permaculture?
Useful strategies and techniques | Resources | Course Assessment | Glossary | Feedback