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My experience with the Earth Charter

14. Integrate into formal education and life-long learning the knowledge, values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life.
a. Provide all, especially children and youth, with educational opportunities that empower them to contribute actively to sustainable development.
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Thank you Jay van Amstel from Ambiente em Movimento Institute for sharing your story with the Earth Charter!
 

I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1986 and I spent my childhood in the most famous forest in Rio, the Tijuca Forest. My history with Earth Charter is longstanding, ever since I was a pre-teen. I used to make some money typing projects for a NGO in Curitiba. They were managing the only Biological Reserve in the city at that time, Cambuí Reserve. They usually wrote projects to receive children in their reserve and my task was to type and print these projects. They always mentioned that “this project advocates the Earth Charter”. And even one time I had to type the whole Earth Charter. I did not understand many things that time, but I could notice that it dealt with important points and proposed a new way for humanity´s development. This was my first experience with the document, and I did not know that it would influence all my individual and professional future life.

At school I met again with this Charter in Geography class, but how they approached the matter was not the best way to attract a child; furthermore some lacks in Brazilian Education made it difficult to understand more than a few words and concepts. At that time my biggest desire was to play soccer like Ronaldinho, the star. In my country when we are 17 years old we have to choose our future academic study and profession so early, but luckily I saw my whole background buttressing my choice of Agronomy at a local federal University. I used to attend ecological groups and develop many different tasks in Agroforestry and Organic Farming. Finally now I was face-a-face with the Earth Charter’s diffusers.

Through all this academic work, along with 10 more friends, we founded an NGO focused on Environmental Education Activities, the Environment in Movement Institute . Now in our projects we too are declaring: “this project advocates the Earth Charter”. If we can plant the seed of ecological and social justice in children’s hearts in an effective way, according to their language, this can influence them more than we might even imagine, even as to what they will become in an early future. They will naturally follow the Earth Charter and practice it. We believe that a good positive environmental experience through a simple game, theater play, forest walks and nature observation trips, caring for a vegetable garden or a favorite TV program, can change a child’s whole life. We know that only by education some real changes happen. Thinking in this way we reached more than 9,000 children all around Brazil (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Paraná State), and we are presenting the Earth Charter as a reference to base solutions in a such way that children understand it and apply it realistically in their own lives. Our goal in 2011 is to reach 19,000 children and give Environmental Education Courses in the African Continent also. Our thanks to those who introduced us to the Earth Charter, and let’s encourage more Multipliers of this idea to become real change makers!  

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We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future.
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