On July 14th, a group of 20 students in the Butte-Glenn Community College Integrated Studies certificate course visited the Earth Charter Center for ESD where they received a short lecture and discussed values and ethics related to the Earth Charter, sustainable development, and issues in their local context in Northern California. The two hours were just enough to scratch the surface of many issues in California, as well as introduce the Earth Charter and basic concepts related to values and ethics.
ECI staff facilitated the discussion and guided the group to discuss recent developments in California laws. California is consistently one of the most advanced states in the USA in developing laws that set trends for the rest of the USA. California has had vibrant debates on the legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriages over the past years, well ahead of most other US states. The state of California has been practicing direct democracy for more than a century, and this has allowed for ample citizen engagement in the political process, as well as fostering a sense of responsibility among the state’s citizens for enacting policy and legislation. During the workshop at the Earth Charter Center, the discussions touched on the values aspects of the marijuana legalization, the marriage equality issue, and the regulation of fire arms and related mental health issues.
The workshop finished with a half an hour of small group work so the participants could delve a bit deeper into the Earth Charter and find issues that they could relate to on a personal level. The discussion and sharing following this group work was especially personal and enriching.