A Critique of Derrick Jensen’s Declaration
My admiration and love for Derrick Jensen and for the environmental organization called Deep Green Resistance is unequivocal. I am supportive of Derrick’s work and admire his sensitivity to the feminine aspect and his love of nature. Derrick’s broadcasts are beautiful things to behold. That said, what I am about to write is going to make many feel discomfited. I wish to cause no disrespect to Derrick or DGR and thank him fully for collating this Declaration. But I am not holding back on my thoughts either. I am using Derrick’s Declaration as a kind of prototype template that can be taken to greater heights by looking at it through my personal perspective and what I believe is a genuine feminine one. I call on others to utilize this template too so that we all may come to assemble “the Real McCoy”, the final Declaration, that we all agree to and start living by.
I bow to Derrick’s good judgment and sane comprehension of the grave situation we are in and his efforts to talk sense into the public and try to change behaviors. What is needed is new thinking and as yet, all the thinking comes from one perspective — the male one only. Only males were “allowed” to read and write until relatively recently.
To take ourselves to a new phase of living mindfully on our planet, caring for every living organism, we need a sea-change in our thinking. We need to think in ways that we have never thought before. Change is the only thing that is certain yet we seem stymied in being able to change, we cling to old belief systems, old habits, and merge our minds into “tunnel thinking” by abiding by such things as customs, laws and social pressures to conform. Conformity is not change. Indeed, it is the antithesis to change. Every system needs to have a way for change to happen, a way that is simple yet not too simple so that change is incoherent. Instead of change we are forced to conform to old ideas and systems. We are forced to live with money, the ultimate barrier to reversing degeneration. Notice the two negatives there — that’s right — there is nothing positive about money.
Nature has arranged it so that the things we do often, are delegated to automatic systems within our bodies and minds. We don’t have to think about breathing, walking, eating, and most things we do every day. And if we want to make a change to a habit, it takes various degrees of discomfort to do that. Discomfort is baked-in to change and it makes sense for it to be this way — because it leaves us free to think of other things until there is something we consciously need to alter. This is what allows change to happen but with coherence. Otherwise if change were to happen the moment we thought of it, there would surely be chaos at all times. Nature has been around a long time and has learned these things through mistakes it made. We are like this too — if we use our brains.
We must welcome the opportunity to stretch, at least a little, by embracing change and not dread it. Change keeps us supple and able to meet the challenges of living on this unpredictable earth. Our survival now begs that we become familiar with change, because if we dally longer, change will be more discomfiting than we can imagine. And change will then be forced upon us. We need to change before the pain becomes unbearable. It already is for many on earth now, but too many are still fixated on staying the same and doing things in the same way thus continuing the degradation that will eventually eat all of us up.
The cause of environmental and human degradation is money. This must be explicitly stated, as it is incontrovertible. Money, per se, need not necessarily be problematic, but since it is based on scarcity and greed, it creates profound problems. If money were to be based on something that benefited us, it would not be a problem. Indeed if we were to make money more of a tool for our thriving, instead of as a weapon for our bludgeoning, it may actually be the very thing that steers us in a healthier and regenerative direction.
Money based on greed suits the lowest characteristics of the human soul — competition, one-upmanship, “might-is-right” and other unequal-types of thinking. It’s supremacy thinking. But it needn’t be so. Not if money was not born of debt. Then money could be “earned” for planting trees, hemp, sequestering carbon, using renewable energies, keeping a low carbon and water footprint, caring for sick neighbors or family members, buying organic, building soil and a host of other habits that encourage the behaviors which we desire and that are favorable to the restoration of the environment and health of each person.
Nothing is more certain than change. By evading the discomfort of change, we hurtle speedier to our demise and we also deny ourselves opportunities to give ourselves a chance to see what is possible to accomplish. Our evasion of change has brought us to where we are now, with pollution contaminating everything around us. Do we have the stuff to turn this around?
Derrick does have “the right stuff” in his thinking and he feels the urgency which is a totally accurate interpretation of the situation we are marinating in. We need to act with resolve and urgency as we have defiled our habitat to the point of our own extinction. Urgency needn’t mean panic. It needn’t mean rushing madly around chasing our tails. We still have a bit of time left before that, but very little. Actually we don’t really know how long we have. But it is my belief that perhaps if we went the way of health, mother may surprise us and heal and regenerate quicker than we expected, and provide abundance as long as we replenish what we take.
Change comes from thinking first and acting second. Derrick Jensen’s Declaration is a first step in providing the spark that triggers our path towards the change we need to make in our heads, to impel us to go in the right direction.
However I’m going to go through this Declaration piece by piece and give it a woman’s perspective. As much as I love Derrick and his passion for nature, he still cannot see it comprehensively because he is not asking women. This is what men and women need to do now — ask women and utilize our gifts of intuition that have never been valued in this man’s system which is the only thing humanity knows. Mere curiosity you’d think would drive these enquiries. Derrick Jensen you have an esteemed position in this arena that cannot be underestimated. This could be directed at influencing many, many, people.
The Declaration begins (and is printed in bold in this essay):
We hold these truths to be self-evident.
That the real world is the source of our own lives, and the lives of others. A weakened planet is less capable of supporting life, human or otherwise. Thus the health of the real world is primary, more important than any social or economic system, because all social or economic systems are dependent upon a living planet: without a living planet you don’t have any social or economic systems whatsoever. It is self-evident that to value a social system that harms the planet’s capacity to support life over life itself is literally insane, in terms of being out of touch with physical reality.
