Big players in climate destruction owe reparations to women and children impacted by their careless greed. Governments owe them basic human rights.
When Exxon, other companies, and many governments adopted the Paris Agreement standard for climate policy, which allows significant emissions and warming, these entities were making decisions about what the world should look like. And that vision, for them, sets a baseline against which to measure what’s a cost and what’s a benefit.
But they made a huge mistake. If you believe in freedom, it’s impossible for a group of people to define what the world should look like for everyone. The baseline, or what the world should look like, is instead itself a group of relatively self-determining – or free – people. This is why so many Nobel Laureates are focused on family reforms.
That requires limiting the power each individual or government entity has over others by ensuring a restored, natural and biodiverse environment for future generations. It requires that all children are empowered from the beginning by having a fair start in life.
It is time to ensure that all children are born with equal opportunities (unlike in the world today, which allows the rich to control the lives of the poor), as well as more functional democracies where each voice can actually be heard.
How could we know what’s a cost or benefit, or the rules that allot them, without being organized as participatory groups capable of making such decisions? Wouldn’t capacity to participate first depend on the quantity, and civic qualities, of the participants?
How could we be self-determining or free in an anthropocentric world dominated by a singularly human-centric viewpoint, rather than a natural or nonhuman one that allow humans to consent to the power of others?
How do we create a fair start for all – ensuring each person as the capacity to consent to the power and influence of others – without accounting for how people are created and nurtured into adulthood?
The bottom line is that a diverse, inclusive, international coalition must debate the issues and create meaningful, realistic policy that can be implemented globally. We want a town hall, not a shopping mall. Only in the former are we truly empowered, but our family planning policies are crafted to create people for latter. Nothing provides greater evidence that our current family planning system creates commercial, rather than empowering political relations, than the ubiquitous reaction to falling fertility rates as an economic baby bust.
Fact: Population growth-based economic gains were created by intentionally violating the Children’s Convention, ensuring children would be born and raised in conditions that violated the Convention’s standards. Instead of making the first norm something that created normativity, we used growth to degrade it.
The Children’s Rights Convention should be our guide, shifting away from seeing people as population to a vision of constituting ourselves dynamically, and qualitatively. It presumes restorative laws and policies that protect wilderness and biodiversity, evading the harm our current anthropocentric policies are inflicting on children. It demands basic human rights that would ensure democracies in which people can meaningfully participate. It’s what lies behind the concept of “We the People,” in the United States Constitution. It’s of freedom from, and freedom to. It’s an alignment of values that often, downstream, appear to conflict.
What does seeing the baseline as who we could be, rather than what we do, change things? A focus on who we should be would precede and override all other obligations, including property rights. Just government derives from the people, who should operate from a just position (or creation norm). We cannot assign property rights that deviate from that position by degrading our natural ecology or ignoring the needs of future generations.
Based on our model – which has been subject to a 1/2 dozen peer-reviews – we can take wealth Exxon Mobil and others collected by degrading the baseline (the environment) while externalizing costs to others, primarily generation after generation of women and children, with or without the government because no obligation can precede or override the existential justice of being free and equal people. It always comes first. And if we could not restore nature and empower people as such, which we can, the baseline serves as a way to measure how compensate future generations.
We wish to restore empowerment to those affected – to incentivize / entitle / repair ecosocially just and restorative family planning. We want to support women’s right to plan a family, and incentives/entitlements work. And yet our systems have avoided them for decades simply because wealthy leaders did not want to open to door to redistribution, and the logical end-point of fairness that is inevitable.
The guidelines for doing so are concrete and actionable, consisting of mostly of the standards we use to protect the rights of extant persons, like good democratic representative ratios, birth and development conditions consistent with the Children’s Convention, metrics to assure equality of opportunity, the restoration of the nonhuman world, and realistic measures of parental readiness. Using the correct baseline for fundamentally structuring our societies, in turn, moves us toward a concrete range for optimal world populations.
Help us shift the foundation we all share – the norms that create and develop us – toward a just position. In a true democracy the norms that emancipate us should be derived from life experience and development, and not top-down pressure from iconic influencers, government coercion or market incentives.
TAKE ACTION: Urge @Exxonmobil to adopt Fair Start reforms.