What better place to share values and stories than at a festival? During the Summer of 2016, the Earth Charter Cities team partnered with Summerlabb, a traveling festival bringing together art, music, research institutes, polytechnic universities and sustainability companies. The festival explored our use of energy, water, light, architecture and food, and showcased inspiring innovations and solutions for communities driven to become more sustainable. Hundreds of children, adults, business professionals and music lovers from all over Holland gathered together to celebrate and learn. Surrounded by music, culture and art, participants explored sustainable innovations and their stories in Rotterdam, Groningen and several other cities in the Netherlands.
Earth Charter Cities is a collaborative movement that brings together passionate amateurs, experts, and organizations from across the world to inspire improvements in principle areas of the Earth Charter and the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto. This manifesto is a call to action developed by Gerben van Straaten of World of Walas to help communities realize the Earth Charter vision. After an almost two-year drafting process with key stakeholders of the Earth Charter, the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto was launched in The Hague in 2010.
Guided by the Earth Charter, Earth Charter Cities shared with festival goers on the importance of bringing ethics back into our lives and understanding the value and importance of sustainability. They encouraged visitors to tell their stories of connection to nature and our Earth, and were inspired by the story of the West Coast First Nations peoples who impart indigenous teachings for a more sustainable way of life in Canada. Artist James Jetlag translated the story of Earth Charter Cities into a beautiful work of art, one oil drum to represent each chapter of the Earth Charter/Earth Charter Cities Manifesto.
At Summerlabb, Earth Charter Cities raised awareness of the Earth Charter and promoted the understanding of its inclusive ethical vision through starting conversations about ethics with curious visitors and passersby. They invited others to heed the call to action to transition to sustainable ways of living on the planet and to envision future cities taking care of mother Earth and the community of life. They asked, beyond technical innovations, what are economic and social-cultural aspects of this transition? They shared the Earth Charter as a tool, an ethical guideline, for our daily and professional lives.
For more information on Gerben van Straaten and the story of the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto, please go to www.earthchartercities.org. For more information on Summerlabb, visit http://summerlabb.nl/.
Author: Nadine Huids, Earth Charter Young Leader
Nadine studied Built Environment and Architecture with a focus in cities and cultural heritage. During her studies she learned a lot about technical innovations and sustainability to redevelop industrial buildings. Taught and inspired by Gerben van Straaten, Walas Concepts CEO, she learned how to create truly healthy, inclusive, and sustainable communities. She believes in the need to enhance economic, social, and cultural values within urban settings. Driven by the Earth Charter and the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto, Nadine works in the Netherlands as a Program Manager with the Walas team to develop vital and lively places for people to live.
Editor: Josephine Schrott, Earth Charter Young Leader