My Vows to Humanity 2020-2024

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My life is an experiment with truth and integrity. At the heart of my action-based philosophy is my dedication to living simply and sustainably as an active means of resistance to oppressive, exploitative systems. Through living simply, I reject the constructs of consumerism and materialism that contribute to great inequity and injustice to our global humanity.

I have made numerous vows, including to earn below the federal poverty threshold, to maintain a minimal net worth and minimal material possessions and practice deep financial transparency. I have made a lifetime commitment to not pay federal income taxes and to donate 100% of my media earnings to grassroots nonprofits. Rather than paying federal income taxes that contribute to war, police brutality and mass incarceration, I spread my resources equitably, with a focus on supporting Black and Indigenous people who are healing their communities and Earth.

My motivation is simple – liberation and basic rights for all – Earth, humanity and the plants and animals we share this home with. These vows I have made play a central role in this objective.

In a time when it is commonplace to put self above humanity, I aim to live in a way that does not put myself disproportionately above others. I have dedicated myself to being a public servant who acts with integrity, accountability and dependability to all whom I serve. I have made these personal commitments to create practical guidelines to help me serve from a place of deep integrity.

My life is my message and through my daily choices, I aim to influence others in society to be the change they wish to see in the world.

One of my aims of sharing these commitments is to serve as an example to other public servants, politicians, and people in power. This is is the type of integrity I would like to see in our leaders and I hope for my example to reach many of them. I encourage our politicians to create their own sets of public commitments to keep themselves accountable to the people they serve.

This integrity is not limited to our leaders though. Every one of us has some role of leadership in our lives. Through sharing these vows, I aim to create an opportunity for self-examination and critical thought for all who would like to contribute to Earth and humanity. There are many highly privileged people out there who can do so much more. I hope to provide inspiration and an example to encourage them to adopt practices of higher integrity and be of service to Earth, humanity and our plant and animal relatives.

My example is not designed for anyone else to follow exactly. I know that my example is extreme and most people cannot do just as I do. I live a life of great privilege and I acknowledge this.

Some will look at these vows and see them as restrictive. In some ways, they are restrictive. They restrict me from taking paths of low integrity. These vows guide me to live a life of truth and integrity – where my actions are aligned with my beliefs. Although adhering to these vows can be quite challenging, I have found a deep sense of freedom in this life. My aim with these commitments is to allow myself to be of service, not hinder this object, and all of these commitments were designed that way.

I first made my vows 0n April 8th, 2015. These are my renewed vows as of November 3rd, 2020.

I commit to these vows until November 5th, 2024. My vows are updated in four- year increments on United States Federal Election Days.

I vow to:

  • Earn below the federal poverty threshold annually
  • Maintain a minimal net worth
  • Donate 100% of my media earnings
  • Practice deep financial transparency
  • Not pay federal income taxes
  • Adhere to ethical financial practices and not invest in or support unjust, inequitable or unsustainable businesses or systems
  • Distribute most of my work under a Creative Commons license
  • Practice transparency and adhere to a set of ethics for all flights I take

Below, I have expanded upon each of these vows and shared supporting articles that provide further depth to my practices and philosophies.

Earn below the federal poverty threshold annually

I commit to earning below the federal poverty guideline annually. This is a lifetime commitment.

The federal poverty guideline for an individual person is approximately $12,000 as of 2020.

My annual earnings have remained under $10,000 since my initial vows in 2015.

I share details on my annual earnings here and details on how I practice financial transparency.

By limiting the amount of money that I can earn to the federal poverty threshold, I drastically limit the ability for others to purchase my decision making, my audience, my influence, or sway my personal integrity. I have freed myself to make decisions that allow me to be of best service to Earth, humanity and our plant and animal relatives rather than to gain personal financial wealth. Keeping my financial assets at a minimum also helps me to live simply and sustainably.

Read my mission statement here, which shares about my choice to live simply and sustainably.

Maintain a minimal net worth

I commit to owning a minimal value of financial assets and possessions.

The sum of all of my financial assets will remain below an equivalent of the federal poverty threshold. This current threshold is $12,000.

The net worth of my physical possessions will not exceed the federal poverty guidelines – which is currently $12,000.

Since 2015, my net worth has been under $15,000 and has generally ranged from $2,000 to $10,000. The value of my material possessions has ranged from $500 to $7,000 since 2016.

