An Alternative Way to Think About Legitimate Policymaking: Always Starting With Birth Equity and Children’s Rights, and Investing in Democracy Rather Than Exploiting Children’s Positionality for Economic Growth
Dear Attorney General Bonta,
The Fair Start Movement was formed as a reaction to climatological and other threats to children’s rights, and has developed a universal model – based on the fundamental value of self-determination – to eliminate the threats and be used as the basis for all inclusive and legitimate policymaking. Rising climate crisis costs urge a fundamental shift in which we catalyze the best return on sustainable development investments – funding young girls’ future – by prioritizing, enlarging, and treating them instead as human rights-based ecosocial birth equity, planning and relocation entitlements.
We simply ask: What are we doing to assure the conditions in which children born and raised, including their environment and role models, are being improved so as not to undo the benefits of the work we are otherwise doing in the world?
Is California basing its definition of what is green, just, democratic, etc. on the lives of the Governor’s kids, or the most vulnerable kids in the state,? Or children in Uganda, or California kids that will live in 2080 for example.
More specifically as described by Stanford University, we urge climate and biodiversity restoration, via a right to full ecosocial birth equity, as the fundamental standard for cost/benefit analysis and assessing how costs are externalized, including a reduction to 280 or less parts per million climate emissions, and progressive wealth transfers as birth equity and development entitlements. It’s a solution that not only cuts climate emissions, and dissolves the property rights of polluters, but immediately builds resilience in the most vulnerable victims of the crisis.
We are writing because you are now engaged in policy reforms that impact children’s rights, and their prospects for survival in the future, and may have made claims or used baselines for policymaking that would have benefitted the person making the claim or choosing the policy but which would have exacerbated a climate crisis likely to kill millions in the future. These claims and baselines may conflict with universal human rights-based standards of climate loss and damage payments and other life-saving reforms. We are in touch with witnesses who were urged to omit these issues from public messaging and claims – to greenwash in deadly ways – for the organizations they worked for.
For example: California is now suing fossil fuel companies regarding harms caused by the crisis, challenging companies regarding greenwashing, and ensuring just reparations for communities of color.
We ask you to take two actions, detailed below of this letter to avoid the death of millions in the future.
First, we ask that you publicly support the use of an objective standard for any claims, like “sustainable,” “green,” “wellbeing,” “equitable,” “child welfare,” “democratic,” “humane,” “regenerative,” “restorative,” “inclusive,” etc. likely to create a perception of ecosocial environmental impact in the listener. and thus, impact children’s rights. According to a senior Environmental Protection Agency administrator, greenwashing and growth washing, including using a subjective standard for relevant terms, has helped create a fantasy world of climate misinformation – beneficial to the one making the statement – that is likely to kill millions. This is a crucial matter of meta-ethics, and the fantasy worlds of subjective value that created the climate crisis.
Second, we ask that you support the use of the provisional standard described above as the fundament of all legitimate policymaking, in our action before the United Nations, and to support the direct action demands of young women for birth-equity based family planning and climate reparations geared around children’s rights and, minimally, the Children’s Rights Convention.
Both are geared to avoid irreparable harm to children, and repetition of the fundamental mistakes that caused the climate crisis, by making child-rights the basis of all legitimate policymaking.
Here are a few facts:
Climate change is now harming fetal and infant health harm, primarily in vulnerable families of color, as heat increases threaten to kill millions in the future. Roughly three quarters of attempts to mitigate the crisis has been undone by pro-growth policies, policies that exacerbated the one-tenth wealth gap between black and white families. This is happening because a handful of largely wealthy white men chose economic growth as the baseline for policymaking, rather than equity and democracy-building children’s rights that would actually legitimate – through inclusivity – nation-states. They chose to exploit a false sense of autonomy to exchange participatory democracy for economic growth.
Investing in women rather than exploiting and isolating them without equity funding would have significantly mitigated the climate crisis. Changing family outcomes by paying young women delay and readiness entitlements would have worked and saved many lives. Instead these men evaded investing child-rights based family planning, and further birth-privileged their own wealthy progeny while profiting from the unsustainable growth that allowed lack of child-rights allowed.
