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15 Jan 2009

The Transition Declaration of Independence

Here is something rather wonderful that emerged in late 2008 from New Zealand, thanks for Dr. Susan Krundieck (about whom more below). It is an update of the US Declaration of Independence, brought up to date for a generation facing peak oil, climate change and economic contraction, and is attributed to the Representatives of the Transition Committee of Oamaru (a town in New Zealand).  I love the list of ‘the Growth Economy has for its own sake…’ accusations statements… there is a deep, forceful power to this, a clearly spoken and resonant declaration of intent.  Prepare yourself for a goosebumps moment.
Transition Declaration of Independence
Adapted from the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America
Thomas Jefferson, 1776
Adaptation by Dr. Susan Krumdieck, 2008

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the economic bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, Justice, the pursuit of Happiness, a Healthy Natural Environment and Sustainability for ourselves, the Third Generation and the Seventh Generation.

— That to secure these rights, Organisations are instituted among Communities, deriving their just powers from the consent of the Members,

— That whenever any Form of Economy becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Relationship, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Economic Relationships long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them and their environment to ruin, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Economic Constraints, and to provide new Guards for their future security and sustainability.

— Such has been the patient sufferance of this community; and such is now the necessity which constrains us to alter our former Systems of Business Growth for its own Sake and Environmental Exploitation. The history of the present Theory of Economics is a history of repeated disasters, injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over communities and the environment. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

The Growth Economy for its own Sake has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, felled our forests, polluted our water and fouled our air.

The Growth Economy for its own Sake has exploited our talents, put us into debt, degraded our culture and eroded our relationships with the members of our community.

The Growth Economy for its own Sake has exploited mineral resources which by right should belong to people in perpetuity in order to obscenely enrich a few in the short term.

The Growth Economy for its own Sake has paved our farms, sprawled our towns, and destroyed the quality of live of our people and their children and grandchildren.

The Growth Economy for its own Sake has convinced us, for more than a century, to ignore the voice of scientific knowledge and reason in order to continue the acidification of our air and oceans through Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrous Oxides and Carbon Dioxide emissions from combustion of fossil fuels.

The Growth Economy for its own Sake has exploited the labour of people and environments that have no protection from ill use, and has persecuted people who worked for economic justice and equality.

The Growth Economy for its own Sake has assaulted the morality of our youth and treated them as a target market rather than with the respect of future citizens and community members.

The Growth Economy for its own Sake has corrupted the purpose of our governance and civic institutions, it has usurped the purpose of our curiosity and research efforts, and it has shifted the motivation for the education of our young from development of their intellect and character to exploitation of their labours for further growth of the economy.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the Transition Committee of Oamaru, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of this community, solemnly publish and declare, That this Community is, and of Right ought to be Free, that we are Absolved from all unsustainable and perverse requirements of the Growth Economy for its own Sake, and that all connection between this Community and the Growth Economy, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a Free and Sustainable Community, we have full Power to reduce fuel and electricity consumption, restore our environment, protect our culture, nurture our agricultural assets, set aside our resources, refrain from extracting minerals, stone or fossil fuels, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Local Commerce based on our own principles and theories, and to do all other Acts and Things which Sustainable Communities may of right do.

— And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

*******************************************

Some background information on the Transition Declaration of Independence (kindly provided by email by Ted Howard of Transition Nelson (many thanks to Ted and James Howard for all the information on this story).

For a bit of background on Dr Susan Krumdieck (Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury) click here. Susan was the co-speaker with David Holmgren of the weekend workshop I attended in April 2007.  She and David were speakers at the ASPO-NZ Symposium we ran in Nelson 2 weeks later. Susan is on the advisory board of ASPO-NZ.

After the event in Oamaru, Michael O’Brian a master bookbinder artisan gave me his last handmade and bound copy of “Victorian Oamaru” which really is a vision/action plan for spreading the work of the Oamaru Natural Heritage Soc. and anchoring it as an important part of the future of the town. Though dressed up as a tourist attraction (all these eccentric people who dress in Victorian garb and work in artisan crafts), in reality they have known for some time the present unravelling would be coming, and had been planning for it.  The last 2 pages are a list of the 200 artisan skills that were required to make a Victorian town functional, and I presented this list in a workshop on Transition Towns at the Ecoshow, as examples of the skills we were likely to need in a post-carbon world.

