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7 Ways to Protect Future Generations!

March/April 2013

The Networker
Dear Friend,

"Maybe I could show what could happen if we lived by a different set of rules." Lebbeus Woods, visionary architect

The game of Monopoly has a major flaw: Boardwalk and Connecticut Place don’t have forests, rivers, and prairies; nor does it show what happens on the Pennsylvania Railroad when the train full of fracking fluid overturns and poisons the land and children. Our economic system is no better since it is governed by laws with many of the same flawed assumptions as Monopoly. The law is an epic fail in protecting the basic necessities for living, including clean air and water, a relatively stable climate, and healthy ecosystems.

What if we had laws and policies that actually protected health, the land, and Future Generations? What if the law was based on rights and responsibilities, especially to future beings?

Last September, something extraordinary happened in Moab, Utah. Women, men, youth, and elders came together as a shadow government to draft a set of laws and polices that are designed to protect present and Future Generations and the Earth--to protect the things that are more precious than money. SEHN, along with Peaceful Uprising and the local radio station KZMU, co-organized the Women's Congress for Future Generations to begin the work of drafting the rules of respect and care for present and Future Generations. We came together to fulfill the special responsibility that women hold as the first environment for Future Generations.

We took a hard look at the law and realized there is no Bill of Responsibilities held by present generations and the Bill of Rights does not contain the right to a clean and healthy environment. As a result, the Congress produced a living a document, the draft Declaration of the Rights Held by Future Generations and Bill of Responsibilities for Present Generations.

The Declaration has four sections--a preamble, a bill of rights, a bill of responsibilities, and a set of guiding principles.

Those who attended the Moab Congress felt their voices represented only a fraction of the world’s women and of the diverse communities of Future Generations to come. Not wanting to speak on behalf of those whose voices were not represented, they conceived of these as working documents to be used, amended, illustrated, challenged, and explored. These drafts will live, breathe, and evolve as an ever-widening circle of people add their voices to these statements and pass down these rights and responsibilities from generation to generation.

What can you do?

  1. Read the Declaration and explore the ideas it contains;
  2. Use it as a model for political candidates’ platforms;
  3. Propose that local governments appoint or elect a Guardian of Future Generations;
  4. Become a guardian of some natural treasure (a local river or prairie,or groundwater, etc.) and be its voice in political decisions;
  5. Join with others on various campaigns to protect the rights of Future Generations;
  6. Support this work financially. In the coming months, we will be reaching out to First Lady Michelle Obama and we are beginning to plan the Second Women's Congress for Future Generations, which we anticipate will be held in 2014. Stay tuned for more details!
  7. Sign this commitment to the Declaration that we are urging individuals and groups to sign. Please add your voice to this movement to protect Future Generations!


Carolyn Raffensperger

Executive Director

Science and Environmental Health Network


Upcoming EventsOn April 12th, Joe Guth will present A Human Right to a Healthy Environment at UC Berkeley and on May 2nd at the California Green Chemistry Initiative: An Insider's Perspective conference.Carolyn Raffensperger will give public testimony at the State Department public meeting on the Keystone Pipeline in Grand Isle, Nebraska on April 18th.On April 23rd, Ted Schettler will be speaking at the Asthma: A Multi-factorial Disease Requiring Multi-Level Interventions conference and at the Primary Prevention of Asthma: A Symposium on Current Evidence, Research Needs and Opportunities for Action April 23rd-24th.
SEHN in the NewsTed Schettler was quoted in Environmental Health News about how DDT may be linked to high blood pressure in women.
Precaution Reporter: Precautionary Principle to be Applied in French Public SchoolsIn March, the French National Assembly passed an amendment favoring wired connections, rather than wi-fi, in order to protect students from the potentially carcinogenic impact of wireless internet. This is the first time that the Precautionary Principle will be applied in France to children.
Healthcare Without HarmEach month, we'll feature an organization we work with and admire. This month, we're highlighting our partners at Healthcare Without Harm. Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of hospitals and health care systems, medical professionals, community groups, health-affected constituencies, labor unions, environmental and environmental health organizations, and religious groups. With their partners around the world, Health Care Without Harm shares a vision of a health care sector that does no harm, and instead promotes the health of people and the environment. The organization is working to implement ecologically sound and healthy alternatives to health care practices that pollute the environment and contribute to disease.To learn more about Healthcare Without Harm, visit
Join Us!Do you feel called to stand for Future Generations? Do you believe the health of our bodies is intimately tied to the health of our communities, ecosystems, and our political systems? Join with SEHN and become part of our community working for lasting, systemic change. Your gift is vital to continuing this work, and we are so grateful for your support.