Having watched with dismay as the Durban climate talks sputtered to a disappointing conclusion, with all parties knowing that every day that goes by without concerted international effort to address climate change means the inexorable shifting of life as we know it on Earth, I was moved yesterday to put fingers to keyboard and come up with a Manifesto for change.
Even as I was writing it, I was thinking that such radical changes would not be possible to put into place without resistance from the status quo powers that be; therefore bloodshed, which is specifically antithetical to the principles I lay out, would be inevitable.
But if a World War III must commence, I would rather it be for a good cause like this one, than for the petty greed, bigotry and hatred that have propelled humanity into previous wars.
If we want not only ourselves, but our entire eco-system to survive, do we have any other choice but to take decisive action now?
An Eco-Humynist Manifesto for the 21st Century
Whereas human beings have acted in a dominating fashion towards each other and towards other living species on this planet, using the excuse of difference to justify aggressive and destructive behavior;
Whereas competition has been used as a rationale for economic systems based on hierarchical systems of power;
Whereas social exclusion and systematic discrimination has been seen as the normative right of dominant groups;
Whereas privileged groups have felt entitled to take more than their fair share from the environmental commons, and to deprive less powerful groups, whether human or of other species, of the resources necessary for well-being;
Whereas it is quickly becoming apparent, in the age of climate change, that the dominant paradigm of capitalist patriarchal social relations is resulting in the dangerous destabilization of the entire natural ecosystem;
The time has come to take action to change this paradigm in the following ways:
1. Move from a top-down hierarchical system to a horizontal, egalitarian model of social relations based on inclusivity across all of the traditional boundaries used to keep different groups apart, including race, class, gender, sex, nationality, ethnicity, religion, and also opening up the possibility for cross-species collaboration based on respect and stewardship;
2. Shift the worldwide economic system to a model of global cooperation and collaboration, with the focus of human industry and government on providing a baseline of well-being for all life forms on this planet, regardless of geographic origin or antiquated ideas of relative importance (ie, who is to say that a human being is more important than a songbird, or a sardine?);
3. Tailor the education system to teaching the history of the destructive cultural practices of homo sapiens up to the 21st century, and opening up constructive conversations across disciplines, where alternatives to these traditions can be envisioned and developed;
4. Model egalitarian, collaborative, respectful social relations in the private sphere of the family as well as the public spheres of education, the profession, government and law;
5. Shift from a violent conflict and punishment model of resolving disagreements to a peaceful persuasive model, with the goal always being the well-being of the community as a whole first, and secondly each member of it.
6. Destroy all weapons of mass destruction, as well as all bio and chemical weapons, and their blueprints.
7. Disallow any one person’s or minority group’s interests (with rich people and businesses or industries rightly being considered minorities) to take precedence over the interests of the majority, including the non-human majority on this planet.
8. Develop an appropriate representative global governing council to administer these principles.
In the name of Mother Earth and ALL of her children, I call on the peoples of the world to act without delay to become the stewards of the planet and the collaborative, respectful individuals we were always meant to be.
Thanks to the students of Gender, Culture & Society, Fall 2011, for the inspiration to write this Manifesto.