activism economics sustainability

A Declaration of Independence from the Growth Economy

I’ve been enjoying the HBO series ‘John Adams’ on Channel 4 recently, a seven-part series on the founding of America, as seen through the eyes of its second president, John Adams. It’s a superbly written drama and well worth catching if you get a chance (Saturdays, 5pm). A recent episode portrayed the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, and with that fresh in my mind I came across this today: the Transition Declaration of Independence. Based on the original, it has been adapted by a Transition Town to declare independence from the growth economy. You can .

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, Justice, the pursuit of Happiness, a Healthy Natural Environment and Sustainability for ourselves, the Third Generation and the Seventh Generation…

— That whenever any Form of Economy becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Relationship, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness… when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them and their environment to ruin, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Economic Constraints, and to provide new Guards for their future security and sustainability…

The history of the present Theory of Economics is a history of repeated disasters, injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over communities and the environment. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

  • The Growth Economy for its own Sake has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, felled our forests, polluted our water and fouled our air.
  • The Growth Economy for its own Sake has exploited our talents, put us into debt, degraded our culture and eroded our relationships with the members of our community.
  • The Growth Economy for its own Sake has exploited mineral resources which by right should belong to people in perpetuity in order to obscenely enrich a few in the short term.
  • The Growth Economy for its own Sake has paved our farms, sprawled our towns, and destroyed the quality of live of our people and their children and grandchildren.
  • The Growth Economy for its own Sake has convinced us, for more than a century, to ignore the voice of scientific knowledge and reason in order to continue the acidification of our air and oceans through Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrous Oxides and Carbon Dioxide emissions from combustion of fossil fuels…

We, therefore, the Representatives of the Transition Committee of Oamaru, solemnly publish and declare… That this Community is, and of Right ought to be Free, that we are Absolved from all unsustainable and perverse requirements of the Growth Economy for its own Sake, and that all connection between this Community and the Growth Economy, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a Free and Sustainable Community, we have full Power to reduce fuel and electricity consumption, restore our environment, protect our culture, nurture our agricultural assets, set aside our resources, refrain from extracting minerals, stone or fossil fuels, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Local Commerce based on our own principles and theories, and to do all other Acts and Things which Sustainable Communities may of right do.”

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