That any way of life based on the use of nonrenewable resources is by definition not sustainable.
That any way of life based on the hyperexploitation of renewable resources is by definition not sustainable: if, for example, there are fewer salmon return every year, eventually there will be none. This means that for a way of life to be sustainable, it must not harm native communities: native prairies, native forests, native fisheries, and so on.
That the real world is interdependent, such that harm done to rivers harms those humans and nonhumans whose lives depend on these rivers, harms forests and prairies and wetlands surrounding these rivers, harms the oceans into which these rivers flow. Harm done to mountains harms rivers flowing through them. Harm done to oceans harms everyone directly or indirectly connected to them.
That you cannot argue with physics. If you burn carbon-based fuels, this carbon will go into the air, and have effects in the real world.
That creating and releasing poisons into the world will poison humans and nonhumans.
Some of us might hold “these truths to be self-evident” but many do not. Most people feel that their economic situation is their highest priority. Everything in this paragraph is spot on about our need to cherish nature and put her first. How can a social or economic system be the priority when they are mere subsets of nature and use nature for its raw materials? If insanity can be defined by anything it would be the premeditated destruction of one’s own life source.
That no one, no matter now rich or powerful, should be allowed to create poisons for which there is no antidote.
That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to create messes that cannot be cleaned up.
That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to destroy places humans or nonhumans need to survive.
That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to drive human cultures or nonhuman species extinct.
That reality trumps all belief systems: what you believe is not nearly so important as what is real.
This is where it gets tricky. What is meant by “allowed”? Does it mean that behaviors need to be enforced if someone doesn’t abide by what’s allowable? This brings up immense implications that would not make us live in the world in any substantially different way than what we live in today.
How do we determine what is real? To this day people are still squabbling over whether the earth is getting hotter or colder.
That on a finite planet you cannot have an economy based on or requiring growth. At least you cannot have one and expect to either have a planet or a future.
So very true. The idea of infinite growth is based on rewarding behaviors that favor greedy behaviors. And this emotion is used as the motivator for all our actions. Changing the basis of money would change our motivations and would therefore change the behaviors. Changing the idea of infinite growth while continuing to retain the idea of greed-based money, would be a futile endeavor. It wouldn’t be change at all.
That the current way of life is not sustainable, and will collapse. The only real questions are what will be left of the world after that collapse, and how bad things will be for the humans and nonhumans who come after.
I am not sure if Derrick is referring to the collapse of the environment or of the economy. But we must not wait for collapse, we must figure out how to motivate ourselves into doing what is regenerative rather than what is exploitative. And do it today. There is much we can do right now. Eg: don’t burn petrochemicals unnecessarily (eg: to power outside Christmas lighting); don’t fly for pleasure; take shopping bags; be mindful of all petrochemical use — many easy things like this means a lot. We could also be rewarding each other for living a mindful footprint.
We hold it as self-evident that we should do all that we can to make sure that as much of the real, physical world remains intact until the collapse of the current system, and that humans and nonhumans should be as prepared as possible for this collapse.
Or we could be building a new system right where we are today, and in tandem with the current system. Since the current system is so overwhelming with its tentacles reaching into every facet of life, getting off it requires alternatives. We need to be talking about designing and building alternatives that people can use right away and that encourage the outcomes we desire. We need to reward not greed — but something beneficial to humanity and all species, something that motivates us to care for nature and for each other. A system that award points for caring. Instead of preparing for collapse, let’s also underpin our habits with healthier behaviors that we can implement now. We could be designing a system that rewards regenerative actions like planting trees and living a low carbon footprint, as mentioned above. While everyone is fixated on collapse, we could be prepared for it by practicing new systems today on a sort of “part time” basis, while we are also immersed in this bizarre economic paradigm that was foisted on us. And when the collapse occurs, we can go into the regenerative system full time because we would have practiced the new one and it would be there ready to cradle us.
That the health of local economies are more important than the health of a global economy.
That a global economy should not be allowed to harm local economies or landbases.
Local and global economies are still based on greed. It should not be a matter of “allowing” or disallowing harm. We need to inspire the right action, the right relationship to nature. We have to get out of the paradigm of looking to tell others what to do, how to live. We could do this by having a system geared for a direct democracy. The system we have today is not broken, we must remember this, it is doing exactly what it was designed for — to keep the very few obscenely affluent and create a distinction between the have and the have-nots as well as to satisfy degenerate agendas.
That corporations are not living beings. They are certainly not human beings.
That corporations do not in any real sense exist. They are legal fictions. Limited liability corporations are institutions created explicitly to separate humans from the effects of their actions — making them, by definition, inhuman and inhumane. To the degree that we desire to live in a human and humane world — and, really, to the degree that we wish to survive — limited liability corporations need to be eliminated.
Yes it’s all nonsense, but we must acknowledge that taking anything down, eliminating anything, requires energy too. Energy that would be better spent building the new.
That the health of human and nonhuman communities are more important than the profits of corporations.
