Bill of Rights of Future Generations

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What rights do we give to future generations?


Let's come up with a text for a bill of rights that inspires us and our own generation to take the rights of possible future generations as seriously as we take our own rights. Please comment on the discussion page or improve the efforts below.

Bill of Rights of Future Generations

  1. All possible future generations have a right to exist.
  2. Every generations has the right to benefit from knowledge of previous generations.
  3. Every generations has the right to pass on (beneficial?) knowledge to the next generation.
  4. ...

Related efforts on this subject

  • In 1979 Hans Jonas published 'Das Prinzip Verantwortung' arguing for an ethical approach of the subject.
  • In 1992 Malta suggested the appointment of a guardian for future generations at the Earth Summit. The proposal was put forward by then Foreign Minister Guido de Marco, but failed to make it into the final declaration.
  • " Every person has the right to inherit an uncontaminated planet on which all forms of life may flourish. "
Captain Jacques Cousteau in the early 1990's launched a campaign for a formal resolution to inscribe this first Article of this Bill of Rights in international law. It is carried on by the Custeau Society and in 2001 the motion was delivered to the Secretary General of the United Nations.
  • The Constitutional Law Foundation counts among its purposes to work for the application of the U.S. Constitution's provisions for the protection of posterity and works on the Stewardship doctrine and discuss various historic views on the subject in detail.
  • In 1997 the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (Stiftung für die Rechte zukünftiger Generationen) was founded, a think-tank that considers intergenerational justice to mean that today's youth and future generations must have at least the same opportunities to meet their own needs as the generation governing today. It publishes the publishes the journal "Intergenerational Justice Review"
  • In 2008 the Hungarian Hungarian Parliament created a ‘Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations’, to safeguard the constitutional right of Hungarian citizens to a healthy environment. Dr Sándor Fülöp was elected to this post, which has a 6-year term and is one of four Parliamentary Ombudsmen in Hungary. Others deal with civil rights, data protection and freedom of information, and the rights of “national and ethnic minorities”. In 2012, the ombudsmen were combined in one single function and the position of Commissioner was downgraded to Deputy of the [Comissioner of Fundamental Rights]. Similar institutions with varying mandate strength also are said to exist in Finland, New Zealand and Wales.
  • 2009 Axel Gosseries and Lukas Meyer (Eds): Intergenerational Justice ISBN: 978-0-19-928295-1 Describes libertarian, Rawlsian, sufficientarian, contractarian, communitarian, Marxian and reciprocity-based approaches to the subject.
  • 2011 (March) Future Justice advocates an ombudsperson for future generations as an important catalysts to create Future Justice. A video on the site explains that. The effort intends to make the rights of future generations a topic at the Rio+20 negotiations in 2012. It is one of the projects of the World Future Council (a voice of future generations), to ensure representation of future generations
  • In 2011 Future Justice (a joint initiative of Future Leaders and the Institute of Legal Studies of the Australian Catholic University) committed to "economic, social, cultural and environmental advances for the present generation whilst securing and strengthening the life chances of future" organized a Future Justice Prize question and published a Future Justice eBook.
  • For the Rio +20 negotiations in June 2012 the World Future Council in its Future Justice campaign (and others) had called for a Comissioner or Ombudsperson for Future Generations, which the conference did not implement.