Ethical Homesteading vs. Unethical Homesteading

On This Episode of The Modern Homesteading Podcast, Harold and Rachel Discuss Ethical vs. Unethical Homesteading and The 3 Ethics of Permaculture.

The Modern Homesteading Podcast, Episode 176 – December 19, 2022

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Ethical Homesteading is a way that takes responsibility for the earth, other people, and gives thought to the future.

Unethical Homesteading would be doing it in a way that only gives thought to one’s immediate desire with no thought for damage to the earth, how it affects others, and with no concern for what will be available for future generations.

Defining The 3 Ethics of Permaculture

Earth Care includes all living and non-living things, such as animals and plants, as well as land, water, and air. All living and non-living systems are interconnected and interdependent. When one is affected, all are affected.

People Care begins with ourselves. We then extend to the next closest circle of people in our lives, our families, then our neighbors, our local community, and then the greater community, and ultimately, all of humanity.

Fair Share or “Return of Surplus to Earth and People” or “Future Care” to put this one simply, If we take only our fair share, then there is enough for everybody, and there will continue to be in the future too. This is also about regenerative practices, giving back even more than we take.

What These 3 Ethics Look Like In Practice

Earth Care

A Homesteader That Doesn’t Care About This Might

  • Use chemicals to get a bigger yield without regard to damage to the soil life or water and air pollution.
  • Use resources in abundance that support non-regenerative practices.
  • Raise animals in a way that causes poor health or poor living conditions.

A Homesteader Focused On Earth Care Might

  • Work to create healthy soil using organic regenerative practices that cause no damage to water supplies or the air.
  • Be mindful of the use of limited resources and support companies that are mindful of this as well.
  • Raising animals in the best way possible to increase their health and quality of life.

People Care

A Homesteader That Doesn’t Care About This Might

  • Only think of themself and their wants and needs without any regard for others.
  • Only takes and never gives back.
  • Doesn’t participate in community.–This doesn’t mean we need to be involved in everything

A Homesteader Focused On People Care Might

  • Care for themselves and others and makes decisions with others in mind.
  • Recognizes that no person is an island and we need others and others need us.
  • Want to give as much as receive, gives back through sharing and supplying things as well as skills and knowledge.

Fair Share or “Return of Surplus to Earth and People” or “Future Care”

A Homesteader That Doesn’t Care About This Might

  • Only cares about larger yields, profits, and success in their own life.
  • Gives no concern to future generations and what they will have available to them because of overconsumption and greed.
  • Doesn’t care who they support with their money as long as it benefits them here and now no matter the cost to others.

A Homesteader Focused On Fair Share Might

  • Responsibly takes what is needed and makes the rest of it or more fairly available to others.
  • Financially supports companies that also care about other people and what future generations and what will be available to them.
  • Operates in a way that believes in the future and does everything they can to ensure things will be as good or better for future generations.
  • —I like Bill Mollison’s use of the word “reinvestment” (“….But permaculture is anti-political. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends.”)

Why We Believe It Matters

  • We want our children and grandchildren to have a future.
  • We want to be healthy and for others to be healthy.


As we reflect on our homesteading practices, it’s crucial to consider the ethical implications of our choices. By focusing on earth care, people care, and fair share, we can work towards a more sustainable and ethical future in homesteading.

Call to Action

Let’s strive to make conscious, ethical choices in our homesteading practices. Remember, every small step counts towards a healthier planet and a better future for all.



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