Women’s Congress Companion for Political Change
Key Outcomes, December 2015
(we will continue to share experiences and lessons learned from the study group in the coming months here)
The Companion is designed to be a guide to new as well as ancient ideas that support individuals and groups in their sacred responsibilities to the Earth and future generations. It is designed to change the rules of the game so we leave a legacy of clean water, healthy land, and a habitable atmosphere for generations to come.
Key outcomes of the Companion:
To educate ourselves about the current reality of the difficulty in protecting our communities from environmental harm due to fossil fuels; chemical runoff from BigAg; and the everyday toxins we are exposed to from inception through our food, water, air and daily interaction with chemicals in a myriad of ways.
-To provide new ways of thinking about how to change this current reality through citizen action.
-We define a critical role of government to protect our common health and common wealth.
-We move from this basic definition of what we can and should expect from our government to the reality that it is not working that way today.
-To engage ordinary people to take action on issues of importance in their communities.
We look at five key concepts that can be applied across a range of issues in our country and in our local communities in order to create a government that works first to protect people and the planet from harm. These five concepts are shown as Cairns along the path.
Free, Prior and Informed Consent
The Public Trust Doctrine
Guardianship for Future Generations
The Precautionary Principle
The Companion achieves these outcomes by exploring our authentic power, agency and deeply held feelings and values.
- We explore a new understanding of power – the power in communion as we work together to shift the paradigm from one of individualism to community, and from allowable risk to preventing harm. Growing up in a consumer culture, so many of us have been lulled to sleep about the power we as citizens have when acting together.
We cannot change big societal problems alone. Alone, we can feel isolated and our actions futile. In joining up with others, we not only erode away that isolation to be able to confront issues of grief, anxiety, and anger, but also exercise power for ourselves, others, and children of all species.
- A new knowledge of agency – the authority to act
Women’s bodies are the first environments and sanctuaries for future generations. This relationship with future generations and the earth leads to women’s unique responsibility, along with men, to uphold the rights of future generations. Responsibility brings with it a form of agency – the authority to act.
- Exploring the transformative power of grief, anger, anxiety:
Our emotional reaction to things we are witnessing can be the energy for sparking “right action.” The transformative power of grief is a marker to propel moving forward, finding moral clarity and purpose, which can compel us to seek the authority to act, overcoming that sense of helplessness that comes when we sit alone with our grief, anger and anxiety.
Other important takeaways listed in Companion:
There is no right or wrong way to go about this.
You can’t make a mistake.
You are not alone.