Guest post by Linda Hill, Inclusive Leadership Co-operative
“The emergence of a global civil society is creating new opportunities to build a democratic and humane world. Our environmental, economic, political, social, and spiritual challenges are interconnected, and together we can forge inclusive solutions.”
(Earth Charter 2000: Preamble)
Since 2003, several thousand “Inclusive Leaders” from diverse generations, cultures, identities and other backgrounds have been introduced to the Earth Charter while participating in Inclusive Leadership events held on Southern Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. The August 22 to 25 2014 Inclusive Leadership Gathering engaged over seventy people in developing skills for connecting with diversity, communicating with compassion, standing up for inclusion, and building bridges between groups. The gathering was hosted by the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative (ILC) (www.inclusiveleadershipco-op.org), a non-profit community service association that applies the Earth Charter as a framework for building a sustainable world based on respect for the magnificent diversity in all living beings. According to the ILC, Inclusive Leadership skills are essential tools for bringing the pillars and principles of the Earth Charter to life in our families, communities and the wider world.
Throughout the four-day gathering participants chose a variety of skill-building workshops aimed at bringing ”…forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace’ (Earth Charter 2000: Preamble). On the third day, a workshop that specifically focused on the Earth Charter was offered by ecopyschologist and Earth Charter activist John Scull. John began this session with a reading from the Preamble and Way Forward and a brief powerpoint presentation on the history and background of the Earth Charter. Participants then discussed individual principles and brainstormed how we could apply these in our personal lives, in our communities, and in government actions.
Here are a few comments from participants and facilitators about this experiential education approach to building leadership skills for implementing the Earth Charter:
“The Earth Charter encourages us to ‘…honor and support the young people of our communities, enabling them to fulfill their essential role in creating sustainable societies.’ The Inclusive Leadership Gathering was a truly inter-generational event. I was grateful to work with elders as well as very young youth. I learned a lot about how I need to be more childlike in my group work as well as how to be more creative and collaborative.”
“Copies of the Earth Charter should be placed in libraries, coffee shops, and other public places. People need to know about this.”
“A concept that came alive for me was the idea of diversity bringing strength (in nature, through evolution, adaptation etc.). You can apply this concept to human society too – diversity in culture, experiences etc. can make us stronger through the development of ideas/solutions to some of our biggest challenges.”
“The workshops on non-violent, compassionate communication were incredibly helpful for ‘…promoting a culture of tolerance, non-violence and peace.’ Compassionate communication is so useful and practical and should be taught to everyone as early as possible. I know I will be using the information and skills that were taught in my life.”
“The Earth Charter is great for helping NGOs to look beyond their specific missions. Environmental groups can concern themselves with economic justice, social organizations can be more environmentally conscious, and so on.”
The Inclusive Leadership Co-operative will be organizing one or more Inclusive Leadership Gatherings in 2015. For more information about this experiential approach to Earth Charter education contact [email protected] or visit their website: www.inclusiveleadershipco-op.org