A response to an eco-humynist manifesto for the 21st century

I’ve just been defeated by the machine, once again.

I visited An Eco-Humynist Manifesto for the 21st Century over on Dr. Browdy de Hernandez’s Transition Times blog for the second time today, and tried to leave a comment with some thoughts.

I had several thoughts.

So many, in fact, that I was reminded of other times when I’ve composed long missives that were lost in the ether upon the whim of a defective machine. As a result, I copied the text before hitting the ‘post’ button…

… and (surprise, surprise) the machine didn’t want to play ball.

So I pasted the text, hit post again, and — still no dice.


What has gone before

First off, you’d need to visit An Eco-Humynist Manifesto for the 21st Century for context.


Whilst I am in awe of the manifesto itself, I would make the observation that by using the relatively unknown term ‘humyn‘ within its title, the author(ess?) has invited serious and unwanted distraction from the main theme. I cite this comment as a case in point… :(
With very best wishes,
A human.

Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez:

Yes, that’s a good point. The term humyn came from one of my students, and I agree with her that it is an attempt to represent graphically a break with the patriarchal culture that has landed us in our current predicament. The manifesto might also be called eco-feminist, but we wanted to embrace humynism as more inclusive, in a new, different way. If you can get past the term, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the ideas and how to promote them most effectively–

The disappearing post

Dear Dr Browdy de Hernandez:

— I much prefer ‘eco-humynist’ over ‘eco-feminist’. Indeed, thinking about promotion of the ideas in the manifesto, a ‘wait, what?’ moment in the title might not be such a bad idea after all. Get the audience thinking right from the outset. Might it be worthwhile considering working an explanation of ‘what it means to be humyn’ into the manifesto itself?

And with that out of the way, my first suggestion would be to number the bullet points, to facilitate discussion of each individually; to use an HTML term, use an ordered list <ol> instead of an unordered one <ul>:

  1. Move…
  2. Shift…
  3. Tailor…
  4. Model…
  5. Shift…
  6. Destroy…
  7. No one person’s…
  8. Develop…

With reference to point (1):
I do like the emphasis on the removal of fences.

With reference to point (2):
Are you aware of CASSE?

With reference to point (6):
I’m all for destroying weapons of mass destruction (as, on the face of it, Those Who Lead Us purport to be); however, I think that it will be necessary to define what a WMD actually is. To my mind, to use what might be considered a relatively trivial example — but one that I believe epitomises all that is wrong with our current lifestyle — all forms of trawler fishing that scour the ocean floor, destroying habitat, could, and perhaps should, be classed as ‘WMD’. See for instance The End of the Line.

I’m not so sure about the ‘destruction of blueprints’ idea. Much as we might want to, it’s really not possible to disinvent things; any attempt to suppress knowledge is fraught with difficulty. Once the djinn is out of the box, we can’t get it back in. We just have to figure out ways around it.

With reference to point (7):
I’m particularly impressed by your astute classification of rich people, businesses and industries as ‘minority interests’ — so obvious in retrospect, but when I first read that, it was a definite epiphany moment for me. If this meme could be fed, it might be possible to make some serious progress (see for instance The Corporation).

One minor quibble: all the other points in the manifesto begin with a verb, whereas this one doesn’t. I’d be tempted to recast this, employing a verb at the beginning. Perhaps:

Disallow allNo one person’s or minority group’s interests (with rich people and businesses or industries rightly being considered minorities) should be allowed to takefrom taking precedence over the interests of the majority, including the non-human majority on this planet.

Other thoughts:

I would very much like to include the idea of promoting a law against ecocide somewhere, though I have to admit I don’t see where that would fit in. (See Eradicating Ecocide by Polly Higgins.)

Much of the manifesto’s content seems to me to mirror the principles of the Green Party in the UK. After many years sitting on the political fence, I finally came out of the closet and joined the Green Party, on the grounds that this is the only political party which is (or at least appears to be) prepared to take the bold steps needed.

To make progress on these fronts, I believe that we will have to work within the system simply because the establishment holds all the cards. The heavy-handed way in which the Occupy movement has been dealt with on occasion is allowed by the system as a result of the establishment’s almost total control of the police and the mass media.

Non-violence has to be the way forward, if we are not to become the thing we hate.

And besides, we’d lose World War Three hands down…

This comment is already too long, but I’ll leave you with one last thought:

Tree huggers of the world, unite!

About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
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21 Responses to A response to an eco-humynist manifesto for the 21st century

  1. Thank you for the introduction to this blog. I find much of interest in it.


  2. Martin_Lack says:

    Ditto – and I think your points of feedback/suggestions were excellent too.


  3. leavergirl says:

    Oh crap. I mean, oh humynure!

    I just posted on the other blog, but I have a feeling it might get censored. So I report herewith.

    I said: Wow. An impressive effort. Let me see… is the idea here to replace every instance of the triplet m-a-n with “myn”? Trying it on for size, I am making an effort to mynufacture lofty, humyne sentiments, which are pulling at the strings of my very humynity. Like mynna from heaven, the article comes to lodge in my ‘everymyn’ consciousness. Uh, well, then again, maybe the term belongs on the humynure pile.


    Praying Myntis


  4. leavergirl says:

    Oh and yes, I should have appended a wink. But my womynly depths are offended by this rape of language. So I won’t. Even though… ;)


  5. Moth says:

    I agree about the “eco-feminist”; if it’s about a new movement, such a term effectively removes half of the potential audience.

    I’ve written a lengthy comment, awaiting moderation. I’m hoping to start up a discussion.


  6. leavergirl says:

    Bummer. Wuz looking forward to a discussion, instead I find a guy who knows better than the rest of us. Oh well.


    • Moth says:

      You’re entitled to think as such, by all means. Personally, I think you’re wearing your indignation to avoid objective reasoning against your lofty case.

      I’ve challenged an ideology you clear hold strong.

      Don’t worry, I shan’t bother you again. I’ve removed my subscription to both Jennifer’s comment tread and to this comment thread also. Please feel free to continue to demonise me to avoid valid criticism.


  7. leavergirl says:

    Ah… if only everybody would watch Life of Brian… once a year…. :D


  8. Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez says:

    Just re-read your response again, pendantry, and this line jumped out at me: “the establishment holds all the cards.”

    I disagree! At least so far, they do not completely have the masses in a state of lobotomized thralldom. They have been trying to get there, through pharmaceuticals, entertainment, consumerism and sheer fear, but it isn’t working with all of us, as the Occupy protests have demonstrated. There are still human, all too human sparks of dissent among us, and the more we speak out, the more people listen and start to wake up.

    It may be too late for us on our beloved planet, but there is no point in giving up now, we have to play the game out to the end and see what happens. It certainly is an interesting time to be alive, and I intend to give these intense, accelerated years everything I’ve got.

    In solidarity….


    • pendantry says:

      I do hope you’re right. But it seems to me that no matter how many of us might feel that something must be done, we are unable to effect change from the inside because the sham of democracy only ever places us within the horns of the dilemma; and we can’t make change from the outside because the police work for ‘law and order’. The wealthy write the rules and, from their perspective, they see nothing wrong with the way things are. They have no incentive to effect real change, and every incentive to continue with business as usual.


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