This divided social justice / public interest movements into less effective silos – like misperceptions of animal rights – that did not threaten the status quo the way birth-equity (equally empowering shares in your democratic system of voting) would have. This in turn undercut democracy, leading to the oligarchic threats the United States faces today.
This now means they – the disenfranchised – will suffer the brunt of a crisis for which they were least responsible, including violations of their right to have even one child in healthy and safe conditions. And because of basic vote dilution, voter suppression, and other factors, they will be unable to use democratic processes to protect themselves, and may rationally choose other measures. And in the face of all of this, many governments driven by industry are paying women to have more children with no easy safeguards like “survive and thrive” baby bonds in place, while wealthy families and foundations reliant on growth fund charities engaged in distractivism.
Our research is now nearing ten positive peer-reviews, and establishes a fundamental human right and obligation for would-be parents to demand and obtain the resources necessary to ensure that any child is born at a time, and in a place, manner and with specific resources, that ensure the child survives and thrives. There are dozens of ways to enable this right, including ESG disclosures and third-entity certification.
This right and obligation precedes and overrides any property rights – to extreme wealth for example – that were made by externalizing costs at risk to those children. in part because the democracy necessary to authorize and legitimate our actions is a logical impossibility without a primary right to equitable, empowering, inclusive family planning. Persons, not documents, constitute nations and political obligations. Humans and the basic power relations between them constituted at birth are real, documents like constitutions are symbolic. The victims of crimes no official was there to prevent know this well.
Governments that according to one Nobel laureate treated children as economic inputs in a system the created private benefits at deadly publics costs, rather than guaranteeing children their rights will have waived much of their authority, and encouraged mass violence as a reaction to the individual’s disempowerment we see today.
This right – the fundament of self-determination and legitimate governance, empirically measurable around at least 6 metrics – could authorize drastic action to save lives. We are ends, not means.
Attorneys on our staff have experienced wealthy funders intentionally greenwashing, and promoting fake compensation baselines that try to minimize reparations – in a way that could rob the most vulnerable of trillions. We will be filing bar complaints for the misconduct, which included undisclosed conflicts of interest, in the future. We will challenge the greenwashing by nonprofits as deadly distractivism. Also, to ensure officials do the right thing, rather than dismiss these issues because they will not be alive in the worst of the future crisis, we will be including their adult children in these processes and discussions.
Why a Fair Start in Life Always Comes First
The Fair Start Movement was formed as a reaction to threats to those rights, and we urge instead they – and the fundamental value of self-determination – be used as the basis for all policymaking.
Many are already giving reparations to ensure universal self-determination, correcting the fundamental mistake that caused the crisis. Rising climate crisis costs urge a fundamental shift in which we catalyze the best return on sustainable development investments – funding young girls’ future – by prioritizing ecosicial birth equity entitlements. This is not charity, this is obligation. Recipients attempt to empower each child enough to offset the capacity for influencing the basic rules equally, relative to the nonhuman world/nature around them.
Our attorneys represent communities most harmed by the climate crisis and using anything less than children’s rights as a baseline for climate reparations they will receive, and limits the way they can be used. We are pursuing emergency relief before the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish this baseline as provisional measure.
Rather than minimizing the harm created by using – in our language and otherwise – an lesser baseline, we correctly use an objective and evidence-based standard that:
1) Uses international human rights law, not purely domestic standards, which is required for the climate crisis – but in a way that includes domestic remedies. 2) Sets the highest standard for climate reparations rather than undercutting victims’ claims. 3) Mandates direct family-based reparations, which have the greatest impact. 4) Corrects the baseline error or fallacy discussed above, including climate migration and pro-labor/equity employment policy changes. 5) Avoids greenwashing by setting an objective standard for all claims that will impact child welfare. 6) Enables legislation to ensure immigration status in the United States and elsewhere for future children likely to face deadly risks from the crisis we exacerbated. While many think they will be able to exploit birth positionality for economic growth-based immigration, they will be the ones targeted to pay what they owe to actually enable immigrants and their children as empowered citizens.