I brought this back to Nelson and gave it to someone to scan, but in never got done and was returned to me. I scanned it, but forgot to return it to Michael, until I remembered it as I was about to travel from Nelson to Riverton in the far south to assist teaching a Permaculture Design Course. I dropped into Oamaru on the way there and had lunch with Micheal. He had recently gone through big changes in his life and felt he was “losing his vision.”

2 weeks before I visited, the Oamaru folks had gone through their second workshop, setting up the Transition Oamaru steering group and again working with Susan Krumdieck. The result was a study run by her post-grad students, and her modified version of the American Declaration Of Independence.

When I walked into Michael O’Brian’s book bindery, I gave him back his “Victorian Oamaru” and he thanked me for literaly returning his “vision” then showed me the copy of the Oamaru Declaration he had just had printed up on parchment paper, then nailed to the Oamaru stone wall and signed it. A young German tourist couple, visiting the book bindery, sensed that something interesting and significant was happening, and asked for an explanation. Michael explained what was going on, the significance of his returned “vision” and the nailing up of the Declaration. It was a seriously goosebumpy moment!

As I left for the training and Ecoshow in Taupo this month, I brought the copy of the Declaration that Michael gave to me, in the chance I could share it with NZTT folks, especially with James. When I did this, he was deeply inspired, and took it away and made a copy. He read it out at a dinner he attended on the Friday evening of the Ecoshow. Andrew Rundle-Keswick from TT Kapiti was there, got deeply inspired and came back to the marae where we were staying, found me, wanting to read it through again. He asked if it was available electronicaly, and we looked on both Susan’s and the ONHS site, and couldn’t find it. So he transcribed it onto his computer.

The next day Susan gave her ‘Transitioneering’ PPP at the Ecoshow and at that time, we found out that she was the author of the Oamaru Declaration, but no copy was up on the website. Andrew being the computer techie for her presentation, was able to explain he now had a copy, on his computer, and immediately put it up on the screen. We asked Susan to read it out to us….a powerful moment!

It deeply reflected her Lord Of The Rings story within her presentation, of the little people (hobbits) stepping up to the impossible task, in the same way the TT movement is doing so today. We are now all part of a truely epic story, unfolding around and through us!

Comments are now closed on this site, please visit Rob Hopkins' blog at Transition Network to read new posts and take part in discussions.

34 Comments

pete rout
15 Jan 10:35am

Maybe we should all adopt this and adapt it for our own areas, especially London with the new runway. How in ten tears are we going to fly aeroplanes when there is a scarcity of oil.
What is the Transition Movement going to do about this and other major infrastructure works that are based on an oil economy?
Pete

steph bradley
15 Jan 11:35am

thanks for sharing that Rob –
it did indeed send goosebumps, and the energy of action coursed through me – as if there wasn;t enough of that already working for Transition!!

Joanne Poyourow
15 Jan 4:20pm

Does anyone have that “last 2 pages are a list of the 200 artisan skills that were required to make a Victorian town functional” electronically?

Joanne Poyourow
Los Angeles

Ted Howard
15 Jan 6:46pm

Hi Joanne
If you want it, I can send it to you as the original 2 jpegs from my scanning. I have not either had it transcribed, or have text recognition software.

Regards
Ted Howard
Nelson
kitesfun(at)ihug.co.nz

Jennifer Lauruol
15 Jan 11:36pm

Hi Joanne and Ted,
I would be happy to re-type it, if you would like to send me a copy of the jpgs, then I’ll send it to Rob to upload onto this site.
Jennifer
design(at)carpe-diem-gardens.co.uk

Shane
16 Jan 12:13pm

i too think it would be great to get hold of the 200 hundred crafts.
Thanks
Shane

Rob
16 Jan 1:37pm

Thanks for that Jennifer, that would be fascinating, and great to be able to make them more widely available….thanks.

Rob Weston
16 Jan 2:41pm

Still goosebumpy as I write this 🙂 I was talking to Ben B over lunch yesterday about appropriate use of the media. The viral spread, all over the world, of a growing number of communities of all kinds making such formal declarations would make a very powerful media story. What thoughts, folks?

Joseph
16 Jan 3:46pm

Can anyone do this?

