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A Brief Declaration of Interdependence

A clear Declaration of Interdependence focused on the rights of nature, with ideas similar to the New Declaration of Interdependence, 2010, but expressed in a way that is briefer and more accessible to contemporary readers.

A New Declaration of Interdependence (brief) (printer-friendly PDF)

A New Declaration of Interdependence

When in the course of catastrophic events we learn that our previous understanding is inadequate to encompass what we now see as our interdependent global community, it becomes incumbent upon us to re-imagine a way of interacting consistent with our enlarged understanding.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

That all beings have the right to thrive;

That all creatures, including all humans, have a right to clean air, clean water and healthy habitats to support the most basic needs of life;

That we must not allow short-term self-interest to persuade us to act against the interests of other beings and future generations;

That we must cease to confuse Liberty with possession and the Pursuit of Happiness with the accumulation of property and striving for status above others;

That the Pursuit of Happiness cannot take place only at the individual level – it can only move forward at the community level;

That our fates and fortunes are inextricably intertwined with all organisms that share our world, including human people, tree people, frog people, fish people, bird people, whale people and so many others;

That we must work to restore justice and compassion in our interactions with one another and with the habitats of all beings;

We can no longer sit back and endure crisis after crisis fostered by human ignorance of these simple truths.  We have witnessed the suffering and destruction so many times in recent years, including:

The despoiling of once-vibrant habitats and the disruption of traditional life-ways of indigenous people or customary livelihoods of working people for the extraction of fossil fuels;

The destruction of complex forest and coral reef habitats, endangering or extinguishing many species and much biodiversity around the globe, and the depletion and extinction of wild populations of fish and other species due to over-harvesting;

The inadvertent damage to ecosystems and human health due to pollution of our air, water and soil;

The disruptions to global climate, brought on by our burning of fossil fuels, increasing the likely frequency of extreme and dangerous weather events like floods, droughts and hurricanes;

The deliberate creation of potent toxins that may be targeted at exterminating certain species, but are capable of wreaking havoc on many others, including our own;

The development of weapons of war capable of ending the lives of vast multitudes of beings in an instant, and the horrors of our lesser war technologies;

The infliction of cruelty on humans and other sensitive beings.

In the midst of these crises we have come to understand that we cannot pursue our own self-interest without considering the interests of other beings, for to do so is to engender harm to others, our selves, and our descendants.  Our well-being is entirely dependent on the well-being of all life on earth.  We humbly submit that while we cannot prescribe or predict how others will change their communities, the need for change is urgent, and we must all support one another in addressing this challenge.  Thus, do we not only reassert the right of all humans to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, but further recognize the rights of all species to live and thrive according to their role in the intricately interwoven operation of Great Nature.

~ Written by Judy Bloomgardener and Michelle Y. Merrill (2010) under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Generic license. We invite you to share, revise and otherwise play with this text.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2010 8:14 pm

    We had some interesting conversations about the phrase “That the Pursuit of Happiness cannot take place only at the individual level – it can only move forward at the community level.” In some ways, this appears to be the pendulum response to the emphasis on individual liberties that has been ascendant since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
    Perhaps there is a way to better include the idea of a dynamic balance between the rights of individuals and the interdependence of communities. Any thoughts or suggestions?

  2. Karen Groppi permalink
    July 14, 2010 10:50 pm

    This brings to mind the African concept of Ubuntu .

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_%28philosophy%29

    Also as mentioned by McCartney & Lennon in I am the Walrus:

    “I am he as you are he as you are me
    And we are all together…

    Goo goo g’ joob”

    The notion of individuals operating completely independently is widely accepted though entirely mythological .

  3. July 14, 2010 11:22 pm

    Judy had actually talked about the principle of Ubuntu as something we wanted to incorporate into our declaration, but I didn’t want to have to provide the definition, so I went with an explanation of the idea in English instead. Still, a “Declaration of Ubuntu” has a nice ring to it.

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