These reparations are the most just and effective way to offset the harm caused by the crisis, and they can long-run help evade acts of mass violence driven early childhood trauma, a sense of disempowerment, the rising heat, and frustration with traditional justice systems.
[The Specific Policies at Issue] and the Reality that Ignoring Children’s Rights Has Caused Catastrophic Harm
Climate change is now harming fetal and infant health harm; those responsible violate basic provisions in the Children’s Rights Convention and the right to a healthy environment. What appeared to be free money returning on our investments from growth was not free at all. According to a leading Nobel laureate, its costs were falling on the most vulnerable.
At the same time, wealthy families and companies, governments, and media who made their money on unsustainable growth are trying to actually ramp up those policies, urging women to have more children without safeguards, to profit from the growth that would create. These same entities are intentionally hobbling each citizens ability to influence these risks and harms, through their democracy, by using growth to dilute the average citizen’s voice.
A Growing Body of Peer-Reviewed Research Back the Idea Children’s Rights Should Start All Policymaking
The research supports the idea that children’s rights specify who we should be, and who we should be is the first condition of policymaking. Nations cannot constitute, i.e. create their authority and subjects’ obligation, without starting from children’s rights because they would bypass the first obligation, e.g., what your creator owed you in terms of your and their mutual self-determination. That determination could occur in say a town hall, you, and they with equal capacity at the podium, and empowered enough to offset each other equally in any group setting. Empowered to look into the eyes of others without fear or deference, in setting the basic rules for how the groups of free persons – according to this leading political theorist – should operate.
State authority, especially to use violence, is conditioned on each subject being deliberately included as equals in the decision-making process. The genesis of obligation is being other regarding. The act of creating a child is more other determining than self-determining, for the child and those they influence. And given that children get what they need to be legal persons during their development, that mist be the focus of true constitutional law. The climate crisis (contrasted with what charities wrongly sold as progress) shows this well, as would models for what constitutional conventions in our dysfunctional political systems would actually look like.
The justice system you observe and defer to today starts with no protection for most vulnerable., and benefits you at cost to others. It exploits children’s birth positionality and the vulnerability of the nonhuman world those children would consume to create economic growth, thus benefitting a few at deadly cost to most others. But we need to ensure each child minimum thresholds of wellbeing and development – to treat them fairly – so they can be included in the cooperative enterprise of lawmaking, and of thus being obligated to follow the law. There is no value that can be separated from who we should be, and the objective list of norms – children’s rights – that limit the negative influence others have over us, and make self-determination, as opposed to being determined by the wealthy, possible
When you hear talk about population, consider that we are really talking qualitatively about primary power relations between people, and the conditions, location, timing, with which resources. etc. in which they should be born and at least initially reared, etc. For example, the climate crisis is already harming children – often before they are born. If we want to empower them, wouldn’t we have to start all of our policies by mitigating and reversing that harm, and improving the conditions in which they are born? All of this is evident in reviewing basic conceptions of intergenerational justice. If we substitute the more antecedent value of self-determination for welfare (which legitimate political entity ensures the latter value?), the threshold specified by Meyer leans towards egalitarian, and more importantly, it becomes the first and overriding norm because who we should be always come first in any policy analysis.
One way to envision the difference would be as between a shopping mall in which business owners try to fill the thing in order to maximize profit, and a rule-making town hall in which citizens fill it while ceding an equal capacity to influence outcomes to all members. This is not capitalism or socialism, but constitutionalism, the creation of duty-based systems that enable member obligation and authority by actually – physically – limiting and decentralizing influence. The unique value of investing in young girls is both evidence of how this can work, and a toehold for major reforms. Reliance on basic norms other than a just creation norm as a logical fallacy.
