Connect with us

PERSONAL HEALTH

Economics as if the Future Generations Mattered

Published

on

Creating a commons ethic for ecological restoration and social justice

By Lieven Soete under a CC license

We have turned a corner on climate change— a wrong turn– and it is happening more rapidly than we have predicted. Climate change is already disrupting society, ecosystems, and national economies. We have altered so much of our Earth that we now threaten our own survival.We know the catastrophic risks we are passing onto future generations and we wonder, with anxiety and grief, what will become of our planet. We ask ourselves, “what can I do?”.

One of the key barriers to taking action on the paramount issues of our time is that these problems are the end result of entrenched cultural, economic and social systems. The message that solutions to climate change and environmental degradation is up to the individual directly conflicts with what people are witnessing: the health and well-being of their bodiesandtheir communities coming a distant second to powerful economic interests.

Current economic calculations do not recognize the full cost to the Commons – the cultural and natural heritage we share that is thefoundation of our economy.

Yet growing numbers of people are waking up to the reemerging Commons ethic, which holds that human systems must be aligned to match ecological ones. People believe that future generations have the inalienable right to a healthy planet, and many are now seeking ways towithdraw their consentto the politics and policies that lead to a toxic future.

rights-based approachto human systems like the economy allows us to open our discussion to questions like: What is the economy for? What are the principles needed to guarantee that we are fair to future generations? What tenets make justice and the protection of theCommonsmore likely?

The  Women’s Congress for Future Generations, held Nov. 7-9 in Minneapolis, joined the groundswell of individuals and organizations calling for the arraignment of our capital-driven, infinite-growth paradigms, and adopting different economic principles which manyIndigenous cultures have lived byfor centuries. This gathering built on the first Women’s Congress held in Moab, Utah in September 2012.

Attendees of the Moab Congress drafted alivingDeclaration of the Rights of Future Generations and corresponding Bill of Responsibilities of Present Generations. The goal of the upcoming Congress in November is to infuse the Declaration with an even deeper analysis of economic and environmental justice.

Participants at the Congress will bring forward ideas to help shift the way we care for and relate to our Earth–ideas such as moving environmental law out of free market private property law into rights law; caring for the Commons, the Precautionary Principle, and Free Prior and Informed Consent. Congress goers– both men and women–will imagine different economic principles that counter dominant but destructive paradigms.

Some of the new principles to be discussed are:

  1. The Earth is the source of our life and our economic activity.
  2. The Commons, the cultural and natural heritage we share, are the foundation of economics, which presupposes: a) a role of government as the trustee of the commons; b) Laws and rules governing economic systems must first protect the commonwealth; c) Concepts such as economic growth, which ignore the cost to the commons are evolutionary dead-ends.
  3. Justice within generations and justice between generations must be linked to economic justice.

And these are a few of the tenets that flow from these economic principles:

  1. Measure the right things:  Currently we do not measure the health of the Commons. Pollution and disease count as good for the economic GDP.
  2. Polluter Pays:  The one who pollutes or damages the commons shall be held responsible and pay for restoration.
  3. No Debt to Future Generations without a Corresponding Asset:  We cannot ask future generations to pay for our messes.  We can share with them the costs of assets like parks, art, clean air and water.
  4. Audit, Account for and Fund Commons Assets.

This is a conversation about the definition, boundaries, and acceptance of limits.

If one accepts the incontestable truth that present generations inherit an Earth left from previous generations, and that we are all eventually ancestors, then our lives are simultaneously defined by inheriting and bequeathing.

Facing another incontestable truth that our Earth is finite allows us to expand our point of view to include a “bigger picture,” which tells a story with a common goal: It is a story of an incredibly interconnected living systems on which we are dependent, not dominant. The story of human development that has recalibrated its system to match those of nature itself. The story  of a civilization that thrives on stewardship and care, generation after generation into the far future.

 

Kaitlin Butler is project director at theScience and Environmental Health Networkand an organizer of the2014 Women’s Congress

Carolyn Raffenspergeris Executive director of theScience and Environmental Health Networkand a founder of theWomen’s Congress for Future Generations project.

Source: On the Commons


 

Join Mobilized for life-changing opportunities, create new partnerships, discover new and improved ways to mobilize your ideas and actions, and discover a whole new world of opportunity dedicated to sustainable development of systems around the world.  Sign up here.


