Guardians in Action

Guardians for Future Generations has been part of the work of the Science & Environmental Health Network for many years. We are seeing the concept resonate within the environmental movement. Community members are stepping up to become Guardians of the things we share: The Commons (land, air, water).

What do we mean by Guardianship? Protecting the rights of future generations to inherit a livable planet. Our core belief is that future generations have the right to an ecologically healthy environment, a habitable earth where they can thrive. We recognize our responsibility to tend and nurture that healthy environment. We can all become guardians, participating in decisions that impact future generations. And, we can designate legal guardians to review regulations for their impact, and to audit the Commons under our jurisdiction.

A new ethic is emerging that defines the challenges we face: Present generations have a responsibility to protect the rights of future generations to inherit a livable planet. Future generations include nature and all living beings.

This new ethic invites rethinking governmental institutions. Many assume that the main role of government is to promote the economy and that a strong economy will guarantee prosperity. But an even more fundamental role for government is to protect the basic infrastructure of life and the Commons. If water, air, public health or other important common assets are threatened, government has a primary duty to protect them.

The people and the planet need public officials to be a moral force for public health and well-being. We need decision-makers to awaken to the fact that our quality of life is more critical than anything else.

2017 Milestones:

  • In February of 2017, we launched the next phase of Guardian work in Minnesota, working with community members to explore actions and identify opportunities to protect the environment and ensure environmental justice. We aim to engage local and state governments to adopt a “Guardianship” approach to their work.
  • In April, Guardians met with Minnesota Legislators to ask them to become Guardians for Future Generations. We were met with enthusiasm and are currently working with one Senator on a bill that would enact a legal “Guardian for Future Generations” who would ensure public policy decisions take into account the affects a proposal has on future generations.
  • We are training our Guardians in “Heart-based Conversations” so they can dialogue with others who may not share the same view about government or environmental protections.  Guardians meet monthly in “Wisdom Circles” to increase their inner level of awareness and vitality, offering spiritual practices and support in challenging times!  (See Guardian Wisdom Circles page)

Let us know if you want to join with us in Minnesota or if you are ready to start a network of Guardians where you live. We’re here to support those efforts!

Contact Lisa Venable on our Minnesota Team – click here