Susan Krumdieck
17 Jan 8:28am

Hi, I looked up your site after receiving a bunch of emails yesterday and today. People from all over the world were asking if they could print out the TDI or put it on their local transition group website. I even had one request if it was ok to translate it into German. Transitioners are so polite and thoughtful! I think the answer is positively yes!. And I think people should review their history about the revolution and subsequent founding of the USA. I had the idea for this actually after an equally good idea. I think that when a transition group starts, they have to recognise that it will have to go beyond what they can do individually and it will have to eventually become part of the civic structure and will affect development and regulatory decisions. I had this idea that people could convene a transition constitutional convention. I got that idea from the Jefferson project (NPR). But before the convention they have to declare their intent and purpose. Thus, I pulled out Thomas Jefferson’s masterpiece and there we are. I got serious goosebumps doing it, much like when I invent something or solve a really hard problem. That usually tells me it fits true.

Anyway, check out my research website. Believe it or not, there is someone in academia trying to figure out how to fast track the transition through adaptation of the existing engineering capabilities. Fast-track indeed. My first lecture on peak oil and global warming was in 1985!

Regards, Susan

Chris White
17 Jan 1:20pm

Rob H,

i’ve copied and pasted this declaration onto the exmouth blog on our site, i hope this is ok and i’ve pointed people to this address for a full read.

Rob W,

this is a great piece of work and sums up my thoughts and feelings very powerfully… i would agree that adopting something of this stature would make a strong statement if done nationally, would need a collaborated effort though i would think. i’ll mention it at the next steering meeting.

Don Hall
17 Jan 8:14pm

This is a great idea! A very stirring thing to have and be able to read at meetings and events.

Is it OK for other communities to adapt and adopt this, giving credit where credit is due?

I don’t know how to get a hold of Susan, so I thought I’d ask here.

I also like the idea of it being a “Declaration of Interdependence,” with the earth and all beings, not just the global economy.

Rob Weston
18 Jan 12:35am

A ‘Declaration of Interdependence’ – another wave of goosebumps…

Rob Weston
18 Jan 12:38am

PS Chris – goes without saying that I agree with your statement that this would need a collaborative effort – if there’s anything a seasoned media hack can do to help, let me know…

Shane
18 Jan 8:13pm

Susan Krumdieck, it would be good to know which groups are looking to adopt. Perhaps there is enough groups and momentum to make this medial worthy, as mentioned.
I’m happy to put it to my local community group in Bedford for adoption.

As we look to rebuild our economy, our support for this document is a timely shout, load and clear that we don’t want to put the pieces back together in the same flawed way.

Don Hall, In response to your question “Is it OK for other communities to adapt and adopt this” Susan Krumdieck has posted on this thread saying “positively yes”

Shane
18 Jan 8:17pm

ohh and the fact that Obama is about to be sworn in makes it even more timely.
I’d go for interdependence too!

Susan Krumdieck
19 Jan 4:23am

I’ve been thinking about Rob’s suggestion for ‘Declaration of Interdependence’. I understand your intention. The thing is, that the hard thing is the separation from a system that is reducing your freedom, your options, and your sustainability. What you want is the freedom to be interdependent on your own community if you want to. It seems to me that interdepenced is one of the re-building blocks that goes into the new system. The fundamental change, is throwing off the corporate paradigm, and declaring the right to start working on a better way.

Remember, the American rebels didn’t know what they were going to do as an alternative when they declared their freedom. It took several years and a lot of thinking and negotiation to work that out.

Interdepencence might be one of the hallmarks of transition communities. However, I think it will be something that will not come naturally in full. There will have to be norms, manners, rules, and good faith requirements set up to protect participants in local markets. For example, codes of practice for proper ways to butcher animals are thousands of years old, and they are generally protective of human health.

Guess I should conclude – sorry. I think Declaration of Independence is what is meant. We could add the freedom to become interdependent as one of the rights claimed. Let the web convention begin…

Susan

Bob Thorp
19 Jan 10:29am

Susan – “Nature’s God”, “their Creator”, “Supreme Being”, “divine providence”, “sacred Honor”? The founding “fathers” were deeply Christian and not being ironic, if this new declaration is ironic it is lost in translation and not much use as a declaration. Problem with dragging stuff up from the past is that these things are very culturally specific and don’t always transpose.

The Christian God stuff is going to limit the Transition appeal – one of the things I like about Transition so far is the inclusivity. So far our transition group has collected together people with different belief systems and world views and we hope to encourage more to gather on the common ground we discover through our conversations.

