This article was contributed by a 99% member.
”Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground — the unborn of the future Nation”
from the Constitution of the Iroquois
Why did Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, pick out 99% as one of three organisations particularly deserving support on her Instagram feed?
In short, it is because we support the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill of which she is co-sponsor and she supports our objective of ending mass impoverishment peacefully and making the world of 2050 better than the world today.
99% Supports the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill
You may also have noticed that the 99% logo is now proudly displayed on the TodayForTomorrow website. We’re a partner of their cross-party campaign which has ‘The Wellbeing of Future Generations’ Bill (which is now in parliament) as a key element in the strategy. We’re particularly excited because the future generations ‘Wellbeing Week’ is taking place this month, when young ambassadors across the country will have the opportunity to talk to their MPs about the Bill and encourage them to support it.
We haven’t partnered with many organisations, so why have we singled out this one? The reason is that, although we may not use exactly the same wording, our objectives are very closely aligned. This is of course true of many progressive organisations and we at 99% believe in the power of alignment and teamwork to create change; we may all be tackling slightly different aspects of the problem, but if we’re heading in the same direction then we believe we can achieve more by working with others.
The 99% Organisation – Building a Better Future
Let’s just refresh our memories about the key messages of the 99% organisation. Our publicly declared goal to set all about building a world fit for us and our children to live in. We recognise the growth of mass impoverishment over the last 10 years or so and aim to end that peacefully.
We look for constitutional change to compel governments to act for all the people, not just the 1% at the top of the economic and political tree. We don’t believe in privilege or cronyism; we want fact-based policies which are aimed at ending mass impoverishment and we want governments and companies to invest in a sustainable future which our children will be proud of.
Future Generations Thinking has Never Been So Important
We’re a prosperous country. We have sufficient resources that no-one need live in poverty, that children don’t have to rely on free school meals, that we don’t need to pollute the planet in order to survive, and that we can imagine a better future for all of us and our children. Despite that, even before the COVID pandemic, we had rising homelessness, rising child poverty, and a climate emergency that threatens the future of generations to come. There is no excuse.
We believe that by looking at what we do through a future generations lens we can make better decisions. The rich and powerful must be called upon to stop their exploitative behaviours and to work for the benefit of all citizens, today’s and tomorrow’s.
Today For Tomorrow
The Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill is being led through Parliament by The Big Issue founder, Lord Bird, and is co-sponsored by Caroline Lucas MP. They say: [the Bill] … is rooted in the same philosophy and aims to challenge orthodox thinking by brokering sustainable solutions to social problems. The Bill’s second reading, which is the first opportunity for MP’s to debate the main principles of the Bill, was scheduled for Friday 22nd January, but has sadly been postponed indefinitely because of COVID restrictions.
On the Today For Tomorrow website you will see that “Today For Tomorrow is a cross-party campaign. At the heart of The Big Issue Group mission is the drive to dismantle the root causes of poverty, avoid the need for future generations of Big Issue vendors, and promote preventative action.“
Wales Already has Legislation
Wales put a similar act into law back in 2016 with the ‘Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales)’ Act. It sets out its goals for Wales as being: prosperous, resilient, healthier, more equal, cohesive, vibrant and globally responsible. To achieve these goals the Act puts a duty on public bodies to act in ways which show long term thinking rather than implementing policies which don’t build a sustainable future. There are issues around the lack of ‘teeth’ in the Act as well as the lack of budget to create change, but the example being set is positive.
England doesn’t have this type of legislation at present, and that’s what the bill is trying to rectify. The Bill prioritises the long term by pledging to act today for tomorrow, and aims to take the needs of future generations into account – in all new government policies, budgets and laws – to deliver a new sustainable vision for our nation. It is arguably one of the most important initiatives in long term thinking. The obligations are similar to those in the Welsh Act and the goals are to be defined through public consultation – not a simplistic referendum.
How Can I Help?
If you’re a supporter of the Future Generations principle (which you’re likely to be since you’re reading this on the 99% website), then we ask you to add your voice to the growing number of people speaking out on this topic. We can have a reasonable expectation that our elected representatives should support this important Bill.
The direction that the government is takes on economic, social and environmental issues will have huge implications for future generations, so please write to your MP to back the bill in parliament and to support the campaign which Lord Bird, Caroline Lucas and the ‘Future Generations All Party Parliamentary Group’ are now running.