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Organizing Principle,
Catalytic Power

An essay by Raffi Cavoukian

We are conducting a vast toxicological experiment in which the research animals are our children.

Dr Philip Landrigan, Center for Children's Health and the Environment


What is Child Honouring

Child Honouring is a philosophy—a vision, an organizing principle, and a way of life—the children-first way of sustainability.

It starts with three givens:

  • The primacy of early years—early childhood is the gateway to humane being.

  • We face planetary degradation that is unprecedented in scope and scale—a state of emergency that most endangers the very young, and that requires a remedy of equal scale.

  • This crisis calls for a systemic response in detoxifying the environments that make up the world of the child.

Child Honouring is a children-first approach to healing communities and restoring ecosystems. It views how we regard and treat our young as the key to building a humane and sustainable world. It is a novel idea—organizing society around the priority needs of its youngest members.

The essence of the vision is expressed in A Covenant for Honouring Children and its underlying principles.

Its spirit is invitational—a call to imagine and create a diversity of child-friendly cultures. A child-honouring society would show love for its children, and thus for all of us, in every facet of its design and organization.

Child Honouring is the children-first way of Sustainability. If you think of it, the two are synonymous.

By putting the universal needs of children first, strategies can be developed to meet our most pressing needs – building community, restoring the planet’s health, peace-making, and creating sustainable economies devoted to the wellbeing of children and families.


Respecting Earth and Child.

As an integrated philosophy, Child Honouring allows us to question everything from the way we measure economic progress to our stewardship of the Earth; from our physical treatment of children to the corporate impact on their minds and bodies; from unthinking consumerism to factory schooling. By honouring the child we honour the Earth, as we work toward a sustainable world.

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