Using Community Rights Law, we will write a Treaty, democractically demanding a reallocation of war monies to Transition.
The root cause of global climate change and social injustice is a cultural story of separation. If we remain living in the story that we are separate from the world and each other, we will not cultivate the empathy necessary to respond to the global climate crisis. Fortunately, crisis is opportunity and a popular cultural narrative is emerging that describes all human-beings and species as interconnected in a web of life. This proposal seeks to bring this cultural story into power.
1. A Global Grassroots Peace-People-Planet Treaty: Using the Community Rights model, individual cities, towns, and villages can write their own laws. Each community will publicly vote to join the Peace Treaty and include local Rights-of-Nature and Human-Rights declarations.
2. The USA: We will begin in the US because we spend more on the military than the next 8 largest militaries in the world combined (1) and thus have massive potential for financial reallocation. The US is also the second largest CO2 emitter (2) and thus has great potential and responsibility for addressing climate change.
3. Civil Disobedience: This Treaty will not be legal, but through collective buy-in it will hold weight. Communities will raise a "Flag of Interdependence" above their national flag. This is technically against the US Flag Code (3). A coordinated War Tax Resistance by interfaith and other groups will reallocate resources from war to Transition without federal permission.
4. Think Global, Act Local: The Treaty and subsequent financial reallocations will empower communities legally, financially, and culturally to create their own sustainable systems while also sharing knowledge and success stories with other Transitioning communities. Local empowerment is essential for a successful global Transition.
5. Campaigns: Coordinated trans-local organizations will campaign to educate and inspire local ratification of the Treaty and facilitate simultaneous on-the-ground changes.
What actions do you propose?
We have the technology, policies, and organizations to make the Transition to a Sustainable, Just, and Fulfilling world. What is missing is the Collective Will to change. Unfortunately, the mainstream media cultivates a culture of fear and separation. The stories that make the news are often violent, frightening, or upsetting, which can lead viewers to believe that the world “out there” is dangerous, leaving people alone, afraid, and in their homes without a sense of community.
But when we take the time to engage with our neighbors, we will find beacons of hope, if only in the mutual recognition that the current system is not working. We will find that we all want a change and that the next step is to collectively imagine the society we want and to take collective action to get there.
This Treaty will facilitate the cultural shift from separation to cooperative effort. It will empower local people to govern themselves according to basic, globally-accepted Human and Species' Rights. It will be an educational and political campaign to remember that we are not alone and that We the People are ready for a Transition.
Campaign to pass a Treaty in Eugene, OR
I am a resident of Eugene, OR and see great potential in making change here. Through the dedicated efforts of Our Children’s Trust, a non-profit organization working to pass legally binding responses to Climate Change at local, state, and federal scales, and through the efforts of other local groups including 350.org and the Pachamama Alliance, the City of Eugene was the first in the nation to adopt a law incorporating a viable scientific prescription for Climate Recovery (4). Many localities have recognized the need to address Climate Change, but they have not passed legally-binding legislation. Eugene has. And now we have to figure out how to meet the benchmarks outlined in the ordinance.
The Eugene Sustainability Commission’s survey of Eugene residents shows that more than 80% of Eugenians believe “that climate change requires us to entirely rethink our behavior,” 75% of Eugenians want stronger regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, and the vast majority of Eugenians believe that over-consumption threatens our environment and that our lives would be better if we consumed less. (5) This kind of public sentiment is ideal for galvanizing a local movement.
The Northwest Permaculture Convergence will be held in Eugene this summer in the suburbs of the River Road neighborhood (6). The potential for suburbia to grow food, sequester carbon through building soil, reduce consumption, and build community is immense. Permaculture design will be an essential tool for re-designing our homes, gardens, farms, and cities.
For these reasons, among many others, Eugene is ripe for change. The actions I imagine taking here include:
- Host Democracy Schools to write the Treaty and learn about Community Rights Law (7)
- Host Awakening the Dreamer Symposiums, designed by the Pachamama Alliance, to spread the message that we are all connected and to generate the Collective Will to change. (8)
- Host USDAC "Imaginings" to harness the transformative power of art to re-imagine an environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually fulfilling society (9)
- Highlight Permaculture Design to reveal some of the brilliant, low-tech, low-cost solutions to climate change.
- Door-to-door Campaign using the same strategies that Our Children's Trust used to pass the Climate Recovery Ordinance.
Campaign to get other cities/towns on board
Pass a Treaty in Eugene to set an example
Use various networks (Transition Towns, The Pachamama Alliance, The USDAC, Community Legal Defense Fund, Quakers, Inter-Faith Networks, intentional communities, Universities and Colleges, etc.) to spread the idea
Form teams to travel to cities and towns around the world to facilitate the adoption and ratification of Treaties.
