Loyal to the soil

The other day my friend Ann and I were discussing the fact that if she wants to become a British citizen, she will be obliged to swear  or affirm (the former involves God and the latter doesn’t – you get to choose which) an oath of allegiance to the Queen. Strangely, because I was born here, I can choose not to ally myself with the Queen and even, I suppose, to plot her downfall (in a democratic way!) but if Ann wants to be British, she can’t.

At a citizenship ceremony you affirm your allegiance by saying the following:

I (your full name) do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that on becoming a British Citizen I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her heirs and successors according to law.

I’ve quoted the non-religious version, but you can swear to God if you wish. In the ceremony, this is followed by the “Pledge of commitment”:

I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfill my duties and obligations as a British citizen.

Whilst I don’t have a problem with the pledge, I would certainly have to think carefully about the affirmation. I’m not a big fan of the royal family – they are after all just people who, by accident of birth, are able to lead a very privileged life. Although our monarch is the head of state, she doesn’t actually run the country… and anyway she has no skills to do so apart from having ancestors who were the biggest bullies in their time. And this got me to thinking about what I would feel happy affirming my allegiance to…

These ones were planted a bit later

Celebrating to bounty of the soil

I’m not at all nationalistic – I prefer to see myself as a citizen of the world and to celebrate my links to all other people, not just those who happen to occupy an arbitrary area. Don’t get me wrong – I am very grateful to have been born in a country where I can speak freely – including telling you I’m not keen on the monarchy – without fear of retribution, and where I experience no severe repression because of my gender, lack of religion, skin colour or sexual orientation. The question is, given a choice, what would I affirm my commitment to? I think the answer is not to my country or monarch, but to the land… and air and water; to the earth around me and all it’s wonderful diversity.

So, as a citizen of the earth, this is my affirmation and pledge

I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that, as a member of the human race, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the earth beneath my feet, the air that I breathe and the water that sustains me.
I will give my loyalty to the natural world and respect its rights and bounty. I will value the world’s ecosystems and work to enhance the land that sustains me – leaving it richer than when I found it. I will observe nature and be inspired by what I see, fulfilling my role as a part of the diversity life on this amazing planet.

How about you? What sort of pledge would you make?

Leave a comment


  1. Ann Owen

     /  May 2, 2015

    Yes, YES, yes, I could solemnly and truly declare allegiance to the Earth and all that lives upon her! But I don’t think I’ll ever be British, even if I could find the 2000GBP it costs, I’d choke before I could pledge to be faithful to this Mrs Windsor. Lovely post Jan!

  2. Great post and a great pledge!

  3. Yours would do me just great!

  4. I rather like your idea of a new ‘oath of allegiance’ – much better this than all the different and several political and geographical boundaries that are daily sworn to. xoxo

  5. I do like your oath. I’d have to think a while about whether I would include other things. It’s sort of a manifesto. If you add too much, it becomes cluttered and meaningless, soI’d leave out the sheep as they’re part of it all anyway.

  6. I’m with you completely. I can do that oath. I’m not a real resident of anywhere having traveled and lived all over the globe anyway. Love how you wrote this.

  7. makes a lot of sense. A loving lot of sense. ❤

  8. That’s a beautiful affirmation and pledge, one that we can all get behind. I might add, though perhaps it’s implied, stewardship of the earths creatures.

  9. sandidureice

     /  May 3, 2015

    Here! Here! I have worshipped Mother Nature, since I was 12 years old.

  10. Yep put the sheep in. I would definitely put bees in! Surely your friend can still campaign to change the law? As the oath does state, “under the law?”

  11. Beautiful! I would pledge this pledge in a heartbeat, and also add a line about Truth and Beauty — I have also pledged my life to living creatively and for Art 🙂

  12. I solemnly affirm that too. It is a brilliant pledge.
    Would you swear on something? Not the Bible, but maybe a stack of permaculture books? Maybe you could swear on a sheep?!

  13. Reading your post and all the comments….all I can say is, I WISH WOMEN RAN THE WORLD.

  14. In the US corporations are, legally, persons. I don’t think they should be able to be, but the door’s been opened. So: might we define an earthy nation, a green nation, bounded not by geophysical coordinates but gathered together by the allegiances of its global citizens?

    I’d pay taxes.

  15. Gosh Jan, your posts always hit the spot and make me think and seem to chime with much of the thoughts that just swirl around in my head, without getting written about. I love your pledge. And would have something in there about equality for humans, but can’t quite get the wording. The notion of Royalty nowadays does seem quite bonkers, but I have to admit to an affection for the Queen and William etc and maybe they protect us from hideous Presidential stuff – a conundrum for sure. I often think how primitive we humans still are and how slow our evolution.

  1. Allegiance | All Hallows' Church, LeedsAll Hallows' Church, Leeds

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