The idea of profit needs to be composted along with the idea of corporations and government. Companies are not going to change for the sake of altruism. No need to tear corporations down, we are free to start up our own cooperatives instead of doing business in the cesspool. But we must not go asking permission from government because that assumes we are forced to and doing what we are forced to do means we continue to enslave ourselves. Government is the custodian of corporations’ ambitions and excesses. They are both in bed together. Yet everyone keeps doing what government demands. People too easily capitulate to government decrees thus encouraging government to sink their heels in even stronger. Government simply doesn’t give a flying fig about you, your Declarations or your environment. How much more evidence does it take?
We hold it as self-evident, as the Declaration of Independence states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it. . . .” Further, we hold it as self-evident that it would be more precise to say that it is not the Right of the People, nor even their responsibility, but instead something more like breathing — something that if we fail to do we die. If we as a People fail to rid our communities of destructive institutions, those institutions will destroy our communities. And if we in our communities cannot provide meaningful and nondestructive ways for people to gain food, clothing, and shelter then we must recognize it’s not just specific destructive institutions but the entire economic system that is pushing the natural world past breaking points. Capitalism is killing the planet. Industrial civilization is killing the planet. Once we’ve recognized the destructiveness of capitalism and industrial civilization — both of which are based on systematically converting a living planet into dead commodities — we’ve no choice, unless we wish to sign our own and our children’s death warrants, but to fight for all we’re worth and in every way we can to overturn it.
We needn’t fight. We just need to start another way of doing things. We need to go small, slow and local. We can figure the rest out as we go along. This has never been done before. The craving for convenience that ordinary people insist upon, creates the demand that corporations and governments clamor to fill. The people themselves support this way of doing business. Everyone needs to understand that government is not there to do good. It was not created with that intention nor does it veer from their intention which is to control the populace and keep the best liars and incompetent people in cushy jobs . That is all government is about. The representatives represent themselves not you or me! Capitalism, Communism, Socialism — all of them use the same mechanism — greed-based money. People must be conscious of what they buy and keep away from industrialized products. We reward what we value therefore if we value nature then we must develop a system that rewards behaviors that care for nature. But even without being rewarded, we must care for nature anyway and stop the Western onslaught on nature.
Here is a list of our initial demands. When these demands are met, we will have more, and then more, until we are living sustainably in a just society. In each case, if these demands are not met, we will, because we do not wish to sign our own and our children’s death warrants, put them in place ourselves.
We demand that:
Communities, including nonhuman communities, be immediately granted full legal and moral rights.
It’s important if we are to seek profound change, that we change the narrative. We must learn to live in a truly free and egalitarian society. Only in this way can we turn the hands of destiny towards regenerative culture. Rather than rights, we could say that every life is equally valuable and everyone’s time is equally valuable. And build our ethics around that.
Corporations be immediately stripped of their personhood, no longer be considered as persons under the law.
Limited liability corporations be immediately stripped of their limited liability protection. If someone wants to perpetrate some action for which there is great risk to others, this person should be prepared to assume this risk him- or herself.
Those whose economic activities cause great harm — including great harm to the real, physical world — be punished commensurate with their harm. So long as prisons and the death penalty exist, Tony Hayward of BP and Don Blankenship of Massey Coal, to provide two examples among many, should face the death penalty or life in prison without parole for murder, both of human beings and of landbases. The same can be said for many others, including those associated with these specific murders and thefts, and including those associated with many other murders and thefts.
Environmental Crimes Tribunals be immediately put in place to try those who have significantly harmed the real, physical world. These tribunals will have force of law and will impose punishment commensurate with the harm caused to the public and to the real world.
The United States immediately withdraw from NAFTA, DR-CAFTA, and other so-called “free trade agreements” (if it really is “free trade,” then why do they need the military and police to enforce it?) as these cause immeasurable and irreparable harm to local economies in the United States and abroad, and to the real, physical world. They cause grievous harm to working people in the United States and elsewhere. Committees should be formed to determine whether to try those who signed on to NAFTA for subverting United States sovereignty, and for Crimes Against Humanity for the deaths caused by these so-called free trade agreements.
Dealing with the man’s system is cumbersome. It is futile to deal with the profusion of government and corporate entities, laws and customs. Totally futile. It has done nothing to change things in the past with all the efforts that have been put towards it, and that will continue to happen unless we take responsibility for ourselves 100%. Some few bones may be cast our way from government, but the colossus will be a constant battle to fight. Rather we should expend our precious time on creating a whole new structure and live it, practice it, invest our time to it. The time spent on it should be recorded because what we value should be given value. Once enough people adopt the new system, it can become a currency much like the payout on futures on a stock exchange. But a currency based on something beneficial, stable and lasting.
The United States remove all support for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Both of these organizations cause immeasurable and irreparable harm to local economies in the United States and abroad, and to the real, physical world. They cause grievous harm to working people in the United States and elsewhere.
