Permaculture ethics series: People care

This week we are going to look at the People Care ethic that underpins Permaculture design and thinking.
People care really begins with us as human beings, it then expands out into the relationships that we have with other people, such as our families, friends, partners and those who we know and interact with on a daily basis.

Its about you, your neighbours, the wider community, and the whole world!

There are a few elements of people care that we need to consider, caring for people is about having access to resources that are necessary for our existence so that we are able to live a healthy and harmonious life, within this context the people care ethic is really about both our own well being and the well being of other individuals and communities.

How to care for people

In caring for people we really mean connecting on an emotional and social level with those around us to ensure mutually beneficial relationships can be fostered and developed. On an emotional level we can care for people by helping them to ensure that they are able to access things that are likely to help with well being, this can be something as simple as the sharing of ideas about nutrition, sharing our knowledge of food growing,  medicinal plants and herbs and methods of relaxation.

One huge leap forward that we could all make in relation to people care is to adopt an anti-competitive and pro-cooperation approach in our everyday interactions and engagements, instead of thinking ‘what will I gain from this’ we need to start thinking ‘What can we achieve from this’ I’m sure many who are reading this will have heard the phrase ‘Putting people before profit’ this is exactly what the people care ethic of permaculture means.

We have moved a long way away from our community roots, and its time that we moved back to them, and developed long lasting and fruitful relationships on the way with those that we know and those whom we will meet in the future.

People care and the development of a Permanent Culture

Without the positive interaction and synergy that we are able to bring about through the people care ethic, we would simply be in a world composed of uncaring and selfish individuals, as we are at present. In order to change our selves, our communities, and the wider society the people care ethic asks us to consider each other and our needs, at present this is a difficult way to think and adopt when everyone around us seems to be out for whatever they can get and only interested in servicing number one.

The cult of Individualism that is part and parcel of Neoliberal Capitalist thought has tried to teach us that there are only individuals as opposed to collectivism and commonality. The philosophy of individualism is an illusion, the human world can only shape and move by collective action alone, and it is this collective action that is at the heart of people care in terms of how we interact and achieve things as human beings. Capitalism will be unable to operate in the reckless way it does if we have strong communities and stronger links with our families and those around us, Capitalism requires fragmentation for it to work effectively, the people care ethic goes against this fragmentation and has the ability to bring people together.

Once we begin to look at relationships and people through the People Care ethic, a whole new world of connection and development becomes possible, and it is by caring for ourselves and others that we are able to expose the false illusion of individualism.

On a personal level and in the context of developing a Permanent culture for the future, the people care ethic represents a return to being human as opposed to being a consumer, a worker, or whatever else tag has attached itself to us on the way.

Capitalism and the Politics of individualism has led us down a dangerous garden path, it tries to make us believe that only our own selfish material gains are important, this attitude and way of being is largely responsible for the wholesale rape of the planet in that it makes it OK and justifiably to just keep buying and replacing stuff with more stuff without a care or concern about the sane resource use and equality.


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