It was a rainy afternoon in Taipei on 4 June, but that didn’t stop members of Earth Charter Taiwan (ECT) and five legislators from meeting in front of the Parliament to endorse the Earth Charter. This was one of the activities that ECT organized during the first week of June, taking advantage of the visit by Brendan Mackey, EC International Council member from Australia and Alicia Jiménez, EC International Secretariat staff member, from Costa Rica.
Earth Charter Taiwan is a network of individuals from different organizations who have decided to join forces to raise awareness in Taiwanese society about the importance of moving towards sustainable lifestyles, and found the Earth Charter as an appropriate means to achieve this (find here the list of members). As one of their first activities, they decided to reach out to all legislators and seek their support in promoting sustainable development, by endorsing the Earth Charter. Legislators are in a wonderful position to influence development policies, promote changes in government institutions and convey the notions of sustainability to the public eye. At this event, five out of 113 legislators endorsed the Earth Charter, but, the event caught the attention of local media. Therefore, other legislators got interested in learning about and endorsing the Earth Charter. Find here an article from a local newspaper reporting on this event.
After this activity, ECT organized a dinner reception at the Fortress Cafe in Taipei, to officially launch the start of future activities to promote the Charter.
5 and 6 June, TESA (Taiwan Ecological Stewardship Association) and Earth Charter Taiwan organized two conferences that reached out to a more academic audience. The first conference, “Earth Charter and Local Action”,was held at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei. Many local organizations talked about their actions in environmental protection, aboriginal rights, animals’ rights, education, risks of electromagnetic radiation and other perinent issues. At the end, the attendees discussed the prospects of promoting the Earth Charter in Taiwan.
The second conference was held at the National Dong-Hwa University, in Hwa-Lian. The speakers and audience discussed the interactions between humans and the natural environment, current global challenges such as global warming, local issues, and the characteristics of education processes for the improved promotion of environmental ethics in society. Prof. H.B. King, renowned ecologist of Taiwan and Nancy Tzu-Mei from TESA, chaired the sessions. Faculty members from the Chinese Literature Dept of this University, one of the co-hosts, also participated. They presented their writing about nature, and explained how these works are promoting ethics of care for the environment in Taiwan’s younger generations.
The following days, after a relaxing visit to Taroko National Park, ECT organized several meetings between local NGOs and Alicia Jiménez from ECI Secretariat, these included:
– Meeting with the Executive Director and Legal Adviser of Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard Protection and Control Association (TEPCA), and villagers of Chi Gu Yen-Cheng, Tainan, to discuss the problem of electromagnetic radiation.
– Meeting with Tainan Community University professors.
– Presentation of Earth Charter to the board of YMCA Taiwan
– Meeting with National Association for the Promotion of Community Universities, Taiwan Trails Association and faculty members of Yungho Community University, Taipei.
Earth Charter Taiwan is trying to find ways to bring the Earth Charter to educational processes in schools, and to have it included as part of the curricula of Community Universities. They are also interested in finding ways to increase civil society participation in policy-making processes, with the aim to include the Earth Charter principles in development policies.