Continue Reading
HEROES1 day ago

Right Livelihood Awards Announced: System Change is Not Only Possible, But Necessary

HEROES1 day ago

Inspiring the Next Generation of Changemakers

HEROES2 days ago

Make Love Go Viral: Somalian Peacemakers

HEROES2 days ago

Energy as a Public Service

HEROES2 days ago

Honoring Cooperatives

HEROES2 days ago

Ukranian Human Rights Defenders

The Great Transition1 week ago

Understanding the Great Transition

The Great Transition1 week ago

Information, Communications, Media

The Great Transition1 week ago

Consumption, Materials and Resources

The Great Transition1 week ago

Food and Agriculture

The Great Transition1 week ago

Transforming Health

The Great Transition1 week ago

Education for a New World

Featured1 week ago

The Transformation of Energy and Transportation Systems

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Going forward: A realistic action plan

Rethink X1 month ago

Understanding where we’re at and how to get to where we are going

Video: Rethink1 month ago

0:00 / 20:59 Rethinking Energy 2020-2030: 100% Solar, Wind, and Batteries is Just the Beginning

Policy1 month ago

NO TO NUKES: Non-proliferation treaty conference ends in failure, ban treaty shows the way forward

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Innovation without Borders

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Information without Borders

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Affordable and Renewable Clean Energy

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Resources and Materials

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Improved Food Systems

Build for Change2 months ago

Why Endless Consumption of Our Finite Planet Will Take Us to Our Cliff of Doom and How We Can Prevent It

Featured2 months ago

Indigenous rice out-performs commercial varieties in nutrition value and tolerance to drought, flood, extreme weather

FOOD + AG.2 months ago

Reviving Jordan’s community, resilience and food sovereignty through urban wheat cultivation

FOOD + AG.2 months ago

An organic farming revolution in Thailand

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Heart Attacks Are Not Worth Dying For

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Rethink: Humanity’s Next Operating System

Mobilized TV2 months ago

Find out how your community could take on big business to serve the health of all.

Food and Land2 months ago

Understanding the Roots of the Food Crises and Preventing Future Crises: Resilience and a Deep Dive

Editorials2 months ago

Another Conference is not going to save us:

A web of Life for ALL Life2 months ago

Truths or Consequences

Build for Change2 months ago

The launch of “Rights of the Atlantic Ocean” campaign in Newfoundland

Build for Change2 months ago

What’s really going on in the Brazilian Rainforests?

Editorials2 months ago

To Save the Planet, Forget About the Globe (And Act Locally)

Rethink X1 month ago

Understanding where we’re at and how to get to where we are going

Video: Rethink1 month ago

0:00 / 20:59 Rethinking Energy 2020-2030: 100% Solar, Wind, and Batteries is Just the Beginning

Rethink X4 months ago

Out of Chaos Comes Creation: Understanding Transformation of Civilizations

Rethink X4 months ago

Understanding the Repeating Patterns of History: Growth / Collapse / Transformation

Mobilized News Network7 months ago

Clarity Above all Else

Paradigm Change7 months ago

Nuremberg Prosecutor at 102: Make Law, Not War.

INTERVIEWS8 months ago

GAIA TALKS: The Earth Speaks: Mohamed Ismail from Egyptians Abroad For Democracy Worldwide

Paradigm Change8 months ago

An Empowered World: People, we are Ready!

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Conscious capitalism and Raising the Bar of Human Possibility

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Open Collaboration on an Epic Scale: The Future is Cooperatively Decentralized

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Transforming Energy and Transportation

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Transforming agriculture and food systems for optimal planetary and personal health

Arts9 months ago

How The Pentagon and CIA Have Shaped Thousands of Hollywood Movies into Super Effective Propaganda

A web of Life for ALL Life10 months ago

We are One

Mobilized TV10 months ago

How we can eradicate heart Disease

Mobilized TV10 months ago

Howard Bloom: Imagination Takes You Everywhere

Featured10 months ago

From Punk to Planet: Slam Dunk the Junk with Dave Street

Mobilized TV11 months ago

A Moral Responsibility: Jean Su, Ctr. for Biological Diversity

Mobilized TV11 months ago

On Free Speech TV: Rethinking Humanity with James Arbib of RethinkX

Mobilized TV11 months ago

Sustainable Architecture, Design and Building for a Sustainable Planet

Mobilized TV11 months ago

A better understanding of lawn care for Climate Care featuring Dr. Rob Moir of the Ocean River Institute

Mobilized TV11 months ago

Stories from the Reservation: Davidica Little Spotted Horse

The News without the Noise

Translate »