The Asparagus Manifesto

Photo by the3cats on Pixabay / CC 0

Asparagus is founded on the following beliefs:

A belief in science. A belief in justice. A belief in journalism and in art, in laughter and in vegetables.

The belief that human-caused climate change is the single greatest threat to life as we know it, and must be addressed head-on, immediately, by everyone on Earth.

The belief that while climate change must be humanity’s most urgent environmental priority, we can’t afford to lose sight of other ecological crises: air, soil, and water pollution; species extinction and depleted biodiversity; water shortages, drought, and soil erosion; ever-proliferating garbage; deforestation; nuclear fallout.

The belief that the concept of “sustainability” can’t only be applied to thinking about the environment. A society that averted climate change without also eliminating poverty, hunger, racism, sexism, colonialism, militarism, ableism, body fascism, homophobia, transphobia, white supremacism, mass incarceration, and the oppression of Indigenous peoples, would not be “sustainable.”

The concept of sustainability can’t only be applied to thinking about the environment.

A belief that the long-silenced voices of Indigenous peoples around the world are crucial to the discussion of how to create a just society on a healthy planet. For millennia before colonization, Indigenous people built cultures that allowed them to live in balance with their surroundings. Their voices must be amplified in order to build a better future.

A belief that the perspectives of oppressed and marginalized peoples are critical to any conversation about sustainability. People historically left out of these conversations must not only be actively invited to participate in them, but to lead them.

A belief that a sustainable society can only be achieved through a combination of individual decisions and collective actions, and that we must be well-informed to make those choices, individually and together.

The belief that “Reduce” is the most important, and least practiced, of the “3 Rs” (the other two being “Reuse” and “Recycle”). And the simultaneous awareness that people are unlikely to completely stop buying stuff. “Conscious consumerism” isn’t in-and-of-itself a solution to the world’s problems, but it can be a piece of the puzzle. By drawing attention to businesses, products, organizations, and individuals doing their best to do the right thing, Asparagus hopes to build a community that, when it does spend money, does so in responsible, planet- and humanity-nurturing ways.

A belief that we’re living in critical and dangerous times. But that it’s not possible to solve serious problems without hope. Hope springs from many sources; laughter and art are two of the most important. So, Asparagus will sometimes approach the world’s heaviest problems in a lighthearted or creative manner. And it won’t mean we don’t take those problems seriously. But it will mean we’re still hopeful.

We’re living in critical and dangerous times, but it’s not possible to solve serious problems without hope.

A belief that the publishing industry can and should be doing a better job at adopting sustainable business practices, and an intention for Asparagus to be a leader in that arena.

A belief in learning from experience, and from other people. As our understanding grows and changes, we are likely to update this manifesto.

A belief in building a world that, like our namesake vegetable, is bright, green, delicious, and thrives in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

A belief that we can’t build that world alone. We hope you will join us.

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