Environmental Responsibility

We will work to save the life support system of the planet by building social and environmental responsibility into the normal operations of our economic and political life.

Earth being the natural and sacred home of all its peoples, we are committed to developing personal behavior, societal practices, and corporate and governmental policies aimed at enhancing environmental sustainability of human communities and the planet Earth, and transforming and repairing behaviors that have had an adverse impact on the planet’s long-term environmental welfare. Among other goals, we seek to alleviate global warming, reduce pollution, restore the ecological balance of the oceans and assure the well-being of all forests, agricultural land, the air, and animal life.

We need to repair the earth from the impact of several hundred years of environmentally irresponsible forms of industrialization and from an economic system that requires constant expansion to stay viable—a vast ponzi scheme with the earth as its primary victim. In this scheme, we use up the earth’s resources to produce greater profits, inducing in people desires for consumption that produce huge amounts of garbage and pollute our water, air, and land. This will require developing a new consciousness in people, so that getting more things becomes subordinated to protecting the earth and taking care of all of its inhabitants.

To do this we propose the following:

  1. Taking emergency steps to reverse climate warming that include leaving oil, gas, coal and other fossil fuels in the ground. The transition to other energy sources must become a major focus of individuals, government, corporations, and educational institutions in the next twenty years.
  2. Support immediate bans on fracking, a carbon tax, a prohibition against drilling or mining fossil fuels on public lands, a climate litmus test for new developments, an end to World Bank financing of fossil fuel plants and a full mobilization of societal resources to build sun and wind energy equipment that can provide adequate alternative sources of energy.
  3. As a manifestation of our commitment to treating every human being as equally valuable and an embodiment of the sacred, we propose The Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment (ESRA) to the U.S. Constitution. The ESRA is a comprehensive plan to restore democracy in our politics and economy. First, it overturns Citizens United and goes further by requiring that all elections be publicly funded. Second, it requires corporations with incomes of more than $50 million to get a new corporate charter once every five years. Such a charter would only be granted to those corporations that could prove to an Environmental and Social Responsibility Jury that it had a satisfactory history of social responsibility. The panel/jury will be composed of ordinary citizens who can hear testimony from people throughout the world as to the impact of the corporation’s practices in their community. Third, the ESRA states that all schools must provide mandatory classes at all grade levels in environmental sustainability, civic engagement, nonviolent action, compassionate communication and the like.
  4. We see the ESRA line in our economy, government, and social institutions. While seeking support and endorsement for the ESRA we will encourage public officials on the city, state, and national levels of government to include an environmental and social responsibility clause in every contract-awarding process. The process would require corporations that are competing for public funds to present a detailed environmental and social responsibility report, and private citizens and local community groups and unions could challenge the accuracy of that report to the governmental body deciding on awards of city, state, and federal contracts over $1,000,000. The contract would then go to the corporation that both can competently fulfill the terms of the contract at a reasonable cost and has the best record of environmental and social responsibility.  To make this happen, we will seek public funding of all state and national elections as called for in the first section of the ESRA. It calls for the restriction of private contributions over a certain amount, coupled with strict disclosure, so that elected officials do not have to spend their time or attention playing to the interests of those wealthy enough to make substantial contributions to their election or re-election. We will champion voluntary simplicity and ethical consumption, humane ways to reduce population growth, and an end to global poverty and economic insecurity so people do not find themselves confronted with a dilemma of having to choose between the economic well-being of their families and environmentally sustainable choices.
  5. We will challenge the ethos that happiness comes from consumption and power and promote communities and work that enhance people’s experience of love, recognition, belonging, meaning, and purpose.
  6. We will develop strategies to provide a guaranteed annual income sufficient to provide for the material necessities of life.
  7. We will promote a spiritual approach to life such that people are encouraged to take time to slow down and connect with nature and each other, allowing us to see and celebrate the sacred in all life and the planet. One strategy to support this is to encourage everyone to take a day a week to enjoy and celebrate life, build community, and help repair the planet. On this day, people will be encouraged not to work, consume, or spend money. In addition, we support Sabbatical Year once every seven years, giving people the opportunity to deepen their connection with others, the planet, and to slow down so as to detach us from the capitalist marketplace of consumption and production for an entire year. A reduction in consumption and production will also help the earth recover its balance.

Spiritual practices and wisdom can give us the inner strength to lessen our addiction to endless consumption and challenge the belief (reinforced by the media) that the price and number of things we own are the measure of our worth. Through the ESRA, as mentioned in 3 above, we will ensure that corporations are environmentally and socially responsible. We emphasize the strong connection between environmental well-being and environmental justice, and challenge practices that effectively dump our environmental problems, garbage, waste, and destructiveness on those with less political power or money to resist these practices.

CONTRAST: LIBERAL AGENDA — Liberals fight for partial reforms that rarely take into account the systemic and global nature of the problem, rarely noting that for every reform they win, there are ten new areas in which environmental damage is intensifying. They focus on individual or community changes that can be made and narrow strategies that may be realistic to achieve, but fail to struggle for the systemic changes that are necessary to fundamentally halt and reverse the damage to our environment. Conversely, we seek one comprehensive reform that would end the need for countless smaller reforms. While the ESRA may take several decades to pass, the struggle for it will concentrate attention on the systemic nature of the problem we face and will generate a new societal consciousness about what needs to be changed in order to restore our democracy and protect the environment.

To the extent that they have a plan for how to recreate the economy, they fail to see or address the psycho-spiritual crisis with which people live in our global capitalist marketplace.

 CONTRAST: CONSERVATIVE AGENDA — Conservatives typically oppose any attempt to constrain corporate social irresponsibility. They argue that the best good for all will be achieved if each corporation pursues its own self-interest unrestrained, suggesting that the profits amassed by the corporation will “trickle down” to the rest of the population.

Conservatives spearhead policies that reduce the amount of land protected from corporate abuse. They put the interests of corporate profit above their responsibility to be stewards of the planet, and they often deny the urgency of global warming and other environmental disasters. They tend to see regulations as government overreach, when in fact it is actually protection of our health and environment.

Read on to #4, A Love and Justice Oriented Education System