The United States recognize that it is founded on land stolen from indigenous peoples. We demand a four stage process to rectify this ongoing atrocity. The first stage consists of immediately overturning the relevant parts of the 1823 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Johnson v. M’Intosh, which includes such rationalizations for murder and theft as, “However extravagant the pretension of converting the discovery of an inhabited country into conquest may appear; if the principle has been asserted in the first instance, and afterwards sustained; if a country has been acquired and held under it; if the property of the great mass of the community originates in it, it becomes the law of the land, and cannot be questioned.” We demand that this pretense, this principle, not only be questioned but rejected. The second is that all lands for which the United States government cannot establish legal title through treaty must immediately be returned to those peoples from whom it was stolen. Large scale landowners, those with over 640 acres, must immediately return all lands over 640 acres to their original and rightful inhabitants. Small scale landowners, those with title to 640 acres or less, who are “innocent purchasers” may retain title to their land (and this same is true for the primary 640 acres of larger landowners), but may not convey this title to others, and on their deaths it passes back to the original and rightful inhabitants. The third phase is for the United States government to pay reparations to those whose land they have taken commensurate with the harm they have caused. The fourth phase is for each and every treaty between the United States government and sovereign indigenous nations to be revisited, with an eye toward determining whether the treaties were signed under physical, emotional, economic, or military duress and whether these treaties have been violated. In either of these cases the wrongs must be redressed, once again commensurate with the harm these wrongs have caused.
The idea of owning land needs to be made defunct. It is ridiculously complicated to go through all these demands. The complications of having a government far outweighs any logic imaginable. Centralization needs to be cast away entirely. We need to emulate nature and therefore move towards decentralization in just about everything. We have the tools now to disburse power into each of our hands, into every person’s hands, even childrens’ hands. They too should have a say in their future. Their lives should be considered equally valuable. We can do this using software designed much like a social network platform but more sophisticated. The internet is our salvation if we use it while we have the freedom to. Censorship must be outright rejected at every point. While we have a free and open internet we are able to connect in ways that could put the government out of business. We also need to start using various forms of communication because government and corporations are at war with us. They are poisoning us with their lack of care and toxic products not to mention spraying us from the skies like bugs. Well we do it too to other bugs…that’s the echo effect.
The United States government will provide reparations to those whose families have been harmed by chattel slavery, commensurate with the harm caused.
To address reparations would be a mammoth task and wouldn’t teach us anything. How about we just wipe the slate clean, forgive each other and start a new culture without hierarchy? We’ve had this civilization stuffed down our throats for the longest time, but we are in a position today to wean ourselves off it. We are able now to construct a new edifice — one that works for all humanity and for nature. It’s only a matter of creativity and will.
Rivers be restored. There are more than 2 million dams in the United States, more than 60,000 dams over thirteen feet tall and over 70,000 dams over six and a half feet tall. Dams kill rivers. If we removed one of these 70,000 dams each day, it would take 200 years to get rid of them all. Salmon don’t have that time. Sturgeon don’t have that time. We demand that no more dams be built, and we demand the removal of five of those 70,000 dams per day over the next forty years, beginning one year from today. Remember, physical reality is more important than your belief system.
Native prairies, wetlands, and forests be restored, at a rate of five percent per year. Please note that tree farms or “forests” managed for timber are not the same as native forests, any more than lawns or corn fields are prairies, and any more than concrete sluices are wetlands. Please note also that if all of the prairies and forests east of the Mississippi River were restored, the United States could be a net carbon sink within five years, even without reducing carbon emissions.
An immediate end to clearcutting, “leave tree,” “seed tree,” “shelter tree” and all other “even age management” techniques, no matter what they are called, and no matter what rationales are put forward by the timber industry and the government. All remaining native forests are immediately and completely protected.
An immediate end to destruction of prairies and wetlands. All remaining prairies and wetlands are immediately protected.
Having a new rewards system should address all the matters above. We can appreciate practices that are regenerative by simply rewarding them thus swapping this nasty system with another system that works for us. This is what will motivate people to do the right thing because money motivated them to do the wrong thing. It makes sense to reward good behaviors because people are motivated by self-interest. It is natural to be this way. So why not turn it into a system that counts the work people do for nature and humanity instead of feeling trapped in this design of destruction?
The United States government immediately begin strict enforcement of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and other acts aimed at protecting the real, physical world. All programs associated with these Acts must be fully funded. This includes the immediate designation of Critical Habitat for all species on the wait list.
I can guarantee that the government is going to do nothing. Buckminster Fuller made the brilliant observation that to tear anything down requires energy too and that energy could be better spent building a new model. Eventually the old model will disintegrate. This is the smartest and most peaceful way to change.
Each year the United States must survey all endangered species to ascertain if they are increasing in number and range. If not, the United States government will do what is required to make sure they do.
The United States needs to be composted. Instead we could redesign boundaries. The United States, Canada and Mexico could become a Continent and common environmental zones formulated indicating resources they are abundant in. Concurrently, reserves of resources would be declared and the rest would be available for distribution. Also concurrently, a system for living a low carbon and water footprint, would be devised to reward those who practiced regenerative methods such as building soil, planting trees, using renewable energies, etc. There would be no need for a penalty system. Penalties would be a thing of the past — only rewards would be offered. This schema may seem impossible, but dismissing it means we are going to remain stuck. We must at least give ourselves something grass-roots-based that we can all use as an alternative. We can be wealthy if we learned to share our possessions and talents and had a system for recording it all in a smoothly designed exchange system. It should at least be given thought and airtime to get various ideas stimulated.
The United States government do whatever is necessary to make sure that there are fewer toxins in every mother’s breast milk every year than the year before, and that there are fewer carcinogens in every stream every year than the year before.
The United States government do whatever is necessary to make sure that there are more migratory songbirds every year than the year before, that there are more native fish every year than the year before, more native reptiles and amphibians, and so on.
