The Earth Charter Center for ESD successfully held its second programme of the year at its facility in Costa Rica at the University for Peace. The renowned systems thinker Dr. Fritjof Capra, a new member of the Earth Charter International Council, co-facilitated the programme during which he synthesized core thinking and ideas from his latest book “The Systems View of Life”. This experience, held from 23 – 27 March 2015, married his research and thought on systems with the vision of the Earth Charter, which Dr. Capra finds to be an important articulation of values for sustainable development.
“To be effective, world leaders need a moral compass to point them in the direction of sustainability, the Earth Charter is such compass.” Dr. Capra explained. He led participants through his thinking on the web of life, physics, ecology and systems among others. Dr. Capra circled his thought back to the leadership qualities necessary to confront the sustainability challenges of the 21st Century. “Earth Leaders are not necessarily in the top of the hierarchies, they could be teachers, farmers, workers, engineers, but what they need is an understanding of ecological principles, systems thinking and the Earth Charter.”
ECI Director Mirian Vilela co-facilitated the week programme and brought the Earth Charter and sustainability ethics to it, as well as fundamental elements of the pedagogy used. She brought in her decades of experience as a leader in the Earth Charter movement and her knowledge of applied ethics for decision making.
The participants had the following to say about their experiences in the programme:
“It was tremendously inspiring. It gave me new perspectives on how to activate systems to create significant change.”
“I’ve enjoyed the course, especially getting to work with Mirian and Dr. Capra in a small group setting, as well as meet people from all over Latin America and work with them, to understand cultural differences, and see how we might use systems thinking.”
“The best part of the course is the integration with people from other parts of the world, being able to learn from them and understand the challenges they face in their communities. And also hearing Dr. Capra talk in a more philosophical way and how we can think about these challenges in an integrated way.”
“I really enjoyed it and it had a significant impact for me. The course allowed me to reconnect a lot of fragmented thoughts and issues.”
“The course was very interesting and helpful for me to see how I can use the systemic vision of the world that I’ve always believed in.”
“We learned a lot of important things, especially for us lawyers, such as knowing a new ethical and juridical vision about our planet. And we saw that the Earth Charter principles should infuse law, justice, and law schools.”
Plans are underway to offer the same programme in early 2016.