‘Readings in Nonviolence’ features extracts from our favourite books, pamphlets, articles or other material on nonviolence and related areas, or reviews of important works in the field (suggestions and contributions welcome)
Finding a green manifesto
By Rob Fairmichael
Yes, various ‘Green’ political parties have manifestos, but I’m here talking about something more basic, manifestos for a green life, a green existence, a green planet, a vision for a green future with practicality thrown in. I would argue that you cannot build nonviolence without a strong green movement and without a strong human rights movement; these are essential allies in building respect for the planet (which includes ourselves) and for human beings. The green and human rights movements stand on their own feet and have their own momentum and life (and are certainly not beholden to anything the peace and nonviolent movement might do or say). You also cannot ‘build nonviolence in one country’ (cf Stalinism’s ‘building socialism in one country’); you cannot build nonviolence without relating to what happens in the wider world, thus the movement for world justice and world development is another essential ally. All of these things are ultimately linked.
At a time when the appallingly destructive fracking method of gas extraction is being considered on the island of Ireland, or could even be considered (see a couple of places elsewhere in this issue), it is certainly long past time to say ‘Enough’! That is, enough is enough and the idea of being incredibly destructive underground, with possible long term effects to aquifers and the general environment, is repulsive to anyone who has the good of Planet Earth at heart. Of course opposing fracking is not enough; if we are not to use fracked gas then we need green energy and that has to be developed and paid for – but at least the long term cost will not include the possible destruction of the environment which may be wreaked by fracking.
Modern green or ecological visions have been around since the days of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” (published 1962) and there are a multiplicity of visions available as a bookshop or online search will reveal However, since search engines tend to tell you what they think you want to hear, or material in the region where you exist, you will have to be creative in trying to find what you want online. You can search online yourself using a mixture of terminology including ‘green’, ‘ecological’, ‘permaculture’, ‘sustainable’ etc but you may have to wade through a certain amount of both commercial and party political material to find the gems.
One excellent short resource online, a practical vision for building an ecological future through dealing with issues which matter and affect ordinary people, is the ‘Green Living Manifesto’ at http://www.greenmanifesto.org It is about building green lifestyles rather than ‘grey’ lifestyles and comes partly from those concerned with design and planning but its concern for building a green community shines through. It emanates from the USA and thus some of the terminology and concerns may seem particular to there but can generally be understood by others elsewhere.