Fair start in not an academic undertaking but the praxis of being sufficiently other-regarding to maintain one’s own relative self-determination. Abstract academic debates about population ethics, often funded by concentrations of wealth and power reliant on inequity and growth, threaten to exacerbate the results of the climate crisis by forestalling law and policy reforms. Many of the debates derive from the same Eurocentric vestige of colonialism described above – the historic entitlement of wealthy families to exploit birth positionality relative to colonized nations – nesting in the human-rights regime.
Self-serving Academic Debates Exacerbating the Climate Crisis and Death Count
Abstract academic debates about population ethics, often funded by concentrations of wealth and power reliant on inequity and growth, threaten to exacerbate the results of the climate crisis by forestalling law and policy reforms. Many of the debates derive from the same Eurocentric vestige of colonialism described above – the historic entitlement of wealthy families to exploit birth positionality relative to colonized nations – nesting in the human-rights regime. Most of the academics in these debates contradict in their writings the basic values they exhibited throughout their lives, e.g., seeking minimum thresholds of personal welfare, expecting equal access to opportunities, participating in and adhering to political/legal systems that purported to represent the governed, using and enjoying an environment relatively conducive to human and nonhuman health, enjoying a right to have a child in relatively safe conditions, etc.
You can identify these academics because they will avoid discussions of how shared values interrelate to the actual creation of power relations. They will silo off values, like animals’ rights, from who the humans the performance of those rights depend on should be. They will avoid discussions of their full positionality. They will avoid explicitly conditioning state authority on empowering each person equally. If the micro-liberation of nonhumans looks like open rescues at factor farms, the macro would look like these “real new deal” social contract demands for reparations in exchange for child-centric planning that would ensure a truly climate-restored and bio-diverse future in which humans are empathetic enough to be inclined to treat nonhumans well. But many academics, whose interests do not align with macro reforms, ignore the latter.
These academics often assist funders in coaptating the values, imitating and redefining things like animal rights and mutual self-determination of humans and nonhumans, creating something that looks like the value but more aligned with their interests.
A classic example of this are academics and their funders backing the sale of vegan food products as a form of animal rights because they are invested in the companies that produce them, even when the family and growth policies they rely on does exponentially more harm to animals (and humans) than their food advocacy does good. As another example, many Effective Altruists frame their work in terms of altruism rather than obligation to avoid questions of race and other reparations owed on their wealth, and in terms of the distant future to avoid questions of the constant and ongoing violations of children’s rights required to create the climate-destroying growth that created their wealth.
They will orient from and reinforce outdated conceptions of power that favor elites, over the vulnerable. They will avoid explicitly conditioning state authority on empowering each person equally. Given their privileged intergenerational positionality, and the fact that they sent their lives generally relying on and participated in legal/political systems of coercive obligation premised on the idea of self-determination (evidenced through things like the holding of elections) and justified obligation that benefitted them at deadly cost to others, they should at least begin from a default or provisional position of extending those values to future generations.
Climate Change Alters the Legitimacy of Fundamental Power Relations That Derive From Birth and Development
Influential persons’ heightened influence relative to that of the average citizen is based on that – a lie that ensured artificial perceptions of truth and value (at cost to the true values above) that drives demand, in a world of vast birth-based inequity. Our perceptions of truth and value come from power relations created in the stages of our birth and development. This fundamentally placed them where they are relative to the average citizen. This fundamentally created the climate change is now harming fetal and infant health harm, primarily in vulnerable families of color, as heat increases threaten to kill millions in the future.
For example, Elon Musk makes money selling electric cars to a growing population that needs them because that growth is destroying our atmosphere. The policies that ensured that growth also ensured birth-based black poverty relative to the massive head-start position in which white South African Musk was born, and a dilution of the average citizens power to use their democracies to reverse things like the climate crisis and birth inequity. Those policies did more harm, especially using a metric like self-determination, than Musk and his car sales did good. Or in terms of truth, consider prestigious academic brands and hierarchies built on random aptitude tests and family influence, or other criteria that hid deep (and thanks to the climate crisis, very deadly) misconceptions of simple things like full positionality, animal liberation and social justice.