As I said above, the government needs to be made extinct. The way we keep track of flora and fauna is to do it ourselves. Therefore we need to be talking amongst each other about gathering personnel and devising schedules. Systems to facilitate this is what we ought to be discussing rather than pay any attention to government.
Immediate closure of all US military bases on foreign soil. All US military personnel are to be immediately brought home.
An immediate ban on the direct or indirect use of mercenaries (“military contractors”) by the US government and all associated entities.
A reduction in the US military budget by 20 per year, until it reaches 20 percent of its current size. Then it will be maintained at no larger than that except in case of a war that is declared only by a direct vote of more than 50 percent of US citizens (and to last only as long as 50 percent of US citizens back it). This will provide the “peace dividend” politicians lyingly promised us back when the Soviet Union collapsed, and will balance the US budget and more than pay for all necessary domestic programs.
The military is a big black hole of iniquity. Yes we must close military bases and call our personnel home to help us here. Military personnel would be encouraged by the very same people they vowed to protect, to come home regardless of official orders. Their energies and expertise would be used to help build a renewable energy infrastructure. They (and other interested individuals) could also be used to monitor the levels of species’ restoration. All our attentions would be focused on restoration and evolving to an egalitarian society.
The United States officially recognize that capitalism is based on subsidies, or as Dwayne Andreas, former CEO of ADM said, “There isn’t one grain of anything in the world that is sold in a free market. Not one! The only place you see a free market is in the speeches of politicians.” He’s right. For example, commercial fishing fleets worldwide receive more in subsidies than the entire value of their catch. Timber corporations, oil corporations, banks, would all collapse immediately without massive government subsidies and bailouts. Therefore, we demand that the United States government stop subsidizing environmentally and socially destructive activities, and shift those same subsidies into activities that restore the real, physical, world and that promote local self-sufficiency and vibrant local economies. Instead of subsidizing deforestation, subsidize reforestation. Instead of subsidizing the oil industry, subsidize relocalization. Instead of subsidizing fisheries depletion, subsidize fisheries restoration. Instead of subsidizing plastics production, subsidize cleaning plastics from the ocean. Instead of subsidizing the production of toxics by the chemical industries, subsidize the cleaning up of these toxics, both from our bodies and from the rest of the real, physical world.
The fact that the government doesn’t give a flying fig about any of us, needs to be categorically recognized. There will always be oppressive shortfalls and disappointments if we continue to expect government to do anything that is good.
Scientific consensus is that to prevent even more catastrophic climate change than we and the rest of the world already face, net carbon emissions must be reduced by 80 percent. Because we wish to continue to live on a habitable planet, we demand a carbon reduction of 20 percent of current emissions per year over the next four years.
We the People are the ones that have to reduce our own footprint before we go making demands on others. How many climate activists drive SUV’s? Travel the world on planes? Buy plastic disposable bottles and bags? Turn on their outdoor Christmas lights? We must start from the first inner circle — ourselves. We must look in the mirror — that’s where it all starts. Looking to government is barking up the wrong tree endlessly.
The enshrinement in law of the right for workers to collectively bargain. In case of strikes, if police are brought in at all, it must be to protect the right of workers to strike. If police force anyone to come to terms, they must force the capitalists.
The idea of policing must change. We cannot have armed gunmen marauding our streets and intimidating our freedoms. The idea of jobs must change — current times use technology instead of workers. Those who are called to come to the aid of people in trouble can be appointed by the people in our consensus-based egalitarian system. And they can be changed anytime the people so desire. And these protectors too will be “paid” for their time, in the new system.
That laws against rape be enforced, even against those who are rich, even those who are famous athletes, even those who are politicians, even those who are entertainers.
The new paradigm would have no censorship. All information would be free and open. This would enable us to know who to keep away from. Their names would be made public. We wouldn’t need prisons either. Everyone is culpable today because we all pay taxes, buy goods made from slavery and environmental vandalism, and we all use toxins. In a compassionate world, we would treat those who commit harm as suffering from an unwell soul. When they become ready to atone, provisions would be available to make their reparations to society. That is a mark of a good system.
The enshrinement in law of the precautionary principle, which states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or the real, physical world, then the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action. In the absence of conclusive proof, no action may be taken. For example, no chemicals would be allowed to be released into the environment without conclusive proof that they will not harm the public or the environment.
No new chemicals be released into the real, physical world until all currently used chemicals have been thoroughly tested for toxicity, and if found to have any significant chance of harming the public or the environment, these chemicals must be immediately and without exception withdrawn from use.
The immediate, explicit, and legally binding recognition that perpetual growth is incompatible with life on a finite planet. We demand that economic growth stop, and that economies begin to contract. We demand immediate acknowledgement that if we do not begin this contraction voluntarily, that this contraction will take place against our will, and will cause untold misery.
Again these fixes are reliant upon the current structure. However in the new structure proposed, there would be little incentive to use toxins as there are abundant solutions to our problems that use natural substances. The only reason toxins are used is because of the money system, because of subsidies, rigging of the markets that favor big corporations, etc. These won’t exist eventually but in the short term they would be crippled, when people get access to the natural solutions that abound (for example, diatomaceous earth, hydrogen peroxide, activated charcoal, and many more)
That overconsumption and overpopulation must be addressed in methods that are not racist, colonialist, or misogynist. We must recognize that humans, and especially industrial humans, have overshot the planet’s carrying capacity. We must recognize further that while overconsumption is more harmful than overpopulation, both are harmful.
