rn: 7th Generation Bill: an opportunity for fundamental change


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

        Mike Nickerson, who is on this list, has been working for over 20
years on the 4th "r" of environmental sustainability (Reduce, Reuse,
Recycle, Rethink). At a certain point this project took on a name: The
Sustainability Project.

        Currently, the project has taken the form of the 7th Generation
Initiative.  The first move in the Initiative will be a parliamentary bill
promoted by Joe Jordan the MP from Mike's riding.  The "Canada Well-Being
Measurement Act" will be presented in the House of Commons as a Private
Member's Bill likely this month (Feb.). This initiative has politicians
from different parties working together (so not only does it fit the
"sustainability" part of our Democratic Renaissance agenda, it also fits
with our wanting to overcome superficial barriers that separate us).

        The "Canada Well-Being Measurement Act" calls for the development
and implementation of a measure of progress that takes into account far
more than GDP.  It would include such factors as: voluntary and unpaid
work, underemployment, leisure time, forests, fish stocks and soil
fertility, air quality, green house gas emissions, income distribution,
durability of goods, health care, education and the costs of crime among

        What we count and what we measure signifies what we give value to.
When all we count is money, talk about environment and social cohesion does
not produce action.  When we legitimize other factors by measuring and
reporting on them in our core measure of progress, they become visible.
Visibility enables anyone to see how policies and actions affect the
measures.  Increased awareness of causes and effects will naturally incline
decision makers to consider how their decisions might affect the measures
and the management process will evolve to seek well-being in the broader

        While it is especially important for Canadians to support this
initiative, this is something that every one of us would do well to
support. IF there is sufficient support for this bill, the Canadian
government will set aside funds for improving our measure of well-being.
What this means in practical terms is that a Nova Scotia (Canada)-based
initiative to create a more honest and reliable way to measure well-being
than GNP/GDP, the Genuine Progress Index, or GPI, would get some funding.
(For months now, the GPI crew have been continuing their work, but with no
pay!) Part of the funding plan would enable international experts such as
Marilyn Waring, Herman Daly and Hazel Henderson together to come together
with their Canadian counterparts to work on making this vision a reality.
This, of course, would lead to the GPI initiative becoming something that
can be of value not just for Nova Scotians, but for communities everywhere.

        So, I urge Canadians to write letters to their MPs to say that this
is one Canadian product we are eager to see our government develop and
export.  People from other countries could write to say that you are
excited to learn of this Canadian initiative and would like to know if the
Canadian government will support it. (As many parents know, praise can help
bring out the very quality being praised. So, hopefully by praising this
Canadian initiative to Canadian MPs, those same MPs will feel it is their
patriotic (or matriotic!) duty to support this bill.)

        Please write to the  Joe Jordan, MP (who is bringing the bill
forward),  the Hon. David Anderson, Minister of the Environment, the Hon.
Paul Martin, Finance Minister and their Opposition critics:
environment: Rick Laliberte, John Herron, Jocelyne Bujold, Rick Casson
finance: Jim Jones, Nelson Riis,  Yvan Loubier, and Monte Solberg

        The whole spectrum of contact information for all MP & Cabinet
Ministers is available from: 1-800-667-3355 (the government of Canada
information line at the beginning of the blue pages of Canadian phone books)

You can also Fax-the Feds through the web site at:

Letters by mail are best, e-mail works too except with common knowledge of
MPs emails ids, they receive up to 200 a day from every interest group in
the country.

Postal mail can be addressed to:
[MPs Name], MP
House of Commons,
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6  No postage is needed in Canada for thkis address.

By e-mail: take the 1st 5 letters of the last name, 1st letter of the 1st
name + this: @parl.gc.ca

So, Joe Jordan would be: <•••@••.•••> and Nelson Riis would be

        What is this work all about? .... In a nutshell, we are training
ourselves/humanity to see the world differently. We are helping ourselves
to evolve intelligently.

        Once, long ago, no beings on this earth were able to perceive
light. But then some being developed the first "eye" or sight cells
enabling it to make its way more successfully through the challenges of its
environment.  Humanity needs to develop its ability to see how its actions
effect the biosphere on which we all depend for life and how we are all
better off if our communities are strong.  The Sustainability Project is
all about developing this new way of seeing.

        More detailed information is available at the 'Measuring
Well-Being" link at: http://www.cyberus.ca/choose.sustain

all the best, Jan (with help from Mike Nickerson)

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        "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful
        committed citizens can change the world,
        indeed it's the only thing that ever has."
                                            Margaret Mead

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Sustainability Project - Inviting Debate
P.O. Box 374, Merrickville, Ontario
K0G 1N0
(613) 269-3500
e-mail:  •••@••.•••