We Ask That You Support These Two Reforms to Avoid Minimizing Reparations and Exploiting Children. The Moves? Speak Truth to Power, Then Limit and Decentralize It by All Nonviolent Means Effective.
Will you publicly support the use of the objective standard above – the provisional baseline – for any claims, like “sustainable,” likely to create a perception of ecosocial environmental impact in the listener. and thus, impact children’s rights? It’s easy to understand that the rules that determine when, where, with what resources, in what conditions, etc. women have children can undo the beneficial impacts of all the work done to protect children, animals and the environment, ensure equity, restore democracy, protect the right of future generations to have kids safely and sustainably, the etc. Look at historical annual reports of organizations claiming progress in this area in the 1960s and 70s. Those were all misleading and in a deadly way. The organizations – including Singer’s – were embracing family policies that were quietly undoing progress in all of those areas to enrich a few, ensuring the catastrophic situation in which we find ourselves today. And many organizations today are trying to do the same thing today to future generations.
Everyone has used terms that expressed or implied public benefit, but measured against the true north on a moral compass of science the background systems they usually did not question and in fact implied the legitimacy of, were benefitting the claimant while unleashing significant and increasing harm to infant humans and nonhumans alike. That true north is what we can use, regardless of human processes and language, to assess damages and create new policy.
That must be our baseline for assessing climate loss and damage. To properly assess costs and benefits we have to first become groups of people capable of doing so in a way that is actually inclusive and reflective of the group constituents. This is simply the ideal of the “we,” in “We the People.” The ideal political we, meaning fundamental power relations defined by the goals of the Children’s Convention, is the primary baseline. We cannot think of, or describe, an ecological outcome that is not first contingent upon family planning outcomes, on at least five levels.
Will you support the use of the provisional baseline described above, in our action before the United Nations, and to support the direct action demands of young women for climate and birth equity planning reparations geared around children’s rights and the Children’s Rights Convention. Children’s rights specify who we should be?
What other obligation could possibly precede who we should be?
We owe our first obligation to other members of our nations, as they enter and develop, horizontally, rather than vertically to the powerful – the wealthy or politicians. To think otherwise is to replace the real – authority derived from the people – with the symbolic: documents or representatives.
If the government’s authority truly derives from the people, young women urging justice bottom-up are more of a legitimating authority capable of building democracy than men using top-down power to try to do it. Would it be wrong for a young woman with little wealth or income intending to become a mother to demand birth equity resources – resources that simply ensure a level playing field for her child and thus offset the harm – from a wealthy family that externalized the deadly environmental and social costs of its wealth upon the child she wished to have?
What if that family exploited that birth inequity and growth to not only harm her future child, but ensure that child would be likely to work for little money for the wealthy family and their children? What if the young woman were black, and whose child would have 9/10th less wealth than white kids because they would be black, and the white family she asked could afford to share by choosing to have fewer children?
This is not altruistic. This about liberation. Neither I nor you can be free in world with people who did not get enough what they needed growing up to constitute groups of free and equal persons actually capable of asserting authority and obligating persons to follow laws, especially when that allows the creation of so many people that we lose nature, which is simply the relative absence of the power of other persons. That is the logic of relative self-determination in a world with more than one person. Free persons will condition state authority on their actually being empowered as citizens. They will condition state authority first on a means of choosing who influences them.
Would you publicly back her demand to constitute a just future over the right of nations to arbitrarily assign ownership rights – often to heirs of oil barons – in a way likely to kill many in the future?
Not backing these or comparable reforms means supporting the status quo that allows this: Alaska is using wealth made by killing children in the most vulnerable nations to exacerbate that process using family policy. They’ve found a way to increase fossil fuel production and then use the profits to subsidize larger families and the need for greater fossil fuel production.
The truths and standards discussed in this request protect the vulnerable at all costs. Thanks for considering.
Sincere thanks for considering,
The Team at The Fair Start Movement