From April 13-17, the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development offered its first programme for sustainability communicators. The programme, called “Communicating Effectively and Powerfully on Sustainability: The Earth Charter, Theater Training, and Storytelling” was co-facilitated by Jesai Jayhmes, an actor and communications coach, and Douglas F. Williamson, also an actor and communicator and on staff at Earth Charter International.
The programme was attended by eight participants from six countries, making the diversity very enriching and exciting. The diversity of participants was handled expertly by the facilitators, who, as usual for Earth Charter Center courses, steered the interactions towards fostering a sense of community and familiarity.
The programme integrated the Earth Charter and sustainability thought with communications tools and techniques from the theater and storytelling traditions. The focus on storytelling elicited the core concerns of the participants about their respective challenges in communicating about sustainability issues. It was, at times, very intimate and also endearing to hear the personal motivations and stories of the participants. These personal connections to the issues in the form of stories are essential for creating powerful and effective communication.
The final day of the programme consisted of staging a performance of a theater production written by and performed by the participants. It was both fun and carried a strong message about the competing interests of development and individual motivations and the opposed vision of the community of life and the need to preserve its integrity.