|Science & Environmental Health Network|
Science, Ethics and Action in the Public Interest
What is Future Generation Guardianship?
People 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.
Future Generation Guardianship is one way to do that. It is a new twist on an ancient idea.
It's the Seventh Generation Principle of the Iroquois linked to the active role of guardianship.
Read the Bemidji Statement on Seventh Generation Guardianship to see how this idea was expressed in 2006, based on a collaboration with Indigenous people.
Guardians of future generations take specific responsibility for our common future.
Future 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.
Developing this idea calls for everyone's help, wisdom, and experience. Click Here to 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?
Law for Future Generations—SEHN/Harvard Project
Two 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:
1. How do we formally assert that future generations have a right to a habitable planet?
2. What legal and social relationships can embody our duty to preserve our children's only home, the Earth?
3. What institutions can we create to make those relationships real and effective?
for Protecting the Environment for Future Generations
State Constitutional Provisions & Model Statute
Read Tim Montague’s review and summary of these groundbreaking reports, How to Protect the Future.
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?
The Theory and Practice of Perpetual Care of Contaminated Sites 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
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 places.
Guardians of Future Generations: A Roadmap
Guardians of Future Generations
Change and Intergenerational Justice
A paper by University of Vermont/University of Iowa legal scholar Burns Weston.
state NEPA for the 21st Century
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