The following document started with my study of the great declarations and charters of humanity. I wanted to write the kind of charter for redesigning civilization on Earth that would inspire me as an honorary citizen of Terrania, the just, equitable, abundant, and delightful world culture we will have to assemble if we expect to live much longer on this planet. I share it to inspire similar dreamings out loud: we cannot move toward what we do not first imagine.
Preamble to Planetary Renewal
The time has come for the species of Earth to live on the planet of our deepest desire: a planet free of violence, greed, hatred, poverty, and ecocide, governed by wise collaboration, committed to equity and justice, celebratory of diversity, rich in free education, and devoted to the truth that every living being possesses ineradicable worth.
To this end, we pledge ourselves to design a truly democratic and Earth-honoring civilization in which no one controls what others need to live, no one is left behind without resource, and everyone is welcome to participate as we learn together how to feel fully home on our homeworld.
The following Four Branches, Ten Self-Evident Principles, and Thirty Actions outline what we need to do to arrive there together.
Branch 1: Self-Evident Principles
- Recognizing the inherent dignity, equality, and worth of every person is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace.
- Everyone without exception has a right to liberty, respect, safety, shelter, food, water, clothing, basic education, healthcare, voice in governance, fair and just treatment, equality and protection under the law, and equal pay for equal work.
- Everything in nature, including us, exists in relations of interdependency that override selfish and destructive hyper-individualism as well as loyalties to exclusive nations, groups or classes.
- Fair governance depends upon the fully and freely informed will of the people working in accord with the rule of law.
- Greed, authoritarianism, servitude, violence, and corruption wherever institutionalized are incompatible with any reasonable prospects for long-term habitation of Earth.
- Diversity is an inherent dimension of human community, Earth community, and the cosmos.
- The rights of individuals and the rights of communities can and must be balanced.
- All living beings deserve consideration, respect, and appreciation, as does Earth as a living being and primal source of all ancestry.
- Loyalty to Earth community supersedes loyalty to less comprehensive entities such as religion, nation, political party, or financial institution.
- Our actions impact more than ourselves: ultimately, they reach down to future generations.
Branch 2: Upholding Human Needs and Rights
- Eliminate poverty and the economic access limits and gross inequalities that go with it.
- Affirm, appreciate, and respect the full and freely expressed diversity of all people.
- Provide fully and fairly adequate support and sustenance for all families, including single mothers.
- Respect and uphold the self-determination of the indigenous and of the traditionally marginalized, including exercise of the rights and laws within their own territories, while respecting signed treaties as binding and removing terra nullis and all similarly colonizing doctrines.
- Redesign or disassemble organizations whose revenues depend on harming the natural world, encroaching on indigenous resources, or monopolizing necessities which people need to live.
- Design and build for equitable abundance, not control through scarcity.
- Intervene collectively and internationally to prevent armed conflict when requested by victims of organized violence.
- Uphold the right of persons to enjoy whatever spiritual path they feel called to, including none at all, without the interference of fundamentalist intolerance or missionary pressure.
- Open all national borders that restrict free passage.
- Fully observe and uphold the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the 17 Principles of Environmental Justice, and the Earth Charter.
Branch 3: Fulfilling Ecological Responsibilities
- Take all just and necessary measures to lessen the impact of climate chaos on this overheating planet, including replacing fossil fuel use with clean-energy alternatives.
- Respect and care for Earth and its diverse communities of life, especially where endangered by human encroachment.
- Repair and preserve the integrity and biological diversity of injured ecosystems.
- Restore ancestral homelands and ecological and mineral resources to their indigenous communities.
- Use the Precautionary Principle in decision-making to minimize potential environmental harm.
- Ensure that business and industry regenerate rather than deplete natural resources.
- Eliminate financial and political practices that force communities to live in ecologically hazardous areas, including abandoning operations that create toxic waste.
- Provide everyone of school age with a basic education in the principles of ecology and traditional ecological knowledge.
- Divert governmental funding for fossil fuel use to clean and sustainable food and energy production.
- Implement ecoresilience practices and operations at all scales to redesign communities to withstand the impacts of climate chaos.
Branch 4: Designing and Maintaining Just and Equitable Governance
- Design and maintain societies that are participatory, equitable, just, peaceful, inclusive, and ecologically wise.
- Ensure transparency, accountability, oversight, accessibility, diversity, and representation of governing bodies to the people they govern.
- Ensure true equal opportunity for participation in governance by traditionally oppressed cultural groups.
- Forbid the influence of money or promised economic benefits to anyone running for or occupying government office, including ensuring fair and equal elections.
- Prevent ambitious, short-sighted, and psychologically immature people from holding positions of authority, and remove such people immediately if they obtain such positions.
- Remove from positions of authority people whose religious or philosophical beliefs value genocide, institutionalized discrimination, or widespread ecological calamity.
- Implement reparations, including enhanced educational, political, and economic opportunities, to formerly or currently oppressed groups.
- Implement equal rights, pay, leadership, and educational opportunities for women and female-bodied persons.
- Redesign or disassemble technological organizations that deliberately spread false information to the public.
- Eliminate nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction and replace their factories and operation sites with embassies of friendship, peace, and international good will.
Conclusion: Embarking on the Great Work of Our Time
The long course of human events on planet Earth has brought achievements great and wondrous and unregulated threats to all life as we know it. The failure of the world’s leaders to act in time to ameliorate the climate chaos crisis will be remembered for all time as the greatest act of leadership incompetence in human history.
We have reached a planetary crossroads and rite of passage. To continue to live here, we must redesign civilization, transforming it from inflicting injustice and ecocide to promoting abundance and renewal.
All real rites of passage involve profound transmutations of self-definitions, relationships, and actions. In our case, we must move away from self-destructive hyper-individualism, incompetent leadership, institutionalized greed, and hunger for power and privilege to appreciation and promotion of cultural diversity, collective responsibility, and conscious interdependency both local and global.
This Terrania Charter is a document of principle and proposed action to help us toward what the movement above implies: the cultivation of authentic human maturity, a key developmental quality for showing up as ethical and responsive world citizens in all spheres of action: personal, familial, local, regional, national, international, and perhaps even cosmic.
If we are to achieve species maturity and survive to flourish here, we will need to be mentored by our elders (who inhabit every cultural group), talk to instead of at each other, recognize ourselves as members of one human family, take our place as citizens of Earth, and relearn the craft of dreaming together, imagining a Terrania of justice, equity, peace, freedom, and belonging: a civilization our descendants will appreciate being members of.
The struggles ahead on the path forward will require every creative, cultural, and individual resource we can draw upon.
May we emerge from this long rite of passage into a great awakening of ourselves as fully human dwellers on the living, still-beautiful world we share with so many other fellow creatures now dependent upon us for wise choices going forward. Achieving such an Earth-honoring civilization will represent a joyful outcome worth celebrating.