WILPFers attend "Women's Congress for Future Generations"

We have a beautiful
Her green lap
Her Brown embrace
Her blue body
everything we know.

(Alice Walker)

In late September, four California members of the Earth Democracy Leadership Team – Jean Hays, Fresno; Randa Solick and Mathilda Rand, Santa Cruz; and Nancy Price, Davis – attended the first “Women’s Congress for Future Generations” in Moab, Utah. This gathering of women, with some men attending as invited  “witnesses,” was co-sponsored by Peaceful Uprising and the Science and Environmental Health Network. The purpose of this Congress was to recognize “our gratitude for the Earth’s wondrous bounty, to fulfill the special responsibility that women hold as the first environment for future generations,” and to seriously consider how to protect and preserve the earth and all living beings for future generations as presented in the “Declaration of the Rights Held by Future Generatoins and Bill of Responsibilities for Present Generations.

It was an inspiring opportunity in the beautiful surroundings of Arches National Monument and Canyonlands to begin the collaborative discussion on protecting the rights of both present and Future Generations—the subject of Earth Democracy’s subcommittee on the Rights of Nature/Guardianship of the Commons. It provided the opportunity for the four of us, who brought Carolyn Raffensperger to California last spring to speak, to deepen our understanding of the issues and strengthen our commitment to join the collaborative effort in WILPF and with other organizations in the conversation on how to realize the goal of protecting present and future generations. You may read about the schedule of events here and listen to an audio of the proceedings here.

On the final day of the Congress, a draft “Declaration” was discussed with many edits proposed within the somewhat limited time available. A recent communication from Congress organizers describes the next stage as a collaborative effort to create a “living, breathing document that will evolve over time as we add new input and new voices” recognizing that the Congress was but one conversation in a continuum—one that we wish to deepen through word, art and action. Women have long cast their concern forward. Conversations about Future Generations preceded this Congress. And there are important conversations going on in parallel. We hope to begin the process of mapping and knitting together this wisdom, and in the future, harnessing crowdsource technology to connect, to continue these conversations, and to amend and ratify a living Declaration of the Rights of Future Generations.” Until the blog site for the collective editing process is announced, please read the current “Living Draft: Declaration of the Rights Held by Future Generations and Bill of Responsibilities for Present Generations" and use it in your work.

This Spring 2013, Earth Democracy plans to engage with California Branches and Clusters in a program on the Precautionary Principle, as a tool for protecting the local commons of nature and public health, and on the concept of guardianship and the rights of future generations and responsibilities for present generations. Look for a formal announcement of the spring CA Earth Democracy tour and program in December eNews.

And, don’t forget to join the Earth Democracy list serve. If you wish to join in the work of one of the Earth Democracy subcommittees: Right of Nature/Guardianship of the Commons; Food Democracy/Local Economy; Global Warming/Renewable Energy; and Human Right to Water and Health, please email Leadership Team members at teamearthdem@wilpfus.org. We are looking for those of you with a passion for any one of these subjects to contact the Leadership Team and volunteer to be a subcommittee co-chair or a member of one of the sub-committees. We need you help to lift up the work of these committees and welcome all your creative contributions from organizing, research and writing to art, rap, slam poetry, songs and more. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Image credit: By artist Ann Altman from Silverton, Oregon, www.annaltman.com

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