Nearly 500 Congress participants gathered in Minnesota this November to delve into the question: how do we shift from a culture based on dominance and exploitation of resources, to one focused on long-term collective well-being, partnership, and a relational approach to the community of life?
We explored the tenets of An Owl Economy, a wisdom-based approach to economics calling for a recognition that the Earth is the source of our life and our economic activity.
We examined the Rights of Nature as a viable framework for policy-making, one that mandates the protection of natural resources because their rights to exist and flourish are inherent and co-equal with our human rights.
We offered participants a template for action, Heartland and Headwaters, to support the emerging grassroots movement of women organizing and innovating for future generations as a result of the Congress.
And out of our Caucus of All Waters, together we developed A Declaration of The Rights of All Waters, declaring the innately-held rights of the oceans, lakes, rivers, aquifers, and clouds, as well as the related responsibilities of humans to protect these waters.
The expanded version of: A Declaration of Rights for Future Generations, and a Bill of Responsibilities for Those Present is also available. It combines the Declaration completed and revised at the first Women’s Congress in Moab, Utah, and adds the Declaration of the Rights of all Waters so both are in one document.
Throughout the Congress, we wove music and the arts into the proceedings. With song, we invoked the living rights of all nature. With music, we grieved the earth’s losses and celebrated our power to make change. We danced and sang the new forms of law and policy into being.
We at SEHN are honored and inspired to steward this critical work of uniting women to demand systems-level change. We invite you to stand with us and offer your support for this critical, narrative-shifting work of our time.
We are steadfastly committed to calling forth a legal system grounded in guardianship and care for future generations. At the cusp of 2015, we are exploring innovative partnerships and possibilities for a next women’s gathering – which we’ll share with you in the coming weeks and months.
As we do this courageous work together, Joanna Macy again reminds us that we are not alone, and our efforts matter:
“Future generations are a two-way street.
I work for them, and they hold me in an embrace of deep time.
They help me see my life is one short little span in a great span of time, and I mustn’t fall prey to measuring my success by what I can see happening in my lifetime.”