Wales first to pass “Well-Being of Future Generations” act, plus UK MPs introduce British “Wellbeing of Future Generations” bill. Youth climate champion, Dominique Palmer, and listeners’ call to action!
Wales First to Pass “Well-Being of Future Generations” Act, UK MPs Introduce British “Wellbeing of Future Generations” Bill, Youth Climate Champ–Dominique Palmer, Listeners’ Call to Action!
THE WALES “WELL-BEING OF FUTURE GENERATIONS ACT”
I don’t know why this isn’t more widely known. It’s landmark legislation that should either inspire or embarrass other countries into following suit. And it’s been around for seven years! I’m talking about The Well-being of Future Generations Act, and it was enacted into law by the Senned Cymru, or Welsh Parliament in 2015.
The legislation gives that nation the ambition, permission and legal obligation to improve its social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being.
The Act requires public bodies in Wales to think about the long-term impact of their decisions, to work better with people, communities and each other, and to prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change. The law codifies 7 connected well-being goals for Wales:
- A prosperous Wales
- A resilient Wales
- A healthier Wales
- A more equal Wales
- A Wales of more cohesive communities
- A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language
- A globally responsible Wales
This is about ensuring that future generations have at least the same quality of life as we do now. The act provides for better decision-making by ensuring that public bodies:
- take account of the long term
- help to prevent problems occurring or getting worse
- take an integrated approach
- take a collaborative approach, and
- consider and involve people of all ages and diversity.
The law even established the office of Future Generations Commissioner. Sophie Howe is Wales’s current Future Generations Commissioner. Her general duties include promoting the sustainable development principle. In particular, she acts as a guardian of the ability of future generations to meet their needs. She also encourages public bodies to take greater account of the long-term impact of the things that they do.
This is such a good template for other countries to adopt!!
BRITISH PARLIAMENT INTRODUCES “WELLBEING OF FUTURE GENERATIONS” BILL
Well, well well. Lookee here. Our intrepid reporting has uncovered breaking news. Seven years late to the game, the Britain’s House of Lords introduced a Wellbeing of Future Generations bill to Parliament in this past winter.
If you’d like to get obtuse, the bill is titled, “A Bill to make provision for a public consultation to inform a set of national wellbeing goals; to require public bodies to act in pursuit of the United Kingdom’s environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing by meeting wellbeing objectives, publishing future generations impact assessments and accounting for preventative spending; to establish a futures and forecasting report; to establish a Commission for Future Generations for the United Kingdom; to extend the duty of the Office of Budget Responsibility to consider wellbeing and the future generations principle in their work; to add onto a Minister in each government department’s portfolio a duty to promote the future generations principle across government policy; to establish a Joint Parliamentary Committee on Future Generations; and for connected purposes.”
Thus far, the bill has made it through the required Third Reading in the House of Lords and has moved onto the House of Commons where it is currently in its second reading. Should all go well, it will be passed onto committee. If it passes through the House of Commons, final stages include a consideration of amendments, followed by Royal Assent.
Unlike in the US, where bills passed by both houses of Congress then travel to the President’s desk for signature, British bills must be approved by Royal Assent. It’s the final step required for a parliamentary bill to become law. Once a bill is presented and the monarch grants royal assent, the bill becomes an Act of Parliament.
YOUTH CLIMATE CHAMPION, DOMINIQUE PALMER
ALL OF THESE stories on the Wellbeing of Future Generations Acts we discovered while researching British youth climate activist, Dominique Parker. In the early 2020s, this young woman, who’s been described by colleagues as “brilliant” and “inspiring,” pressured British ministers of parliament to pass The Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill in 2022. She said she did so because she wants to “tackle the systemic inequality of climate change.”
Before that notoriety, Palmer grew up in London, and started her activism with the group, Extinction Rebellion Youth. She became a prominent figure and one of the U.K’s most high profile youth activists in the School Strike for Climate Movement, aka Fridays for the Future.
Palmer focuses on intersectionality and marginalized communities. She spoke at the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and she served on the New York Times Hub Panel at 2021’s COP26, alongside Malala, Emma Watson, and Vanessa Nakate, among other youth climate change luminaries.
Palmer is an organizer for Climate Live, a series of international concerts hosted yearly in over 40 countries, since 2021. The concert series was developed by Fridays for Future, and its inaugural event took place on April 24, 2021 where Declan Mckenna played in front of Britain’s Houses of Parliament to bring awareness to the climate crisis.
Said Palmer, “the race to safeguard the future of this planet has begun, and so we must act now. We’re not only fighting for our futures, but against the present crisis and those already suffering. We need ambitious systemic change that places people and the planet at the heart of it.”
Palmer also focuses on Eco-Anxiety in young people related to climate change. She said “I’m looking at the future, and what we face, and there is a lot of fear and anxiety. Young people, myself included, feel betrayed by world leaders.” She organizes climate action as a method to deal with it.
She also co-founded the initiative “Pass The Mic.”
THE CLIMATE DAILY LISTENER CALL OUT CHALLENGE
Recently, one of our listeners shared her story of how listening to the climate daily helped her deal so well with her climate change overwhelm, that she got out and started working with the local community based group. Then she challenged us to ask you all to share any stories you might have of how listening to the climate daily might have inspired you into action, so we can share them with the world.
Remember, we’re all about sharing stories of people taking positive action to combat climate change. And that’s you listeners. You can hit us up on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at #wetheclimate or Jeffrey at The Climate dot org or Maude at The Climate dot org, too.