Overconsumption is a part of the game plan to keep us in their money system. The new system would smartly realign the strokes by rewarding those who kept small carbon/water footprints.
Overpopulation is a discussion which is well overdue. With the number of humans on the planet today, what is it that makes a couple think it’s ok to have more than two children anyhow? It seems like everyone is just waiting for government to bring in a law to stop them before they take any responsibility for their lives as a family and as a steward of this earth. Two is just the number I suggest — we haven’t had the conversation yet to arrive at some consensus. The new people’s system would have programs that learn what the consensus is on any topic. This would be simply someone making a proposal (on video or in writing) and opening the subject up for discussion. The proposer would also call a deadline to the discussion period. At the end of the discussion period, the proposal would be revised, possibly including other factors the proposer had not thought of prior to the discussion. It would all be taken into consideration in the revised proposal and would then go to a vote. Proposals that receive 80% or more acceptance, automatically become activated, or to put it another way, go into implementation. A project management team would administer the new proposal after submitting their interest in the project and history of expertise, etc, to the people. The idea that only 51% can decide for all is inane. 51% is half the population which means that half the people will always be dissatisfied. This shows sloppiness in a proposal’s quality. We all need to get good at this and start practicing sensible processes.
One thing that needs to be noted is there will be no penalties in this new people’s system. Only rewards. This is for a very good reason. Currently, psychopaths rule the world. But that’s because they have places to hide, they can retain secrets because we accept censorship as a society. This allows psychopaths to hide information from us keeping us ignorant. Secrecy in public affairs will be looked upon with suspicion in this new civilization thus keeping psychopaths at bay. Today we give psychopaths the highest rewards and obey their directives. We cannot kill our own in our new paradigm, we have to heal everything, including psychopathy but we must not let psychopathy continue to rule us and put our destinies in anyone else’s hands but our own. This means we will find humane ways of dealing with people who declare harm for society.
Living in the open must be the way we learn to live, where information is available to all of us. Information must be considered the wealth as it is the true wealth because without it, we are blinded and helpless. For example if cannabis cures cancers, and you didn’t know, you would go poisoning yourself further with empire’s remedies making you sicker or even kill you. Advertising and much of education are toxic. Natural substances are free in nature and that doesn’t suit the usurpers because they can’t make money off them.
Another thing that could be done is make all transactions open for everyone to see. Government and its contractors have your data, they can see everything about you — why not make everyone see it? And why don’t we see theirs? Strangers are looking at your data and analyzing it for your every move — we’re in a creepy world. Making all transactions free and open (but accessible to only the account holder) makes a ton of work moot. Instead of hiding, we open up. A different world would ensue.
Living in the open means that censorship would be considered abhorrent and vile. That also means our delicate ears may be subjected to speech that is derogatory or hateful. But that downside is minor compared to the downside of an Orwellian world that would befall us if we accept censorship. Free speech is our insurance against tyrants. And, like pregnancy, you cannot have a little censorship. All speech must be free.
We must further recognize that right now, more than fifty percent of the children who are born are not wanted. We demand that all children be wanted. We recognize that the single most effective strategy for making certain that all children are wanted is the liberation of women. Therefore we demand that women be given absolute reproductive freedom, and that all forms of reproductive control be freely available to women. We demand that those who attempt to deny women this freedom be punished by law.
These sentiments are lofty and would fulfill every empath’s dream but we cannot legislate anything in the new people’s system, we can only use our influence to convince, and make proposals and get people to vote on them. Therefore we must practice good communication skills. We must discuss and debate, we must open the floor to let everyone speak who wants to. This we can do online as well as face-to-face. We must do both. We have a great tool now — the internet — this tool could free us from having to use fossil fuels to get around in the interim as we can do almost everything online. Why do children still go to school five days a week like last century? We need to upgrade ourselves to the benefits that we have at our disposal in the 21st century. Reproductive freedom will be moot because women will have as much say in society as they want, as will children. Not just men and a sprinkling of women as it is today. We cannot wait for more generations before we have equal say.
In the new people’s system, everyone who wants to can vote and our votes will all be public. We will engage in discussion and debate to convince people to change their minds — that is the only way we should change. Anything else is just another form of tyranny. A history of every person’s voice and actions will be readily available to all. This is to facilitate informed decisions and to recognize those who have harmful intent. It is not for the government (strangers with their own agendas) to determine. The idea of government will become as defunct as the chastity belt.
The United States government put an immediate end to absentee land ownership. No one shall be allowed to own land more than one-quarter of a mile from his or her home.
The idea of being close to the land you are in possession of is sound however the concept of ownership itself must be under scrutiny in the new people’s system. Everything will and must be based on voluntarism. This will seem alien to us at first. Humanity has been bludgeoned for so long it is even difficult to imagine a world where its inhabitants are truly free, or as free as socially possible. Everything must be done voluntarily therefore those with the generosity could donate some of their land to families who don’t have it and who will work on the land, grow food and live on the land. Rewards would be given for such donations. Everything good will be counted. This is the way to turn things around without having to become tyrants again. It is only a matter of learning something new like a new app. And it will become automatic quickly because of its simplicity.
