There is incredible power in working together with people from different fields of expertise, united by common values. Expanding the permaculture community to ally with other fields, effectively growing business ecosystems that are mutually supportive, can exponentially magnify the transformative impact of the permaculture philosophy.
Permaculture businesses commonly revolve around consultation, design, landscape architecture, natural building, farming, and education. But the opportunity also exists to infuse other areas of business and culture with permaculture ethics and principles, such as alternative medicine, personal development, and engineering.
Integrating ecological sustainability with social harmony is a core goal of permaculture ethics. The green business sector is growing quickly, with inspirational stories to be found just about everywhere. There are people like Ray Anderson, founder and former CEO of Interface, Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of modular carpet, who re-oriented his entire company’s mission statement towards zero waste sustainability after reading Paul Hawken’s book, The Ecology of Commerce. Now Interface has its own sustainability consulting branch, supporting other industrial corporations to also move towards zero waste sustainablility.
Eve Blossom is an architect whose life was changed when she witnessed the sale of a little girl in Thailand to a man for sex. She vowed to do something for these little girls, and eventually created Lulan Artisans, a sustainable textile company empowering village women to spin beautiful fabrics using renewable, local materials, sold to premium markets around the world. Their housing is made of local bamboo, they upcycle bicycle wheels for spinning looms, incorporate fibers from local agricultural wastes, and use natural dyes in all of their products. By employing women who would otherwise be prostituted for money to live, her company has saved the lives of countless young women.
While neither of these people would necessarily identify as permaculturists, their values speak for themselves, aligning them with the ethics of care for the earth, care for people, and sharing the surplus. So it is for many other professionals – doctors growing food and herbs using ecological principles, life coaches guiding clients newly awakened to global injustice to a path of positive, solution-oriented change, artists using upcycled and renewable materials to spread awareness and inspire participation, and engineers producing sustainable materials while cultivating a positive and creative working community.
By including the dynamic, diverse community of people from all walks of life, we increase our pool of skills and resources, we grow business ecosystems, and we empower communities all over the world to carry out real, lasting change.