I am immersed in The Earth Charter this week - busy conceptualising and writing educational resources, for teachers of ten-year olds, with the Earth Charter as a theme for enhancing sustainability education.
I think that The Earth Charter is an extremely valuable initiative. It is wise, helpful and hopeful. It provides a sound and inspiring ethical framework to guide the transition to sustainable living and sustainable human development. The Charter's great strength is that it both recognises and accommodates the irrevocably interconnected aspects of Life on Earth in its 16 succinct principles. It serves to remind us that social justice, peace and the end of poverty are intertwined with the protection, respect and care of the wilderness, biodiversity and other species that we make use of.
The Earth Charter began as a United Nations project, but was then driven and fully implemented some years later by an independent global civil society initiative - at the urgings of the likes of Mikhail Gorbachev. A decade-long process of the most inclusive and participatory consultation has helped The Earth Charter to gain legitimacy and further its goal of becoming an international 'soft law document' - morally, if not legally binding on its signatories. It has been endorsed by more than 4500 organizations, including governments and international bodies. Because of its status as a 'people's charter', you can as an individual, a family, a school or a community also endorse the Earth Charter, take action and use it as a wise guide to 21st Century living.
The mission of the Earth Charter is:
"... to promote the transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace."
Read the principles, take them to heart, sign The Earth Charter and be inspired to take action at: http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/
For kids, teachers and parents, there's the Little Earth Charter - the 16 Principles synthesized into 8 communicated through beautiful animations and songs: