The Earth Charter Affiliate in Switzerland Christa Schmidmeister was the initiator and organiser of two Earth Charter-related events in Switzerland this autumn. Her initiative helped introduce the Earth Charter values to various groups of the Swiss public.
The activities started with one of the most prestigious public event in Switzerland, Lifefair 2009- the national futuristic Fair which serves as a platform for public discourse on three main topics: Economy, Environment and Society and promoting sustainability and “green” (sustainable) in the country. The Lifefair took place on September 4-6 in Zurich. www.lifefair.ch 135 participants from all over Switzerland presented their stands, booths and exhibitions demonstrating their views on sustainable lifestyles.
One of these stands was organized by the Earth Charter Switzerland: five panels of the exhibition “Seeds of Change” produced by the Earth Charter International and Soka Gakkai (first demonstrated at the World Summit in Johannesburg in 2002), and a big wooden roundtable for spontaneous discussions and improvised meetings.
Many motivated young people volunteered to distribute new Earth Charter printed handouts, talking to the visitors, sharing their own commitment to the Earth Charter values and presenting the Charter as a good framework for a sustainable lifestyle. Some of the volunteers were carrying out improvised polls among the visitors to get an idea of the way the general public sensitizes Charter’s ethics.
Voices of visitors:
“It was a wonderful experience as well as a big challenge to make people aware of the Earth Charter founded on Respect and Responsibility” (Melanie)
“Being a member of Soka Gakkai Switzerland I was very proud to represent the Earth Charter Initiative with a small information board at this year’s Lifefair event. The opportunity to have personal conversations with visitors and to discuss the value of life, the environment and infinite possibilities for protection and preservation made many to reflect over their own actions and inspired them to assume responsibility. … I am convinced that we can achieve a lot by making small changes in our behaviour and we can generate in all people the gratitude to life in all its diversity of forms and colours.” (Adriano Piccione)
SGI Switzerland was a great supporter and committed to sponsor participation of the Earth Charter Switzerland in the third Lifefair in 2010.
The Lifefair in Zurich was followed by an event at the “Dialogue between Cultures” organised by the House of Religions in Bern on September 12, 2009 (Schwarztorstr.102, 3007 Bern, http://www.haus-der-religionen.ch ).
The multicultural project of the House of Religions provides an open platform for representatives of different nationalities and religious communities to come together and exchange ideas and life experiences. It is widely used by many cultural religious communities of Bern and surrounding areas which previously did not have suitable premises for their meetings. The House of Religions promotes understanding of the religious and cultural history of Switzerland by providing opportunities for exchange and education and hopes to reach beyond the region of Bern and make its services available to a wider population of the country.
On September 12 the Earth Carter Switzerland took part in a festival in Bern dedicated to the theme “Diversity” and organised by the House of Religions. More than 250 families with children and guests came to celebrate diversity on his day.
Earth Charter Switzerland organised a side event in the adjoining building, emphasizing the ethical background of the festival and connecting its theme to the current global situation, in which inventive and comprehensive sustainable development is so desperately needed. Earth Charter’s presentation started with the exhibition “Seeds of Change” translated into the German language.
The exhibition was followed by the children activities: “I paint for the Earth!” and “Our wishes should come true!” The famous Ron Fricke film “Baraka” was followed by the presentation of Christa Smidmeister “What is the Earth Charter” and the subsequent interactive discussion.
The participants of this festival also attended the workshop on Electrobiology as one of the new technologies for a sustainable production, two Earth Charter-related films, Seeds of Change and What a Wonderful World, a short general presentation of the Earth Charter Switzerland and the official closing ceremony by the House management.
For more information please visit http://www.erdcharta.ch or contact [email protected]