Precaution And The Seventh Generation Principle
By Peter Montague
In the U.S., the precautionary principle <http://www.precaution.org/lib/pp_def.htm
> no longer stands alone. It is now part of a cluster of ideas that, together, form a new (and evolving) philosophy for protecting the natural environment and human communities. The other ideas, at this point, are the public trust doctrine <http://www.sehn.org/publictrust.html
>, protecting the commons <http://onthecommons.org/node/840/print
>, and most recently the principle of Seventh Generation Guardianship <http://www.precaution.org/lib/bemidji_original.060706.htm
>. (In my own mind, I add "localizing the economy" <http://www.powells.com/biblio/2-1576753867-1
> and "zero waste" <http://www.precaution.org/lib/zw_bib.051214.htm
> to this cluster of precautionary ideas.)
The most recent -- and most ancient -- addition to this cluster of "precautiuonary" ideas is the Seventh Generation Principle of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people.
The Bemidji Statement on Seventh Generation Guardianship was released July 6, 2006, during the 14th Protecting Mother Earth Conference, convened by the Indigenous Environmental Network in Bemidji, Minnesota.
The Bemidji Statement combines the indigenous wisdom of the Haudenosaunee -- "The first mandate.... is to ensure that our decision- making is guided by consideration of the welfare and well being of the seventh generation to come." -- with the precautionary principle.
The Statement calls for new guardians and new guardian institutions to protect the future of us all. The Statement evolved from a conversation that began in Alaska in December 2005 between Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) <http://www.akaction.org
>, the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) <http://www.ienearth.org
>, and the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN) <http://www.sehn.org
You can get the full Bemidji statement here <http://www.precaution.org/lib/prn_bemidji_original.060706.htm
> in a format suitable for printing (just cut and paste it into your word processor). And you can read how guardianship <http://onthecommons.org/node/862/print
> is starting to find its way into some of our institutions in places like New Jersey and Wisconsin. We can all be guardians.
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2006 15:15:02 -0400
From: Rachel's Precaution Reporter - HTML <firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Precaution Reporter #46: Bemidji