A DRAFT COMOX VALLEY COVENANT FOR THE COMOX VALLEY
Why We Need a Covenant We live in one of the most beautiful areas of Canada—a vibrant community, an ideal place for raising families, retiring and enjoying the wonders of the natural world around us. The valley (hereafter referred to as “the Land”) belongs to us and we belong to the land. In partnership with the land we have a responsibility, a sacred trust, to care for and protect the land, its diversity, its ecosystems, its species, its natural beauty.
All life in this valley depends upon a healthy and resilient environment. At present the Land and neighbouring waters are under development for the extraction and transportation of fossil fuels. This will radically alter the nature of our home. And it is happening without the consent of those of us who live here. we need a consensus on how the land can be developed. Thus, the need for a Covenant.
But there is another problem. In recent years we have become increasingly aware that we now live in the Anthropocene Era. The dominant characteristic of this era is runaway climate change that is changing all life as we know it. So our Covenant must deal with our local development issues within the context of the Anthropocene. The old thinking and strategies will not work. A new consciousness is arising. We are in a time of transition.
The Anthropocene Challenge: The Transition
The purpose of the Covenant is to help develop a mutually enhancing relationship between our human species and Earth in the Comox Valley. Here is the kind of Transition that is required THE TRANSITION
|Democracy||A strictly human centered democracy where only humans have rights||An earth centered Democracy where Earth and all species have rights|
|Law||A human jurisprudence that only deals with human affairs||An Earth Law jurisprudence that recognizes the rights of all living beings. Human law should flow from Earth law.|
|Community||We are all members of a human community.||We humans are all “earthlings” and members of an Earth Community living in the Comox Valley. We share a kinship with Earth and its living species.|
|Energy||A dependence on fossil fuels which is a major cause of climate change||Reduce our dependence on carbon and move towards renewable energy alternatives|
|Stewardship||We are the stewards of Earth.||Earth is our steward. It has cared for our species since time immemorial.|
|Covenant Partnership||The partners are citizens, governments and corporations||The partners are citizens, government and corporations on the one side and the land on the other side. We are caring for one another.|
|Governance||We elect politicians and depend upon them to care for the environment||We work with politicians when we can. But we hold them accountable for caring for the public trust. When they fail we exercise out right to resort to Street Democracy.|
|Spirituality||Seen by many as existing within the context of a faith group. Primary revelation is often based upon written texts.||Earth spirituality. Found in most faith groups and/or in humanistic traditions. Primary revelation is Earth itself.|
|First Nations||No recognized treaties||Recognized treaties that establish their rights to the land and to self -government.|
|Economy||Earth is a collection of resources for human use.||Steady State Economy. Use of resources linked to the requirements and carrying capacity of the land.|
|Morality and Ethics||Lack of awareness by governments and corporations on the causes and moral implications of the Anthropocene.||Full awareness of the moral and ethical implications of the Anthropocene. Global warming affects the land, the poor and those with health issues|
Covenant for the Comox Valley: Guidelines for Development
- EARTH COMMUNITY. We are earthlings and members of an Earth community living in the Comox Valley. The land has looked after us and we have an obligation to care for the land. We see this Covenant as a co-creation with the land and our obligation as a sacred trust.
- EARTH DEMOCRACY. We are also citizens of an Earth Democracy In which each individual and species are also citizens. Like us they have rights to exist, to habitat, and to fulfill their destiny. They also have a right to clean air, safe water, fertile soil, nutritious food, and biodiversity
- INFORMATION. Given our obligation to care for the land we have a right to information about projects in their earliest stages, to be consulted, to have a meaningful role in planning projects , and to have a clear indication of potential harmful effects for the land and for ourselves
- FIRST NATIONS We recognize the inherent rights of First Nations to the land based upon their prior occupancy and as noted in Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.
- GOVERNANCE. We will work cooperatively with elected officials whenever possible. But we will also hold government accountable for their obligation to protect the land as a public trust. We will exercise our right to Street Democracy when we deem this to be necessary.
- PRECAUTION. In light of the impact of potential resource development projects in the era of climate change, project proponents and governments must adopt the Precautionary Principle. Where there is potential for significant impact to the land, in the absence of scientific consensus that the proposed action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls to those taking or approving the action.
- RESTORATIVE JUSTICE. We adopt a restorative justice approach and will hold project proponents accountable for their treatment of the land and, when necessary and appropriate, require the “Polluter Pay” principle.
- LOCAL ECONOMY. Given the need for jobs and economic opportunities in local communities, we will support projects and businesses, especially those that are beneficial to the land, provide longer term well-paying
- CARE FOR THOSE IN NEED. As a caring community we will work to provide assistance to individuals, families and people with special needs related to economic limitations and/or health problems and disabilities. This would include other than human fellow citizens.
- FUTURE GENERATIONS. We have an obligation to work with younger people to help them understand the challenges they will face in the Anthropocene Era and develop the skills required to deal with those challenges.