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2015 Highlights of the Women’s Congress for Future Generations and Future First: Re-Aligning the Law with Justice
During the past year, we have been building on the tremendous momentum coming out of the 2014 Future First Women’s Congress.
We are making a difference!
A lot is happening and your support is what keeps it going.
In 2015 we developed and released the pilot version of Women’s Congress Companion for Political Change.
A study group is now digging deep to understand this powerful manual of tools, adding suggested agendas; links to short videos and other tools that help us understand more deeply the importance of these game changing principles:
o The Commons,
o Free Prior and Informed Consent,
o Guardianship for Future Generations,
o Public Trust Doctrine, and
o The Precautionary Principle.
Together we are discovering how to use these ideas and frameworks to protect what we most treasure.
As we heard from one of our participants in the pilot study group for the Companion for Political Change, she is already using this new knowledge.
While working on a letter to land owners from one of our allies, MN350, I noticed a reference to Canadian law that requires early and informed consent to all parties who will be affected by pipeline abandonment. Because I’m studying the Companion for Political Change, that phrase leapt out at me! I was then able to use the knowledge I’ve gained to incorporate that important information into the letter to landowners.
Participant in Companion for Political Change Study Group
In first quarter 2016, we will publish the Companion for all of you to download and use in your communities.
Though President Obama rejected the Keystone Pipeline, the proposed Bakken Pipeline from North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa and under the Mississippi River, then piped to Texas for export still poses significant threats to our water and soil, just as the proposed Sandpiper and Alberta pipelines do in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Women’s Congress and our parent organization, Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN), have been deeply involved in the resistance movement.
- Out of the Future First Women’s Congress, Carolyn Raffensperger wrote and shared with allies around the country, Legal Principles for Mining, Fracking, and Pipelines: Defending our Communities and Future Generations.
- In November, Carolyn was granted intervener status and will testify on behalf of Future Generations at the public utility hearings in Iowa on the Bakken Pipeline in December.
- This is the first time that Future Generations have been represented in an executive branch hearing. SEHN has been working in this area for over 10 years; this groundbreaking work is what makes SEHN and the Women’s Congress work so unique.
We are, each of us, now part of the ongoing work of imagining and working toward creating the new world we know is possible and resistance to the harm caused by fossil fuels as well as the.
We cannot do this work without you.
In the Twin Cities, we continue to host events that educate and inform as well as offer a place to connect with others. We hosted or co-sponsored with partners, over 15 events this year in the Twin Cities area including:
-The Ecology of Breast Cancer, a conversation on environmental health with Ted Schettler, MD, PhD and Carolyn Raffensperger, JD. (view clips from the conversation here)
-Monthly Potlucks and Workshops from Jan – June. In October we hosted a very informative Legislative update from Sierra Club allies. For more on this and other past events visit here.
-An 8-session study group is working through early February 2016 with the Companion. The group of 15 people is sharing the leadership, finding an incredible depth of new knowledge and wisdom that supports our work and that of our allies into 2016 and beyond.
The theme of our work continues in 2016:
Re-Aligning the Law with Justice
Too often, the rulings of Public Utilities Commissions, State Agencies or legal outcomes from Legislative or Judicial hearings do not protect what we love—our common health and common wealth. And too often, those most affected are Indigenous people and people of color, especially women and children, resulting in ongoing injustice. Only a shift in consciousness will change that.
To that end, we will be working with our allies and partners in early 2016 to define the themes of the next Future First Women’s Congress for Future Generations! Watch for newsletters in 2016 as the work of the next Congress unfolds. We look forward to your ideas and involvement in this exciting new phase of the work!