Thursday, December 16, 2010

A manifesto of sorts

We have enough.
We can share what we have.
If we used less, it would be fine.
We can move ourselves.
The economy does not need to grow in order for us to thrive.
Business can be ethical and fair.
Business can express and nurture cultural values.
Health is the care of humans.
Public space belongs to humans.
We can meet at the market face to face.
We can have humane relationships with the animals we depend on.
We can work with Earth's systems.
We can build our homes and buildings to last for 600 years.
We look upstream to manage our waste.
We derive wealth from our waste.
We protect and restore what nature creates.
We listen to what Earth's complex systems tell us.
Our leaders listen to us and derive power from the mana of ethical behaviour and decisions.
The powerful protect the weak.
We are becoming indigenous.
We are weaving all the threads together.
The most important people in our village are those who will be us some day
and we are listening to them.

- From a statement adopted at the Signs of Change conference.

Are there any of these that particularly stand out to you? Any with which you violently agree or politely disagree (or vice versa)?
H/T Tom.


Donna said...

"We could build our homes and buildings to last for 600 years" stood out to me. Same goes for smaller things, surely we could build mobile phones to last for more than two etc.

It goes against the grain of capitalism though to be aiming for making things which last, doesn't it (unless they're very expensive).

byron smith said...

Yes, this is one of the ways in which contemporary hyper-capitalism is geared away from human flourishing. Built-in obsolescence is an evil practice. One of my friends here at New College is doing research on manuel labour and the making of objects and has lots of interesting things to say about these things. His blog is here.

stef said...

What does "we are becoming indigenous" mean?

byron smith said...

Stef - Good question. It was a phrase that struck me when I first read this manifesto a few weeks ago and which I've been thinking about ever since. I think that it means that no one can claim a purely "natural" connection to the land, but that each of us are growing into places, learning to belong, becoming a "native" of where we live. Some, whose ancestors may have lived in a place for tens of thousands of years, might be further along the path to becoming indigenous, but each of us are on that process. It is a challenge to our societies' dreams of endless mobility and rootlessness (or at least capital's dream of a perfectly mobile labour market, willing to up sticks and move where the grass appears greener).

This claim can, of course, be placed into interrogation by Christian notions of being aliens and strangers, and some refinement is required to a Christian sense of "belonging" and "rootedness", but I don't think these experiences are impossible to understand and appreciate within a Christian theological perspective (for instance, see Meredith's reflections on such topics over at Faith and Place).