Land ownership patterns change. Land ownership is more concentrated in the United States than in many countries the United States derides as antidemocratic: five percent of farmers in Honduras own 67 percent of the arable land, while in the United States five percent of landowners (not citizens) own 75 percent of the land (California is in many ways worse: twenty-five landowners own 58 percent of the farmland). To rectify this, no one shall be allowed to own more than 640 acres. All title to individual or corporate land holdings over 640 acres are to be immediately forfeited. These lands will be first in line for restoration to native forest, prairie, wetland, and so on. Lands not suitable for these purposes will be used to provide housing for those who cannot afford it.
The idea of these numbers is purely arbitrary. There was probably some kind of reason behind them however we must avoid trying to arbitrarily dictate anything. Egalitarianism means we seek consensus and everyone is our peer, even children. Rather than ownership, we must see things in terms of custodianship and stewardship. People would be able to swap their homes when they felt like it, for vacations or exploring another city, and return to their primary residence whenever they wished. A software program could manage the matching of needs and wants. Regeneration would be rewarded therefore work that provides this would reap points/rewards. What we value must be measured and that is what will incentivize right action. What is needed is software! We could be working on this now.
An immediate end to factory farming and to monocrop agriculture, two of the most destructive activities humans have ever perpetrated. We demand a return to perennial polycultures.
We need to be discussing this right now, how we are going to release animals from CAFO farms in a gentle and loving way. They have endured such horrors, the transition needs to be discussed and a process figured out. I foresee farmers and land holders “adopting” the poor animals however many they can. But I am eager to see the animals be free for the first time in their lives, out of their torture chambers.
An immediate end to soil drawdown. Because soil is the basis of terrestrial life, no activities will be allowed which destroy topsoil. All properties over sixty acres must have soil surveys every ten years (on every sixty acre parcel), and if they have suffered any decrease of health or depth of topsoil the lands will be confiscated and given to those who will build up soil.
Building soil is of utmost importance. Incentives for building soil will be given in the new people’s system. Those with large properties would be encouraged to share their land, the portions they are willing to share and allow people who don’t have land to make a home there. Building codes would be brought up to 21st century needs. Everything would be by voluntary action however rewards would still be forthcoming to everyone who contributes time and energy to this new system of caring. And this could be taking place before the end of the month.
An immediate end to aquifer drawdown. No activities will be allowed which draw down aquifers.
Provision of free food, shelter, and medical necessities to all residents.
Food distribution will entirely be revamped from centralized to local and decentralized food systems. Keeping a low water footprint would receive rewards as would those who grew food. Eventually, with enough people taking it up voluntarily, even individuals in their suburban home, everyone would eaern an income in the new currency. This time the currency though would be built on regeneration not greed. It would have enormous repercussions environmentally if people were rewarded for right action.
Immediate increase in the tax rate to 95 percent for all gross earnings over one million dollars per year by persons or entities.
Taxing is a scourge of this barbaric system. The practice of sharing needs to be relearned. Every household does not need two cars sitting in the driveway or at a workplace for hours — someone could be using it. Cars don’t need to be owned they could be communitized. Every household doesn’t need a lawn mower, building tools or certain appliances. Sharing these assets makes us wealthy without perpetrating empire’s money system further. Software programs would be designed to match needs with wants and connect sharers. Think of it as a sophisticated craigslist. Software engineers can be put to work writing programs that are fun to use and compelling — everyone benefits. Designers, engineers, technicians, administrators — all can go to work developing and building this new system of Ours.
An immediate and permanent halt to all fracking, mountaintop removal, tar sands extraction, nuclear power, and offshore drilling.
An immediate and permanent halt to all energy production that is harmful to the real, physical world. This includes the manufacture of solar photovoltaics, windmills, hybrid cars, and so on.
Removal of plastic from the ocean. Each year the ocean must have 5 percent less plastic in it than the year before.
Each year the oceans must have 5 percent more large fish than the year before.
Fracking must stop as must any violation to mother earth. We must convince people to stop. There will not be rewards for these violations like there are in the current system. Monitoring of ecosystems renewal would be performed but the onslaught would be reversed if right action was favored. Again, a proposer could call for such projects, and a body of workers assembled to tackle it. The progress and results of all processes would be provided online for everyone to follow and partake if interested.
The United States Constitution be rewritten to destroy the primacy it gives to the privatization of profits and the externalization of costs by the wealthy, and to make its primary purpose not the preservation of the wealth and power of the already wealthy and powerful, but rather to protect human and nonhuman communities — to protect the real, physical world — and enforcably to deprive the rich of their ability to steal from the poor and the powerful of their ability to destroy the planet.
The US Constitution was written solely by men. It is well past its use-by-date. We need to start everything a-new. I suggest we consider adopting a new calendar, one that made more sense, one that takes us out of oligarchy time and puts us in sync with our natural cycles. I suggest the 13 moon calendar. I have worked on a derivative of the 13 moon calendar which itself is a derivative of one of the Mayan calendars. This is a simple version that anyone can use to get themselves on the road to the Emerald Garden. Here’s the modified version starting onJuly 26th, the 13 moon calendar’s new years day. For information on the Mayan 13 moon calendar: www.lawoftime.org
I have written a constitution which could act as a template to get things rolling: https://www.facebook.com/notes/womens-council/womens-council-draft-constitution/1557780301143403/
Children would be schooled very differently. They would be able to choose the subjects they wished to study. They would be schooled closer to home in smaller clusters. Teachers would teach in their own neighborhoods and on videos or livestreams to as many that wanted to tune to them. There would be less reason to travel. The roles of students and teachers would be more fluid — everyone would be seen as a student and a teacher, the roles would be interchangeable unlike today which are fixed. It is time for children to be seen as equals having their say in their own lives but of course, in unison with their parents. It is time for all living things to be considered as having as much right to a peaceful life as human adults.
