The inter-generational equity principle

The toxicity of only living and thinking in the NOW // I’m reading through Australian environmental legislation for college and I come across this term – the ‘inter-generational equity principle’ whichmeans that the present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations. ‘

Unfortunately, like many people in my generation, I am deeply disappointed with how people born before me have treated the Earth and Her beings. Depleting and extracting Her resources, creating cemeteries of toxic destruction from once resilient, robust ecosystems and demolishing the cultures embedded in those places. Supporting material prosperity in an Industrial way of life for those in the upper echelons whilst others are enslaved in market systems that dim the light in their souls and degrade their livelihoods.

This encompasses peoples, rivers, oceans, landscapes, biomes, plants, creatures – all of biotic and abiotic life is reduced to providing a service that can be measured in capital, quick profit, growing assets and financial portfolio. I’m conscious of the stories I tell and I don’t want to perpetuate the narrative that nothing is being done to address this issue because it’s not true. There are people all over the world working in their field to shift the values we organise around and are laying the foundations for a new way.

But still in this current paradigm and consciousness the temptation of short term financial gain blinds people from future orientated thinking and true social responsibility. Happy and fulfilled in the moment from experiencing oversufficiency, superficial fortune and culturally accepted hedonism, which requires immense energy and externalizes the cost onto the most vulnerable beings, or just plain old denial and detachment. we witness people thieving from the future. And so I want to explore how ‘just being in the NOW’ and how the NOW ‘is the only place that’s really real’, can be REALLY harmful notions to live by if they do not have the inter-generational equity principle as their foundation.

Time is not linear. The future is here with us too, in every single intention and action we make, we are creating it with our motivations and thoughts. To conceptualize how our decisions will create circumstances and events is one of the wonders of our brains and does in fact make the human consciousness quite different to many other forms life. I get triggered when I see pseudo-spiritual new-age talk about how ‘just being in the NOW’ will solve all our problems. To me this is the same as our governments selling off our natural resources for GDP. Let us only think about short-term gratification and shirk ourselves of our larger responsibility. No, this only serves to exacerbate the situation.

At this time in our human story we need to be putting concerted effort into exercising deep-time conceptual thinking and future orientated decision making.. If our choices in the NOW are not informed by the impact they will have on the future and are out of alignment with creating conditions on this Earth that are regenerative, sustainable and favourable, then they bypass the duty we have to support life and actually work to preserve ways of being that corrupt our very existence.

So I hold myself accountable by writing about the inter-generational equity principle and acknowledging that given my position in the world, I have to do everything I can to live by it. To both enjoy the sheer gift of this life and to check-in constantly if I am deeply considering the future I am shaping now. As Native American Chief Seattle ‘ We don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.’


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