The other problem I have with a declaration of independence is that it does and will create an “other” group. Whenever human society does this, the end result is conflict and war. To continue the relgious theme there is no one in Transition who is without sin – we’re all part of the globalised economy and have eaten from its table in some way – supermarkets (for example) might be part of the problem but the people who own and run them are also part of the solution.

Shane
19 Jan 2:48pm

Quick suggestions;

1. If agreed the god stuff can be removed easily enough from the overarching document. Moreover there was talk about group level adaptation.
2. If it was a declaration of “interdependence” we wouldn’t feed the “Us” and “them” mentality. Susan, Would you agree that interdependence is a social, ecological and economical reality rather than a right? Although, in time we hope, through relocalisation, to become more independent.

Bob Thorp
19 Jan 4:05pm

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
(1624, Donne)

I think that the Declaration of Interdependence is an obvious but not too deeply thought out play on words. Interdependence is a de facto part of the human condition, always was – we wouldn’t be here now if we had not or did not learn interdependence. What is or should be at issue are the terms of those socio-economic relationships, the values that underpin them and the (power) structures that are maintained to enforce, govern and re-create those interdependence relationships (the law, normative behaviour, armed force?).

The dependency-independence-interdependence-dependence continuum makes sense at the scale of the individual and their developing maturity, precisely so that they can participate effectively in society, working with others (I think this is Stephen Covey’s idea?) but not so sure how useful this concept is for modelling society, unless it is a recognition that some communities with strong internal bonds (world view, common purpose etc) cannot exist in isolation and must build mutually beneficial bridges with others (win-win). Whichever, I suppose the point is that it is the quality of the interdependence not interdependence in itself that is important.

I never thought that Transition was aiming at greater independence just different scale linkages, less alienation, more just, human and equitable relationships. If anything we become individually less independent when the scale and relationships are re-localised, family and neighbour will become more important. Capitalist society in the way that it has commodified all relationships (think about old folks homes- the dependence at the end of our lives)has reduced every social transaction to a money value. May be less independence and a bit more responsibility (duty?) is part of the future in ways it has not been for some time?

Joseph
20 Jan 7:52pm

how do we do this?

Joseph
20 Jan 8:25pm

What my I do myself to prepare for this?

Ted Howard
20 Jan 11:14pm

Hi folks
Corinne has done a wonderful job of transcribing the list of skills from Michael O’Brien’s “Victorian Oamaru” and here is what she’s done.

Thanks!
Ted

Hi Ted,

I’ve typed up the 200 skills in a rtf format document, which is more easily opened by different computer systems. Let me know if there is something I’ve missed or need to correct (in particular for the introduction/source). If it is okay with you (or with Michael O’Brien), I was planning to send it to a few people who have asked for it, and also to Rob Hopkins.

Cheers,

Corinne

List of 200 artisan skills required to make a Victorian town functional

(skills that might be needed in a post-carbon world)

-taken from the last 2 pages of appendices from “Victorian Oamaru : A vision For The Future” by Michael O’Brien. Sent in by Ted Howard of Nelson, New Zealand.

Woodland Crafts. Coppicers, hurdle makers, rake makers, fork makers, besom makers, handle makers, hoop makers, ladder makers, crib makers, broaches and peg makers, clog sole cutters, bodgers, charcoal burners, oak basket makers, trug makers, stick and staff makers, field gate makers, willow basket makers, net makers.

Building crafts. Stone masons, joiners, roofers, floor layers, wallers, thatchers, slaters, lime burners, paint makers, glass blowers, glaziers, stained glass artists, mud brick makers, tile makers, chimney sweeps, plumbers, decorators, bridge builders, French polishers, sign writers.

Field crafts. Hedge layers, dry stone wallers, stile makers, well diggers, peat cutters, gardeners, horticulturists, vintners, arborists, tree surgeons, foresters, farmers, shepherds, shearers, bee keepers, millers, fishermen, orchardists, veterinarians.

Workshop crafts. Chair makers, iron founders, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, coopers, coppersmiths, tinsmiths, wood turners, coach builders, boat builders, sail makers, rope makers, wainwrights, block makers, leather tanners, harness makers, saddlers, horse collar makers, boot and shoe makers, cobblers, clog makers, knife makers, cutters, millstone dressers, potters, printers, typographers, calligraphers, bookbinders, paper makers, furniture makers, jewellers, mechanics, boiler makers, boiler men, soap makers, gunsmith, sword smith, brush maker, candle maker, artist, sculptor, firework maker, cycle builder, bone carver, musical instrument maker, clay pipe maker, tool maker.

