The Seven Generations Perspective

Vattenfall has been awarded the Climate Greenwash Awards 2009, probably not an award they desired.

Swedish energy company Vattenfall is a master of spin when it comes to climate change, portraying itself as a climate champion while lobbying to continue business as usual, using coal, nuclear power, and pseudo-solutions such as agrofuels and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

For more information about why they got the award, read Vattenfall – Nominated for branding problems as solutions.

The prize reminded me of a post in my Swedish blog, Vattenfall och indianfilosofi from May 22, 2008. The managing director of Vattenfall said that “According to Indian philosophy you should look six generations ahead.” It’s safe to say that if Vattenfall had fully understood that concept and had walked that talk they would not have recieved this award.

Newspapers questioned the six generation concept and I could not find anything about it either. But I did find several sources that mention seven generations ahead.

The Six Nations: Oldest Living Participatory Democracy on Earth says that:

In making any law our chiefs must always consider three things: the effect of their decision on peace; the effect on the natural world; and the effect on seven generations in the future.

Oneida Indian Nation writes that:

Tradition also requires both the Nation’s leaders and its Members to consider the impact on the next seven generations when making decisions.

In the book The Manifestation Wheel it says that:

The elders of the Iroquois Confederacy councils taught that in our every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.

I especially like the Six Nations version. What would happen if our decisionmakers did consider these three things:

  • the effect of their decision on peace
  • the effect on the natural world
  • the effect on seven generations in the future

Credit: Photo by Thiru Murugan.

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.

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