On Thursday, July 12th, 2012, Earth Charter International led an Earth Charter Kids workshop at the Inglaterra School outside of San José. More than thirty young Costa Ricans, from 5 to 16 years old, participated and the workshop took place in the school’s beautifully decorated gymnasium. This workshop was part of a series of workshops organized by the local Catholic Church and youth volunteer Steven Guerrero, while many primary school-aged children were on vacation. For a whole week, the members of the community, regardless of age, were invited to attend inspiring workshops on various topics, such as alternative conflict resolution, healthy nutrition, and sustainable ways of visioning for a more sustainable world using the Earth Charter.
The workshop caught the children’s attention by relating the Earth Charter principles to what they had to deal with in their community: the lack of libraries, of recycling facilities, appropriate playgrounds, resources, etc. The participants were then asked to think about the great challenges that our planet and humanity are facing, such as climate change, deforestation, air and water pollution and poor waste management. By playing “the spider game”, they realized how interconnected and interrelated global issues are. The young participants even cleverly analyzed how discrimination can lead to violence, or how preventing water pollution is essential to preserving biodiversity.
Finally, the children were divided into four groups and asked to visualize and then draw what the world could look like based on the Earth Charter principle they were assigned—I. Be Kind to Each Other, to the Animals and the Plants, II. Take Good Care of the Environment, III. We are all Equal, IV. Say Yes to Peace and No to Violence. They were very proud to present their work and explain to the group what the principles meant to them. At the end of the workshop, each participant received “an adaptation for children of the Earth Charter” poster.
This workshop fostered a lot of participation from community members. This serves as a reminder that giving voice to tomorrow’s leaders at a local level is equally, if not more, important as influencing decision makers on national and international levels. The Earth Charter youth network plans to continue its collaboration with Steven and other motivated Costa Rican youth in the months to come, and hopefully the Earth Charter can continue to be integrated into all sectors of society as the ethical framework for sustainable development.
The Earth Charter youth network is a diverse, interactive global network representing over 50 countries from around the world. Find more information about how to get involved here.