Campaign to reallocate military dollars
Raise a Flag of Interdependence above the National Flag that is unique and locally-designed. The only requirement will be to have an earth symbol on the flag. This will symbolically honor both our unity and our diversity. With enough global buy-in, we will begin to see that war is not necessary. It is tool of the rich and powerful to maintain their power. By putting such political pressure on our elected officials, in all nations simultaneously, we will see a change.
Coordinate Inter-Faith War Tax Resistance to demonstrate the universal value of peace, sustainability, and social justice. This will bring a lot of attention to the media. Imagine a group of Muslims, Jews, and Christians all deciding to take the money that they would pay to the federal military budget, and pooling those resources to fund local, on-the-ground changes to address climate change and social injustice. We must also honor the millions of people who are not affiliated with any religion, but who recognize the sacredness of life. With or without religious identification, we are morally obligated to take action.
Turning war monies into on-the-ground change
The goal of our activities must be to meet basic needs (air, water, food, clothing, shelter, energy, community) through sustainable use of bio-regional resources. We must, at the very least, be able to survive locally without relying on multi-national corporations.
Educational-Action campaigns will bring this goal to the forefront. For example, the way to address climate change is to: 1) consume less, 2) build soil, and 3) get together. Doing the first two actions will require the third.
Citizen Circles will be the grassroots foundation of the campaigns. CC's will Learn about the issues and what can be done, Dream of the future we want in ever increasing detail, and Act to turn those dreams into reality. CC's Learn, Dream, and Act Together.
The US Department of Arts and Culture (not an actual department), organizes local artist-activists to host "imaginings" to facilitate the process of re-imagining our society. This is an essential ingredient of change.
As the local collective focus moves towards Transition, we will find more and more ways to reduce consumption and build soil. Permaculture design could completely transform our suburbs into garden-based villages that do just this. The River Road neighborhood in Eugene is in the process of doing this. Some home-owners have taken down the fences between their yards and are sharing the space as a collective garden!
Sell the Simple Liife! So much of what we have to do is market the New Dream. We have to make a sustainable, just, and fulfilling world seem kick-ass. Let's get together! Make music! Have fun! Celebrate! Enjoy life! Simplify!
Use fossil fuels to fuel the transition. They are good for something.
Creating a global network of educational exchange
Town-Gown alliances to turn students’ and professors’ and citizens’ ideas into action. Let university students and professors represent their towns at national and global conferences. Cooperative competition between schools → who can design the best system? Which school can facilitate their own town’s Transition the best?
Frame the design challenges as: Total Social Re-Design (A New Dream!). One that is Environmentally Sustainable, Socially Just, and Spiritually Fulfilling.
Use collective intelligence frameworks (like the climate co-lab) to collaboratively re-design our emerging trans-local society. We can model online blue-printing platforms after “A Pattern Language." Think, "vignettes into the new society." Think, "WikiDream." Users can link their ideas to others' ideas forming a web of designs that make up the new system.
Who will take these actions?
- Local Communities (Eugene, OR)
- Federal Government
- Transition Towns
- The US Department of Arts and Culture
- The Pachamama Alliance
- Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (Democracy School)
- Quaker Communities (War Tax Resistance)
- Inter-Faith Networks (Muslims, Jews, and Christians in particular)
- Any and All Moral People
Where will these actions be taken?
Since the US leads in military spending and we are the second greatest contributor of CO2, we will begin in the US. The progressive cities and towns that might pass a Treaty are probably located on the east and west coasts. We will start here and expand to any and all communities that find this act of global solidarity powerful and necessary.
How will these actions have a high impact in addressing climate change?
The potential impact of this action is unknown, but possibly unlimited given the capacity to store carbon in the soil and in vegetation. Using permaculture design principles, we can both dramatically reduce our consumption and sequester carbon in the soil.
Additionally, this proposal could massively accelerate the global response to climate change. It is a tool for creating collective buy-in to designing a new global society that honors the earth and our great diversity.
What are other key benefits?
- World Peace
- Global solidarity
- Local empowerment
- Democratic engagement
- Healthier eating habits
- Community building
- Excitement for our collective power
- Music-making and celebration for our successes
What are the proposal’s costs?
Possible violence may result from civil disobedience
The message may be twisted to think that each town/city should “go-it-alone,” but the message is, “we’re all in this together.”
Many businesses tied to the military-industrial complex as well as the petroleum industry will fail (but other new work will emerge!)
If we engage in War Tax resistance, other violent groups may take advantage of the US’ “weakness” and attack (this seems unlikely, especially if the Treaty goes viral globally)
Pulling out of war zones may leave voids of power where other violent, power-seeking people or governments may try to fill