Sykes, Helen. Future Justice. 2010. Future Leaders. Sydney. Australia.
Future Justice edited by Helen Sykes is a collection of writings by academics and thinkers about this generation’s responsibility to leave a just and stable legacy for the future. The theme of the book echoes point IX of the Letter of Peace addressed to the UN when it states: “Progenitors are responsible for giving existence to other beings. Therefore, with the help of society, they should provide their offspring with sufficient support for their entire lives, above all in the inheritance of a more peaceful world for their entire lives.”
The books’ underlying message is the construction of a solid society based on principles of universal human rights, justice and solidarity. The chapters are written by key experts in their fields – a High Court Judge writes about being able to exercise the right to love as a gay man, one of Australia’s most prominent Aboriginal women writes about the concept of sustainability in Indigenous cultures and a professor of philosophy gives her perspective on intergenerational Justice. The essays are articulate, persuasive and offer a new perspective on the right of future generations to inherit a peaceful world.
The latter part of the book is a collection of short pieces of fiction, non-fiction and essays by young writers who entered the Future Readers writing competition. Again the topics include themes as diverse as climate change, violent conflict and old age. They are eloquently written and offer a good range of perspectives on
The book has been published by a Future Justice, a philanthropic initiative specifically designed to educate, inform and inspire. It is a joint initiative of Future Leaders and the Institute of Legal Studies and is based in Australia. It is committed to economic, social, cultural and environmental advances for the present generation whilst securing and strengthening the life chances of future generations. It takes as its starting point the UNESCO ‘Declaration on the Responsibilities of the Present Generations Towards Future Generations’. This Declaration sets down the core responsibilities, which the present generation should assume. These include:
• the responsibility to bequeath to future generations an Earth that will not one day be irreversibly damaged by human activity;
• the responsibility to ensure that future generations may benefit from the richness of the Earth’s ecosystems and, to that end, the present generation should work to ensure sustainable development and the quality and integrity of the environment;
• the responsibility to underpin and promote the socio-economic development of future generations through the fair and prudent use of available resources, including the nation’s economic, fiscal and budgetary resources;
• the responsibility to work towards the progressive alleviation of poverty and other forms of economic and social disadvantage;
• the responsibility to protect and safeguard the nation’s cultural heritage and to transmit that heritage to future generations;
• the responsibility to provide high quality education as one crucial means of fulfilling everyone’s inherent potential; and
• the responsibility to preserve and to strengthen peoples human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international law.
As part of strengthening this philosophy and spreading the word, Future Justice provides free electronic access to the entire book through their website! No software or file download is required, you simply have to click on the “read ebook” icons and they will open within a web-based ereader. If you want to read the books on your iphone or ipad navigate to this page www.futureleaders.com.au/ebooks/ using the browser on your device and select the “read ebook” icon. The Future Leaders will be publishing more books in this series – check back and see what they come up with.