On November 17th, Earth Charter International was joined by Nigel Dower, a senior academic specializing in the ethics and philosophy of development, environment, and international relations, and by Prue Taylor, an expert in environmental law and ethics for the last webinar of ECI’s EC+15 celebrations. The webinar was titled “The Way Forward: Earth Community and Global Citizenship”. This webinar finished a very important year for sustainable development and international relations. 2015 saw the agreement to the Sustainable Development Goals, strong ethical statements including the Pope’s Encyclical, and the webinar was aired only days before the beginning of the Paris COP21 Climate talks.
Nigel Dower focused his segment on global citizenship and broke down the concept and discussed the way people construct global identities and to what degree these are deep or shallow. He discussed the different ways one can be a member of a community including moral, legal, and political associations, among others. He continued on to talk about global ethics and relate that to the Earth Charter. He praised the value of the Earth Charter as a valid expression of global ethics and mentioned several of its core values that support that global ethic within the framework of the climate negotiations including valuing non-human life, the importance of sustainable livelihoods, and the vision of living fully.
Prue Taylor’s discussion began with her thoughts on the Earth Charter and then moved into a related discussion on the idea of the commons and its power to help shape changing worldviews and international policy discourse. She continued to explore the importance of the commons concept and link it to the values found in the Earth Charter. She continued on to speak about how these values are playing out at the international policy level in relation to the climate change talks and she also mentioned the importance of the emerging ethical statements by religious leaders and movements. Prue finished with a short summary of findings from a recent IUCN publication that she worked on titled “Ethics and Climate Change: A Study of National Commitments” and explained how morally weak most of these commitments are. She urged individuals to take a stronger moral stand and analyze ethically the implications of governments’ decisions regarding issues such as climate change.
The question and answer that followed was engaged and interesting.
ECI is very thankful to both Nigel and Prue as well as all the other speakers and participants throughout the year who have made EC+15 a special year in celebrating the emerging paradigm of which the Earth Charter and the Earth Charter movement are a part.
You can see the replay here and download the speakers’ presentations as PDFs below.