The rector of the University of León (ULE), Jose Angel Hermida, officially endorsed the Earth Charter on October 16, 2015 on behalf of this University. According to the Rector, this endorsement is part of the institution’s commitment to position ULE “at the forefront of global change”.
The Rector noted, after signing the endorsement, “We will share with the Rectors of Spanish universities, that are part of the Rectors’ Conference (CRUE), the importance of endorsing and committing to the Earth Charter”.
In the event, held at the Sala Gordon Ordaz of El Albéitar, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, President of the Culture of Peace Foundation, Maria Novo, head of the UNESCO Chair on Environmental Education and Sustainable Development of UNED, and Pepa Carrillo, President of Values Foundation acted as witnesses.
The Rector recalled that the University of Leon has a Green Office that promotes sustainability, although he pointed out that increased awareness is still needed from the education sector, which in his opinion is the key source from which the University must act.
A new beginning
Mayor Zaragoza, insisted that universities are placed at the forefront of changes that are occurring rapidly worldwide, and therefore it is a time for “a new beginning”.
Mayor also noted that one of the best possible ethical frameworks – the Earth Charter- is available, but “we have not used it as much as we should have” and in the future “it may be too late to put it in practice,” since there are irreversible processes that could lead to situations of no return that could prevent the habitability of the Earth. Therefore, he advocated that this document should become “a benchmark in education” to help people learn the importance of “being more, not having more,” he said.
In her address, Professor of Environmental Education and Sustainable Development María Novo showed that this endorsement implies an adherence to a commitment that can help change “the way we teach and educate the whole fabric of knowledge”, as it is a commitment that “calls all human beings to a paradigm shift which is a change in our worldview” to stop seeing each other “as dominators but see ourselves as part of nature.”
Finally, the President of Values Foundation, Pepa Carrillo, who also participated in this event, offered her thoughts. She said that it is “an opportunity” to work for a better world “from the wealthy neighborhood of the Earth, when 80 percent of the people live in the poor neighborhood”. For this, she said, we have an ethical framework that encompasses the rights of the planet in a process that is “open to all human beings”.
Thousands of endorsements
The Earth Charter is an inspirational document that seeks to inspire in all peoples a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the welfare of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations.
So far more than 6,000 organizations have given their explicit support and commitment to the Earth Charter, with many direct personal endorsements, forming a global support network of millions of people.
The Earth Charter is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year and to celebrate this event Values Foundation and the University of Leon organized the Forum “Pale Blue Dot”, which took place on the 16th, 23rd, 24th, and 25th of October. The ULE endorsement took place in the framework of this event.