is Future Generation Guardianship?
who live today have the sacred right and obligation to protect the
commonwealth of the Earth and the common health of people and all our
relations for many generations to come.
Generation Guardianship is one way to do that. It is a new twist on
an ancient idea.
the Seventh Generation Principle of the Iroquois linked to the active
role of guardianship.
the Bemidji Statement on Seventh Generation Guardianship to see how this idea
was expressed in 2006, based on a collaboration with Indigenous
of future generations take specific responsibility for our common
Generation Guardianship can become law and personal practice.
Communities, religious groups, and organizations can take specific
responsibilities for the wellbeing of future generations. We can all
become guardians in our own backyards.
this idea calls for everyone's help, wisdom, and experience.
access the Guardians of the Future library of laws, stories, and
projects—including a Handbook
for starting a Future Guardians project.
NEW! Carolyn Raffensperger speaking at TEDx Maui, on future generations, the precautionary principle, hope and grace.
NEW! Principles of Perpetual Care: The Giant Mine, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Carolyn Raffensperger, Principal author
How can you make wise choices about toxic sites?
for Future Generations—SEHN/Harvard Project
reports by SEHN and the International
Human Rights Clinic
of Harvard Law School show how we can use old and new law to protect
future generations. The product of two-and-a-half years of research,
these reports address three questions:
How do we formally assert that future generations have a right to a
What legal and social relationships can embody our duty to preserve
our children's only home, the Earth?
What institutions can we create to make those relationships real and
for Protecting the Environment for Future Generations
October 2008 describes how ombudsmen, guardians, and other
legal instruments could help guarantee a habitable planet for future
State Constitutional Provisions & Model Statute
November 2008 provides actual blueprint laws that states and
tribes can use to implement these instruments and fulfill the ethical
mandate to guarantee a livable world for future generations.
Tim Montague’s review and summary of these groundbreaking
to Protect the Future.
Principles of Perpetual Care: The Giant Mine, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Carolyn Raffensperger, Principal author
Rebecca Gasior Altman, Senior advisor
Nancy Myers, Editor
Rhiannon Chants Hanson, Sounding board
Joan Kuyek, Researcher and author of companion paper on case studies
Charlotte Babicki, Plain Language Executive Summary
Kevin O’Reilly, Reviewer
Prepared for Alternatives North for submission to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board, December 2011
What is the Problem?
How can you make wise choices about toxic sites? Here, we are talking about
the long-term care of an abandoned gold mine (Giant Mine) near Yellowknife,
Giant Mine opened in 1948 and closed in 2004. It produced over 23,000 kg of
gold. It also gave us a vast wasteland of arsenic trioxide. The mine contains
237,000 tonnes of arsenic dust that can melt in water. It has already poisoned
lakes and creeks in the area.
How Long Does It Last?
Contamination lasts a long, long time. It could be toxic for 250,000 years or even
more. How can you even imagine such a long time? The pyramids in Egypt were
built only 5,000 years ago.
How Can We Plan for Such a Long Time?
We don’t know how to plan for 250,000 years. Instead, the aim of care at places
like Giant Mine should be to protect people, other living things, soil, and water for
as long as we can. We must try to protect the Earth from any more harm.
How Does This Report Help?
The five rules in this report can help people who have to make decisions about
long-term care. They should help us do our best to stop the creation of more
sites that need care forever.
The Theory and Practice of Perpetual Care of Contaminated Sites
July 2011 - Joan Kuyek, D.S.W.
In fall 2010, Alternatives North hired Dr. Joan Kuyek to do a study. Giant Mine in Yellowknife,
Canada, has 237,000 tonnes of arsenic trioxide to take care of. There is a plan to freeze this
arsenic, so it can’t leak out and hurt the people and the land. For the Environmental Assessment
of this plan, Alternatives North asked for a study of how contaminants are managed in other
Guardians of Future Generations: A Roadmap
March/April 2009 This issue of the SEHN Networker describes the role
of legal guardians and how cities can use this office. It includes a
description of the Harvard/SEHN reports.
Guardians of Future Generations
April 21, 2008 - This presentation by Carolyn
Raffensperger to the University of Iowa Law School outlines the basis
for a new role in government bodies from city councils to the US
Attorney General's office: the legal guardian of future generations.
Change and Intergenerational Justice
Vermont Journal of Environmental Law 2008
paper by University of Vermont/University of Iowa legal scholar Burns
October 4, 2007 - How a government body can structure a legal
guardianship for future generations. Word document.
state NEPA for the 21st Century
October 4, 2007 - States can begin now to rewrite their
comprehensive environmental protection acts in ways that will protect
future generations. This issue of the SEHN Networker tells how.
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