Grassroots Manifesto for Sustainability

Policies to help us take care of the planet, support wildlife and better farming.

for farming, food and wildlife

Over the past year Citizen Network has been working with experts in farming, food, wildlife, energy, finance and other connected areas to develop a grassroots manifesto for policies to ensure sustainability for farming, food and wildlife.

Why do we need to develop policies ourselves?

Governments have proved incapable of tackling the environmental or social crises that have been created by their own policies. Instead of acting in the interests of human beings and life on our planet, government policy is driven by inhuman values and for the benefit of economic, financial and political interests that are detached from reality.

Despite everything we know about the harm we are causing the media, business and government carry on as if nothing is wrong.

Only a radical change in our collective way of life can both avert the growing climate and ecological catastrophe and deliver social justice for the world’s population:

The work of transformation is work for all of us. We must start to identify the changes we need together and start making those changes happen – including reforming our legal, economic and political systems.

Many of the new policies we need are becoming clearer. Thousands across Europe and the world have been developing formal grassroots policies through systems of participatory democracy, for example: Diem25, (Democracy in Europe Movement), La Via Campesina (International Peasants Movement) and A People’s Food Policy in the UK. Our policies for sustainability build on this work and also apply the framework of Diem’s Green New Deal for Europe.

As citizens we have the ultimate power, if we choose to take it.

Here is our manifesto, it will be updated as we learn more.

Financial Priorities

1. Raise £100 billion a year immediately to enable the changes by using QUEST: Quantitative Easing, changes to Savings and Taxation, outlined in the ‘Taxing Wealth Report 2024’.

2. Change to a ‘Doughnut Economy’ which works within the limits of the planet and supports everyone, to promote wellbeing. Measuring carbon emissions, well-being and other key outcomes, rather than monetary costs and profits.

3. Decentralise decision making. Make funds available to individuals, co-ops, local councils and community groups for policies promoting sustainable living, using tried and tested low-carbon methods and agreed locally.

4. Provide a Universal Basic Income (or Citizen’s Income) for everyone to cover essential needs, end austerity, support people through the changes, enable slower living, and enable engagement in participatory democracy.

5. Impose a carbon tax on all activities.

6. Cancel all debt repayments from developing countries.

Environmental and social policies

1. Declare a climate emergency which puts policy making on a war footing and allows moratoriums on certain activities until carbon limits are safer

2. Support an International law of Ecocide as a crime against humanity, with individuals held responsible (with no limited liability) including those financing or insuring activities; also land or sea bed grabs and pollution in space.

3. Include a law against Ecocide in domestic law.

4. Guarantee the right to information for whistleblowers and the public.

5. Strengthen domestic law against pollution of any sort, with effective penalties including prison terms, using ‘the polluter pays’ principle.

6. Ban deadly or very dangerous products whether pesticides, food additives or cleaning products and support the development of alternatives.

7. Ban single use plastic, and support the development of alternatives

8. Support the plastic treaty to reduce production and increase reuse.

9. Ban Genetic Modification or gene editing of all crops and guarantee equivalent work in natural plant breeding.

10. Ban the import of Genetically Modified crops or organisms.

11. Ban factory farms, guarantee support to develop alternative activities.

12. Ratify the Public Trust Doctrine which imposes the duty on government to protect the Commons.

13. Declare a Charter for the Commons to include Wildlife, a Social Commons, a Cultural Commons and an Educational Commons and support the restoration of parks, forests, village greens and ports.

14. Support measures to restore biodiversity, nature-based work for people, access to the land and public ownership.

15. Make wildlife central to education, youth work and institutions using the recommendation in the Manifesto for Wildlife.

16. Support several measures to restore biodiversity and the soil in farming while maintaining food supplies.

17. Reduce the consumption of unhealthy food by adopting the six principles of Food Sovereignty, including the right to healthy food for everyone.

18. Reduce addictive foods in several ways; apply the National Food Strategy recommendations. Set national standards to avoid sugar and salt in baby foods, schools and other institutions by citizens assemblies. Teach cooking in schools. Teach the latest nutrition to doctors and the public

19. Require transparent evaluation of proposed AND existing products and processes by independent sources, using the ‘precautionary principle.’

20. Wherever possible make manufacturers responsible for their products from ‘the cradle to the grave’.

21. A nationwide deposit schemes on glass and plastic bottles and jars.

22. Nationalise water and sewage services with citizens assemblies deciding overall principles and policies and local councils responsible for action

23. Support the local economy, with planning laws, taxation and local currencies to support small scale local outlets and minimise the need for motorised transport.

This manifesto focusses on the environment, but all other policy changes need to follow. The principle of full transparency and public control is central and should give confidence in the manifesto even before all policies can be decided.

Article | 06.06.24

nature & economics, Sustainability, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Article

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