Textile crafts. Spinner, weaver, dyer, silk grower, tailor, seamstress, milliner, hatter, lace maker, button maker, mat and rug maker, crochet worker, tatting and macramé worker, knitter, quilter, smock worker, embroiderer, leather worker, felt maker.

Domestic crafts. Fish smoker, bacon curer, butter maker, cheese maker, brewer, cider maker, wine maker, distiller, herbalist, ice cream maker, butcher, fishmonger, pie maker, pickle maker, baker, barrister and coffee roaster, homeopath, reflexologist, osteopath, naturopath, storyteller, teacher naturalist, historian, jester, actor, administrator, philosopher, labourer, poet, writer, midwife, publican, bookseller, librarian and idiot – there is no unemployment in this traditional model!

No doubt there are many others I have not thought of.

Shane
21 Jan 10:48am

This excellent, thank you all involved. I’ve put my name down for publican…

Susan Krumdieck
22 Jan 10:14am

On the references to a diety in the Declaration of Independence. I wouldn’t want to suppose that people are worried about references to God or a Creator. I certainly am not uncomfortable with religion, which is why I didn’t change that part of the original. Calling on ideals or higher powers as the source of freedom, not another person is a powerful part of this document. As any repressed group knows, you have to demand freedom, as a right not as a favor. Freedom is not another human’s to give, humans have it by nature. I’m pretty sure people know historical context. I woudn’t dream of making such a powerful document PC. However, I did change “all men are created equal” to “all people” – oops, force of habit.

I’d re-iterate that I drew this up for a certain group of people, and for them it said what they felt. If it doesn’t speak to someone, then they should do something else. But this journey has a long way to go. People should share what they have, and others can use it or not.

The one call for freedom in this declaration was aimed at being freed from being a “consumer”. Claiming the right to exercise human judgement, mercy and grace etc. – not just utility. The talk that this went with was looking at the paradigm of economic growth for its own sake and how that paradigm thinks of people, as “consumers who work to increase their utility”. This one-dimensional view of people and that their primary motivation is to consume is a basic tennet of economics. The freedom wasn’t from government or social ties or other people, it was from being considered as nothing but a “consumer”, only partly human.

So, Bob, if the references in a document to a Creator turn you green, then don’t use it yourself.

Shane, I think after a group of people recognise that they can particiapte in their own local economy on their own terms without having to destroy their commons to do it, then their interdependencies develop naturally. I agree with Bob that the play on words is tempting, but not really what is meant in this particular instance.

If you like, there are different stages:

(1) Declaration of Independence from destructive, de-humanizing economics.

(2) Articles to set out the agreed rules of interdependence. e.g. you have to disclose all ingredients if you sell a food product. The people participating in the market will devise these for them selves as needed.

Cheers, Susan

Emet Degirmenci-Alpay
26 Jan 10:49pm

Well… I’m into hamnity do not need economical growth any more. And everything interrelated. So interdependence and mutuality are really significant elements of sustainable communities.

However, this should be different than consumer driven capitalist sosciety. For instance communities can exchange goods and skills which can be artisan based or made with smaill or human scale technologies. Even communies can organise festival to exchange their things like Australian Abiriginies used to that ones a year. In this way people used to meet with the other tribal members and even some engagement could happen:)

In short, we do not need to buy electricity or water and more…from the centralized city services, but at the same time I’m not into primitivism. Human beign have deveoped many good things e.g washing machine, computer, telephone, etc. they are asset to keep. So transition to autonomy/independence requires deatiled thinking, cause we need to educate other people too.

Ciao,
Emet Degirmenci-Alpay

Bob Thorp
28 Jan 11:30pm

Hi Susan – meant to respond earlier but got a bit tied up. Well, you may not want to suppose that people are worried about references to the god idea but there are people out there who are and in my view we should be; religion makes me uncomfortable – it has a pretty troubled history as a bunch of blokes thinking about and shaping the world – the church didn’t exactly hang the bunting our when Galileo upset the “organisation’s” world view and they weren’t too keen on that chap Darwin with his crazy ideas, indeed, there are still religious elements who won’t let it go and bang on about Creationism and Intelligent Design. The churches around the book invented the idea of “dominion” and still hold on to the essentially anthropomorphic view of the world that, it can be argued, has helped get humanity in to its present pickle. Time we stopped thinking there is some father figure up there and adopt a more useful biocentric view of the world and our possible place in the ecological web. Freedom does not come from an appeal to a higher (what’s with this hierarchy – who/what is lower?) god/ideal, no freedom comes when people recognise they have interests in common and are prepared to act intelligently, compassionately and with generosity to shape a place on the planet for people that is respectful of the intrinsic rights of each other and all species. Communities who define and limit themselves with strong religious beliefs have trouble with the biocentric – they have trouble with each other!

