New Priorities for a Greener Earth

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

October 5, 2008


Categories: The Green Life

What would happen to our world if we balanced three target interests: environment, economy, and equity? What if our decision-balance sheet held that these three goals and priorities had to balance to neutral before we proceeded on any decision? What would happen if when considering equity, we understood that it means everyone has all their basic needs met?

FDR’s 2nd Bill of Rights held several tenants:

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education.

When I read this for the first time nearly 8 years ago, I felt appalled. Why do we need another bill of rights? Isn’t what we have good enough? Well, 8 years of thinking about it has reversed my initial thought. What we already have isn’t enough because people do not exercise the freedom in which they are entitled and have. How can you think about what you should do when your tummy is rumbling? How can you think about your dreams if your main concern is finding a safe place to sleep for the night?

Some of these ideas are already incorporated into our mode of thinking, but have we come so far as to think of them as rights? Do we allow ourselves the ability to be entitled to safe, decent housing, for example? How do we balance these rights while keeping overseeing agencies, or government, in check?

Now is the time to find answers to these questions. Now is the time for a new call to arms, a call to arms that claims freedom from fear for everyone.


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