I adhere to the philosophy to “live simply so that others may simply live.” I believe that society and humanity would benefit greatly by sharing our resources rather than needing one of everything for everyone. I have been downsizing and simplifying my life since 2011.

Most of my possessions are tools that help me to accomplish tasks such as a simple tiny house for shelter and safety, a bicycle to get around and a computer to do my work.

My net worth is updated yearly here.

My possessions as of 2023 are documented here.

Donate 100% of my media earnings

I commit to donating 100% of my media earnings to grassroots organizations in service to Earth, humanity and our plant and animal relatives. This includes TV shows and appearances, documentaries, books, product endorsements, etc. I do not take on these projects for personal financial gain. Funds are never paid to me, rather they are donated directly to nonprofits and grassroots initiatives. This is a lifetime commitment.

I document my donations here and share more in-depth information.

Learn about some of the nonprofits I support.

Practice deep financial transparency

I commit to practicing transparency in regard to how I earn money, where the money comes from and all companies with which I am financially involved. I do not hide any of my financial involvements. I am always open to questions about my involvement with money and will answer those questions.

Read My Commitment to Financial and Corporate Transparency for more information, for a record of my financial income and a record of my involvement with companies.

Not pay federal income taxes

Paying federal income taxes is a direct investment in the Military Industrial Complex that wages war with much of the world – our global neighbors. It is a direct investment in Mass Incarceration that has over two million Americans in prison, mostly Black and Brown men. It is a direct investment in deporting people from our nation who belong here just as much as any of us. It is a direct investment in corrupt corporations that are driving the mass extinction of thousands of species.

Instead of contributing to these systems of oppression and exploitation, I have created my own tax system. I donate 100% of my media revenue to nonprofits and initiatives that truly serve the people. The organizations I support provide resources to people who are not receiving equitable benefits from the tax system. I prioritize distributing my finances to Black and Indigenous women-led organizations. They represent the people that are most underfunded, underrepresented and under-served by our political systems. They represent the communities that are most harmfully affected by the corruption in our government and corporations.

I am a tax resistor through the legal means of voluntary simplicity. By earning less than the federal poverty threshold, I do not owe any taxes. Since I am not paying into social security, I will not be taking social security when I’m older (if the system even exists then). This is a lifetime commitment.

Read My Lifetime Commitment to not Pay Federal Taxes for more on this commitment.

Adhere to ethical financial practices and not invest in or support unjust, inequitable or unsustainable businesses or systems

In 2012, I took my money out of all investments that involved businesses with exploitative, oppressive and extractive practices. I no longer have any destructive investments.

In 2015, I removed my money from the big banks – which have substantial exploitative, oppressive and extractive practices – and switched to a local credit union. (Currently I have no financial accounts at all.)

I have no retirement funds, savings account, stocks, bonds, life insurance or any other financial investments.

Further Details on My Commitments and Actions
How I’ve Worked to Defund Injustice from My Life
My Relationship with Money (this covers divestment) (coming soon)
Why I Switched to a Local Credit Union
11 Reasons Why I Canceled My Credit Cards

Distribute most of my work under a Creative Commons license

I am committed to making my work accessible to humanity. I commit to distributing the majority of my work freely, so that money is not a barrier for people to access the knowledge that I provide.

Nearly all of the content on my website, including my writing, videos and photos, are distributed under a Creative Commons license.

Read: Creative Commons – My Work is for the Greater Good of All

Although I do not generally charge for my work personally, I do work with companies that make money from my work, such as production companies and publishers, as it would greatly hinder my mission to not work with these outlets. When I do work with another entity that owns the rights to the work, then their policies will be followed. 100% of the money I would make from these collaborations is donated to nonprofits.

The educational information in my books, TV shows and other paid content is generally also available as free content as well.

Practice transparency and adhere to a set of ethics for all flights I take

Flying is one of the most environmentally destructive actions that most of us can take.

I have created guidelines to use flying as a tool in my mission during a period of transitional ethics. I fly only under the circumstances that the positive contribution that I make through the flight outweighs the destruction from burning fossil fuels and supporting this industry.

I commit to three-fold offsetting the carbon emitted from flights I take using the highest standards of carbon offsets available. I commit to publicly recording every flight that I take.

I share in more depth on my guidelines and strategy for flying and document my flights and offsets here.

Records of my vows

November 3rd 2020 to November 5th 2024
November 3rd 2018 to November 3rd 2020
2015 to 2018 – made in 2015, updated in 2016

This page was published November 3rd 2020 and was last updated December 9th 2023.

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