I don’t get the repressed consumer bit – is it not just a bit of an oxymoron and a little bit pathetic – please god save me from shopping – really! I exercise my judgement every time I shop and consume, its not hard. But, ultimately you’re cool because you conveniently drop into the sea that is moral relativism – if it floats your boat, if it works for you then that’s OK – perhaps a bit contradictory, given your defence of the “higher”, but hey. So why get a bit ruffled when questions are raised about how useful the god/religion paradigm is going to be for framing our collective consciousness in ways that help humanity make the transition to a genuinely sustainable, steady state existence? The transition process should be positive, creative, innovative but it shouldn’t dispense with critical and self-critical thinking, otherwise, we are lost.

.

David Schrock-Shenk
31 Jan 2:43pm

The last exchange between Susan and Bob is instructive to me – as is the entire exchange.

Susan said the Declaration of Independence she was involved in came from the needs and impulses of a particular group. That group was obviously moved by the language she used. It had resonance for them. It met their needs.

The Declaration had resonance for me as well. Living in the United States, I have been steeped in the original Declaration. I have been schooled in a million ways in the ideology that says these people who created that document and formed a new union had the right to do so.

For me, therefore, the new Declaration of Independence made a connection that had never been made before. It made it possible for me to de-elevate the “God of the Growth Market” in my mind and psyche, and connect with my own right to partner with others for break away and form that new community.

Bob’s post indicates that not everyone will respond that way. Some individuals, and some groups, will need different language that speaks to their history, their own beliefs, the “DNA” that moves them.

Recognizing that is not, I believe, a convenient drop into the sea of moral relativism. It is, I believe, an objective observation of “what is.”

A movement that ties disparate groups of independent communities into an interdependent global community will not be able to appeal to a single articulation of what motivates people to do what they do. It will be a movement that recognizes and “blesses” what is, as long as the communities involved are living in ways that express the principles of genuinely steady state existence.

Or so it seems to me.

Dave Ewoldt
2 Feb 7:02pm

In regard to a few of the above comments, I just wanted to point out that we already have an internationally recognized People’s Declaration of Interdependence – The Earth Charter.

Bob Thorp
3 Feb 9:41am

Neat – job done charter wise from what I’ve read so far! It may be a bit top down but it has already captured the imaginations of many hundreds of secular and religious organisations across the world (including the Uk permaculture association). If the Transition movement has a task at hand it is perhaps to bring the Earth Charter to life through practical application, behaviour and projects etc.

http://www.earthcharter.org/

Richard Chisnall
3 Feb 12:52pm

When I read the above, two things strike me as lacking:

– no mention of lending money at interest (usury), which is a major driver of so-called ‘growth’ and all that follows behind it;

– it would be nice to see ‘the people’ referred to as ‘custodians’ somewhere, for that is what we are.

Otherwise, it’s really great! Like the above comment says, maybe it should be called ‘Interdependence’ rather than ‘Independence’ ?

RowenaStone
3 Feb 10:30pm

This is all lovely to read. I love the play on words of Declaration of Interdependence, and yet I did not see it as just that, but as a really relevant name for such a document.
I have not read all the posts completly, scanned and read bits more like. We are interdependant, from birth and Leidoff’s Continuum Concept in childrearing develops this idea. We are in herently interdependant and consumerism is a displacement activity for exchanges we would otherwise make to enrich our own lives and the emphasis is on the exchanges we make not what we have- more an energetic quality than a material quantity!
Inherently interdependant and in the web of life. I don’t mind the God stuff. I am stumped to find a better word for the amazing design of what we have ‘at our disposal'(!), or to work with, to sustain our lives and to enrich our lives. The intelligence is out there, and human is supremely equipped to use it. (But being human I am somewhat biased)
I also know that if we work against the flow of the web of life we come unstuck, and the only way out of that is forgivesness, self and others.

[…] For more of the background to this declaration see Rob Hopkin’s write up on  Transition Culture. […]