In July 2007 at UPEACE in
This course, the first of its kind, aims to train people to be highly efficient in translating the Earth Charter vision into reality and working towards the common good, in a very decentralized way. After the course, participants were expected to become volunteer “consultants” in the communities where they work and live, and to spread the word about the shared ethical principles of sustainability among the people with whom they interact.
The first step was to inspire participants with the Earth Charter vision, and this required a highly inspirational, creative, fun and participatory methodology. There was no agenda or rigid structure, because facilitators wanted all participants to be fully present in all the activities that were being held, without expectations about what was coming next. This method made some participants somewhat uneasy at the beginning, since people are used to have an agenda, but at the end of the course, many participants said that this was very positive, as they forgot to keep checking the time to see if there were any delays on the program, and instead kept their mind open to see what new ‘surprises’ were in store for them.
Surprises were an important feature of this course, which featured many videos, music performances, games, discussion, and debates, as well as moments of quietness and reflection.
The main topics of discussion — in addition to a thorough review of the Earth Charter itself and the application of its sixteen core principles to real world situations — included:
• reflecting and working with different mental models
• considering different ways of addressing problems
• getting acquainted with chaordic (from “chaos+order”) organizations to achieve massive changes
• strategies to turn the Earth Charter’s systemic vision of values and ethics for sustainability into reality
This first Earth Charter course for “multipliers” — people who can in turn spread awareness and engagement with the Earth Charter — was a success. Participants expressed that they had experienced big changes in their way of thinking about things and seeing life, and they were very enthusiastic about sharing their experience and the workshop’s message to other people. Some were even inspired to create a song about the Earth Charter vision (one of the participants being a famous Costa Rican composer and a pianist, Manuel Obregon). It was a very rewarding and inspiring experience for the participants, as well as for the facilitators who have assessed the experience and will make changes accordingly for future courses planned be held in the