The drawing up of this new manifesto would describe a new way of living on our planet earth. It would help us evolve, help us revere nature. Nature is our life source and it must be the central concern.
We hold these further truths also to be self-evident:
That demands without means to enforce them are nothing more than begging. We are not begging. We are demanding.
We don’t need to demand or beg. We just need to begin.
Power is not a mistake, and those in power will not suddenly have attacks of conscience. Social change has never occurred through waiting for the rich or powerful to develop consciences, and it never will.
Those in power will not act different than they have acted all along, and they will not act against the power of capital. We hold it as self-evident that the rich and powerful have no reason to stop the rich from stealing from the poor nor the powerful from destroying more of the real, physical world than they already have. That is, they have no reason except us. Our lives and the life of the planet that is our only home is on the line. We no longer have the luxury of allowing those in power to continue. If those in power won’t accede to these demands, then they need to not be in power, and we need to remove them from power, using any means necessary.
The power is within us not “them”. We made a mistake in the beginning when we transferred our intrinsic power to someone other than ourselves and started paying them for the privilege. What could be more ridiculous? The only reason for having a “rich and powerful” sector is because people forfeit their own power and give it willingly or under duress, to “authority”. But in reality, the rich have no power except what is given them. Do people obey your orders? No. (They don’t obey mine either) The concept of authority is what has to go. No adult has authority over any other adult. Adults must be considered equals. There need be no inferiority or superiority. Just equals. You can believe you are superior because it takes all types, but we don’t build a society on it. Children will have more say in their lives too. This has never been done before. They need to be involved in their own future. Let’s all just settle for equality shall we? Equality means all having equal voice. That would be a better deal for you wouldn’t it? That’s all it need be. It is that simple.
The reason that we live such complicated and banal lives is because we have only ever gone in the path of misalignment and entropy — we have always only ever gone by the perspective of the male point of view and most predominantly “the predatory male” view and everyone succumbs to these predators. Even this writing, this language, the concept of clocks — this is all male thinking, male constructed, almost everything we know is bereft of the feminine perspective. And this is the missing link, this is the balancing agent. Why would anyone want to stop girls from getting an education? Or keep women out of public life? Women would never do this to males. We might be considered bitchy but women don’t do the damage or trauma that men do in anywhere near the same degree. We (the collective) hardly recognize this, we recognize this as much as we recognize female intuition.
With education and a plethora of new projects that shift us into a renewable energy infrastructure, there will be plenty of stimulating, exciting and thought-provoking projects to sink our teeth into. We don’t need “jobs” we need inspiring work. All that’s missing is the will. There are plenty of us now who understand something of the vileness we grew up in and are still up against. The villains are unwell in their soul. They need healing too. I’m not trying to be Mother Theresa whom I loathe, (just so you know) I mean that we need urgent healing and we start by forgiving ourselves and everyone else. The only hope we have is to recognize that there will always be psychopaths but what we must not do is encourage them by obeying their laws or giving them power over our money. We need to be up with their trickery but not be like them. We can keep them at bay at least. If we don’t figure out how to do that, then we will again be in the situation we are in now where they dictate the rules. We certainly don’t pay “fines”. I mean — come on! We are only enabling them by obeying them and paying them. Their manacling presence will have little clout if we invest in our own system and restore the environment and help each other evolve.
Derrick you have the attention of many in the environmental arena. What we don’t have is the will. Once we get that, there will be no stopping us. We have the solutions — we simply do not have the will just yet. People catch on in varying phases but we must start something that people can use, and use as soon as possible or sooner. We must build a new model as Bucky Fuller said.
We hold it as self-evident, as the Declaration of Independence states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it. . . .”
It is long past time we asserted our rights.
Rights are funny things — a right is a concept and an artificial construct, rights don’t exist in nature. Neither do laws. A word that would suit better would be options, not rights. All of this is purely arbitrary — someone somewhere in our past decreed it and it was passed down and everybody continued it without thinking. Men came up with these ideas but women were more than obliging to comply. This still goes on today. But it doesn’t have to. All people want clean air, clean water and healthy soil and live in a free society. If we want it, it is up to us to create it. This is the calling of our time.
The more responsibility we attribute to government, the more stuck we remain. Government is not going to do it — that is plain for anyone to see now. We need to muster our resources while we’ve still got communications available to us and the environment hasn’t spun out of control completely. We need to discuss how we live on our home planet in a different way, in a beautiful way. This has all been laid out for everyone’s perusal at the Constitution Template for the 21st century
If we want something different, we have to see things in a different way. We have never seen things through the lens of the feminine. But not just the feminine. We can work together masculine and feminine to build a whole new paradigm that will enable us all to love the world we’re in. I know we can do it. The future is us. The time is now.
Thank you Derrick for your love of our mother.
Derrick Jensen’s Declaration can be found at this website: https://dgrnewsservice.org/resistance/a-new-declaration/?utm_source=DGR+News+Service&utm_campaign=a4bba5fda4-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_51489b99cd-a4bba5fda4-402675097