Our Work

Mission

We raise up women’s voices to catalyze actions that shift laws, policies, and norms that support a world in which future generations can thrive.

We ground our work
in an ethic of care.

Why a Women's Congress

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“Every issue voiced in the march was ultimately about care.” Senator Kamala Harris, at the January 21, 2017 Women’s March

Women are rising up to claim their responsibility and act on behalf of the earth, the commons, and future generations. We need new tools and policies that will afford those who come after us the chance for a healthy world.

How will we do that?

  •       Lift up the voices of women taking a stand to protect what we love, locally and nationally.
  •       Claim our unique responsibility as women to protect current and future generations from harm. The womb is the first environment for future generations and women everywhere, whether biological mothers or not, have a fierce desire to protect the young of all species.
  •       Provide a platform for women leaders in the environmental movement to be honored, to be heard and to reach larger audiences.
  •       Deepen our collective understanding of, and strengthen our commitment to, the need for justice - environmentally, economically and socially.
  •       Create spaces where all women feel valued and heard as they take a stand to change the policies of our local, state and federal governments to protect what we share, the Commons.
  •       Build a network of Guardians for Future Generations through workshops, webinars and online tools. We will be offering opportunities for everyone to find their place in the movement in the months preceding the November Congress and beyond. There is no “expiration date” for this work!
  •       Re-imagine together the proper role of government. What would the world look like if the government understood their role to be protectors of the common health and commonwealth of the earth and all sentient beings? Together, we will shift the paradigm to an ethic of care.  

Key Documents

The Companion
The Women’s Congress Companion for Political Change is a comprehensive “kitchen table study guide” intended to support community members’ political engagement as guardians for future generations -- a guide to how to walk with others and do the good and often hard work of protecting the places you love and wish to pass on to future generations.
Learn More Below
Guardian of Future Generations
“I dreamed that I was standing next to a young tree. It was the Tree of Life. One branch was dead. The tree was dying from the changing climate. I was charged with keeping it alive for future generations.” Guardians of Future Generations, KOSMOS, Fall/Winter 2013 (Carolyn Raffensperger)
Learn More
Declaration of the Rights of All Waters
Water has spoken and we are opening our ears to listen. Declaration adopted at the 2nd Women's Congress, 2014.
Learn More
Bill of Rights of Future Generations
A living document. A manifestation of a process, a relationship, and the beginning of a radical movement on behalf of future generations. Includes Present Generations Bill of Responsibilities and Guiding Principles.
Learn More
Key Concepts

The Principles that underpin the Companion for Political Change

1

CENTRALITY OF THE COMMONS

The Commons is the environment we all share: air, water, soil, climate, animals, insects, and human culture of music, art, language, dance, and more. We recognize that we owe—and future generations deserve—a healthy Commons, passed down from each generation to the next. We must take care of the things we share and need to live, and we share a lot. A key role of government is to serve as the trustee or guardian of the common wealth and common health.

2
FREE, PRIOR, AND INFORMED CONSENT

Communities, like individuals, have the right to autonomy and self-determination, especially concerning decisions and actions affecting our Commons: We recognize that communities have the right and responsibility to refuse actions that may damage their environment. We recognize that we can, and must, insist that informed consent of everyone affected is obtained before any action is taken.

2
FREE, PRIOR, AND INFORMED CONSENT

Communities, like individuals, have the right to autonomy and self-determination, especially concerning decisions and actions affecting our Commons: We recognize that communities have the right and responsibility to refuse actions that may damage their environment. We recognize that we can, and must, insist that informed consent of everyone affected is obtained before any action is taken.

3
PUBLIC TRUST THEORY OF GOVERNMENT

The Public Trust theory of government, specifically that a key function of government is to protect the commonwealth and common health for present and future generations. It is the role of government to ensure that the Commons will be cared for generation after generation in perpetuity. Such emerging legal ideas can enlarge the concept of democracy, empower communities to protect their waters and future generations, and provide guidance on decision-making when faced with economic proposals.

4
THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE

Our planet’s future is uncertain. We recognize our responsibility to prevent harm, if possible, and to heed early warnings of harm. This is a statement of ethics. As we identify practices that are harmful to our planet, endangering our future, we must hold everyone accountable for their actions today: governments, businesses, communities, and individuals.

5
GUARDIANSHIP OF FUTURE GENERATIONS

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 and participate in decisions that impact future generations. We can designate legal guardians to review regulations for their impact on the future, and to audit the commons under our jurisdiction.

6
ECONOMIC JUSTICE - TOWARDS AN OWL ECONOMY

Our planet is a self-sustaining ecosystem and we are part of it. We recognize that we must not take more from the Earth than it can regenerate, or put more into it than it can restore.
An owl economy — as opposed to a bear and bull economy — is a wisdom-based approach to economics calling for recognition that the Earth is the source of our life and our economic activity. An economic system based on limitless extraction of resources, places, and people is unsustainable and unjust. Our economic tenets re-root our economics in the earth, honoring our relationship with the natural world and with each other.

7
WITHDRAWING CONSENT

We can withdraw our consent from decisions and actions that threaten and damage the future of our planet. We recognize our responsibility to withdraw our consent from a way of life that endangers our planet’s future. We recognize that when we—the affected, the governed—join together and withdraw our consent from corporate or government actions and practices, those who govern and conduct business have an obligation to respond.

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Do not lose heart. …. Especially do not lose hope. We were made for these times. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.  ...I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able crafts in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, adapted from Letter to a Young Activist