A “Be the Change” Manifesto for the 21st Century

On New Year’s Day, 2012, I reaffirm my commitment to dedicate my talents and energies towards shifting our destructive global human society in a direction that values the ecological health of the entire web of life on Earth over the short-term gains of a minority of human beings.

I invite you to join me, and you would cheer me very much if you expressed your solidarity by responding to this post, if only with a “like.”

Manifesto for a Sustainable Future

Whereas human beings have acted in a dominating fashion towards each other and towards other living species on this planet, using the excuse of difference to justify aggressive and destructive behavior;

Whereas competition has been used as a rationale for economic systems based on hierarchical systems of power;

Whereas social exclusion and systematic discrimination has been seen as the normative right of dominant groups;

Whereas privileged groups have felt entitled to take more than their fair share from the environmental commons, and to deprive less powerful groups, whether human or of other species, of the resources necessary for well-being;

Whereas it is quickly becoming apparent, in the age of climate change, that the dominant paradigm of capitalist patriarchal social relations is resulting in the dangerous destabilization of the entire natural ecosystem;

The time has come to take action to change this paradigm in the following ways:

1. Move from a top-down hierarchical system to a horizontal, egalitarian model of social relations based on inclusivity across all of the traditional boundaries used to keep different groups apart, and also opening up the possibility for cross-species collaboration based on respect and stewardship;

2. Shift the worldwide economic system to a model of global cooperation and collaboration, with the focus of human industry and government on providing a baseline of well-being for all life forms on this planet, regardless of geographic origin or antiquated ideas of relative importance (ie, who is to say that a human being is more important than a songbird, or a sardine?);

3. Tailor the education system to teaching the history of the destructive cultural practices of homo sapiens up to the 21st century, and opening up constructive conversations across disciplines, where alternatives to these traditions can be envisioned and developed;

4. Model egalitarian, collaborative, respectful social relations in the private sphere of the family as well as the public spheres of education, the profession, government and law;

5. Shift from a violent conflict and punishment model of resolving disagreements to a peaceful persuasive model, with the goal always being the well-being of the community as a whole first, and secondly each member of it.

6. Destroy all weapons of mass destruction, as well as all bio and chemical weapons, and their blueprints.

7. Disallow any one person’s or minority group’s interests (with rich people and businesses or industries rightly being considered minorities)  to take precedence over the interests of the majority, including the non-human majority on this planet.

8. Develop an appropriate representative global governing council to administer these principles.

In the name of Mother Earth and ALL of her children, I call on the peoples of the world to act without delay to become the stewards of the planet and the collaborative, respectful individuals we were always meant to be.

Leave a comment


  1. kenyatta2009

     /  January 1, 2012

    Reblogged this on A Little Local Color.

  2. Kris Becker

     /  January 1, 2012

    I’m with you. We have a formidable task ahead of us, and some powerful foes–step one is changing the meta-narrative that squelches our hope that true change is possible. Thanks for doing what you’re doing.

  3. I like this title a lot. I also particularly appreciate the call to teach the true history of H. sapiens. I hope that more people will see your manifesto, and more people will make their own.

    I do have a couple of suggestions. More inclusive language? Like singling out capitalism. I prefer to speak of predatory economic systems… this speaks to all people, not just certain lefties. And avoids silly arguments about how Soviet socialism sucked more. Who cares what the predatory system is called? Be it socialism, capitalism, or even the admired North European social democracy, they are all predatory. They differ in who exactly gets the spoils.
    Singling out patriarchy. Other forms of domination are not worth including?

    And “global governing council” is like a signal to some people, watch out, this person wants that ominous One World Government. (Do I personally believe that a “representative global governing council” would work?… nah.)

    Time to transcend the old divisions, I hope. Which means listening for how people hear all those terms; they are PC with some, and anathema with others. Quite unnecessary, IMO.

    Hope this may be of use.

  4. Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

     /  January 2, 2012

    Yes, excellent suggestions, Leavergirl. I agree with you that a “global governing council” is too utopian–as we’ve seen with the United Nations. So are we imagining that we could agree to a set of principles, on the planetary level, but have all the implementation be at the local level? I suppose that is where the Occupy movement, with its GAs, is going.

    Re more inclusive language, I would love to see you take a stab at crafting such language. I know it’s reactionary, but I feel like calling out capitalism and patriarchy as so particularly destructive. But I totally agree that communism ( at least in China & Europe) was just as bad.

    I am thinking of taking the next few posts to try to unpack of each of the points on the manifesto more thoroughly and see if I can point towards some concrete modes of implementation–put roots on the visionary balloon, in other words. All suggestions and collaboration more than welcome–

    Happy New Year!

  5. Relocalization of both economic activity and governance. Once we get the hang of it, the progressively larger nested systems will emerge.

    I already took a stab. 🙂
    Predatory economic systems rather than isms, and domination rather than one or another particular subset of domination.

    Looking forward to your unpacking.

  6. A sustainable future is exactly where we need to go. This manifesto is thorough and inspiring – It’s helping me construct my own vision for the coming year and the future in general. I especially liked your idea about changing education. Thanks for this!


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