SEVEN GENERATIONS: An open letter to Scott Pruitt, EPA

By | March 10, 2017

Dear Mr. Pruitt,

Yesterday, on CNBC, you stated that you do not agree with the world consensus that human activity is a primary contributor to global warming. This came as no surprise given that in your first speech as head of our Environmental Protection Agency, you chose not to even mention the subject.

Instead, you spoke about civility, our founding fathers, and baseball.

This is not a criticism; I share your love for baseball and I admire and applaud your respect for our founding fathers. In fact, if we were ever to have a beer, I’d be happy to keep the conversation on the Red Sox and Ben Franklin.

Before we get to baseball, can we talk about Ben Franklin? In the mid-18th century, when Franklin was advocating a federal union of colonies, no European model was found to be workable for the new country. Franklin, and our other founders, saw greater wisdom in the true owners and stewards of the new land — the Native Americans. In fact, Franklin and his friends were blown away by the Constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy and advocated many of their ideas, such as equality, natural rights, freedom of religion, property rights — and especially one of the Iroquois laws that resonated to Franklin as not only wise but critical:

‘In all our deliberations, let us first consider the impact on the next seven generations.’ Please take one moment and think about that. Franklin was impressed by the way his elder friend Canasstego, speaker for the Great Council at Onondaga, addressed stewardship of the earth, spoke of how hunting and fishing and burning areas were carefully regulated so as not to over-impact the land. Environmental regulations were the cornerstone of the Iroquois democracy that Franklin campaigned to adopt. Why force a failed model on the new land, one that the founding fathers were trying to escape, when the true keepers of the new land had it down to a science. An earth science that was also their spirituality (and still is).

20 years after Franklin’s argument was defeated at the Albany Congress, Thomas Jefferson still looked to the Iroquois Nations for wisdom in blueprinting our American system of government. He stopped just short of including the rightful inheritance of the seventh generation in the Bill of Rights, but if Ben Franklin had his way, it would have been there — and we would not still be debating (although, Sir, the world’s greatest scientists strongly believe that debate reached a conclusion long before your new position).

I ask that in all our deliberations, let us first consider the impact on your children and mine, and their children. Because with a scorched earth there’s no baseball. When you find yourself in the bottom of the ninth inning and you still have a chance to pull out a win, there’s no more time for debate. No more time for placing a priority on selling merchandise in the stands. We’re all one team, one tribe.

With respect and civility,

John Fusco