Australia Archives - Page 3 of 3 - Earth Charter

EC events planned at the Parliament of Religions in Melbourne, Australia

The Earth Charter Task Force on Religion, Spirituality, and Ethics will be organizing several events at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne (from 3 to 9 December 2009) – the largest multi-faith gathering of religious and spiritual leaders in world history, attracting from 8,000 to 10,000 guests from 80 countries.

Held once every five years in a different city, the Parliament of the World’s Religions attracts thousands of leaders and members from spiritual and religious communities around the globe to engage in discussions, debate and presentations. This year’s theme will be “Hearing each Other, Healing the Earth”.

The Parliament aims to provide a platform for sharing hopes, dreams, and achievements in protecting, sustaining and repairing the earth. The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale led by Mary Evelyn Tucker has been asked to assist in developing the specific program section that will focus on religious engagement on environmental matters.

Several Earth Charter Council Members and Commissioners plan to participate in the event, including Mary Evelyn Tucker, Rick Clugston, Brendan Mackey, A.T. Ariyaratne and Rabbi Soetendorp, as well as supporting staff of the Earth Charter Task Force on Religion from the Soetendorp’s Institute Michael Slaby. Together they will be organizing a panel on the Earth Charter as a global ethics for a sustainable future, and another one that will showcase religious responses to the Earth Charter.

More information on these Earth Charter sessions will be posted here soon.
You can find more information about EC work in the field of religion and spirituality by clicking here

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Brink Expedition Carries the Earth Charter Around the World

The principles of the Earth Charter are taking a 50,000 kilometer journey up, down, and around the world along with Kendon Glass and the members of the Brink Expedition, who are attempting to use only human power and the natural elements for their travels.


Kendon’s current position on the globe is in Lijian, China, and he has visited schools and every kind of community to teach about the Charter, from the heart of Amazonian South America across the Atlantic through Europe and the Middle East, into South Asia, and uphill into Tibet, Autonomous Region of China . The final destination is the teams home in Australia.


The Brink Innovative Education project teaches awareness, respect for the natural environment, and the students’ essential roles as active global citizens. And with the aid of modern technology, the Expedition’s adventures are shared with Australian schools through LIVE satellite link ups, regular on-line journals, and a web-based curriculum tailored to this global traverse.


“I was really excited the first time we called the Brink Team on their satellite phone. I couldnt believe that we were talking to them while they were in the Amazon Jungle,” said Brigette, age ten.


Using the Earth Charter as a framework for curriculum modules, and integrating technology and adventure into a real-life context, the Brink Innovative Education project is delivering progressive education that excites and inspires young imaginations, and acting as a platform for further investigation and learning.


Another child, Rebecca, age nine, said, “The Brink Expedition Team is traveling without using fossil fuels, so we had to make a support vehicle for them that would use a fuel that was safe for the environment. I made a model of a solar-powered bus to help carry all their supplies. I cant believe that they carry everything with them on their bikes!”


The Expedition is the spirit of the Earth Charter in action around the world. When the Brink Expedition Team visits a community, it communicates the messages of the Earth Charter and spends time in schools to discuss the Earth Charter and the Brink chosen Hotspots. All schools registering with the Brink School Room receive a school pack, containing the Earth Charter, a childrens’ adaptation of the Earth Charter, and the UNESCO CD Rom “Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future,” as well as other Brink Expedition materials.


Kendon Glass is a young Australian adventurer and media professional. In all, his journey will span over thirty countries and fulfill his quest to highlight a range of social and environmental issues–the Hotspots. Kendon is combining his love for travel and adventure with his instructional technology skills to produce an interactive website that tracks the story of the journey.


Kendon discovered the Earth Charter while developing a curriculum that would give schools an opportunity to share the adventure. He was joined in 2002 by Louise Erbacher, who also joined the local Queensland Earth Charter Committee (QEEC) that year, and by his little brother Ben Glass. They created the Brink Expedition to capture the hearts and minds of educators and students, and promote the knowledge, values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life (Earth Charter Principle 14).


The Brink Expedition ( ) has since proven itself to be a powerfully inspirational model for learning.

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Australia: Environmental Regulators, Managers Learn About Earth Charter

When John Goldsmith, a natural resources professional based in Perth, Australia, realized that few of his colleagues knew about the Earth Charter, he decided to introduce it at an annual gathering that brought his whole network together, which has since been turned into a resource document on “The Earth Charter and Natural Resource Management in Australia” [Download file, PDF 140 KB].


Introduction: Australian Environmental Protection


In Australia, Natural Resource Management (NRM) is being supported by major national programs including the $3 billion Natural Heritage Trust and the $1.4 billion National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality. These programs represent the biggest financial commitment to environmental action in Australia‘s history. Together they are playing an important role in protecting and enhancing Australia‘s unique biodiversity, the viability of rural and regional communities and the future of agricultural industries.


The implementation of these programs is supported through 56 NRM regions, which cover the entire Australian continent. All of the 56 NRM regions are progressively developing strategies and investment plans.


The National NRM Facilitators network provides key services to the Australian Government and regional NRM organisations. The network comprises more than 100 key sustainability and environmental professionals. The network has met on a national basis about twice a year since 2003.


Raising Awareness of the Earth Charter


My role is as Strategic Regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) Facilitator, based in Perth, Western Australia for the Swan Catchment Council.


I was surprised at the apparent low level of awareness within the national NRM network regarding the Earth Charter. So I hosted an Earth Charter briefing session and discussion at our national NRM facilitators forum in 2005. This led to the Earth Charter being introduced to the National NRM Network, and the inclusion of the briefing paper in the forum proceedings. I feel this is just a first step in bringing the Earth Charter to fellow NRM facilitators.


The National NRM Facilitators Forum, October 2005, Melbourne, Australia. © Australian Government 2005.


Above right: John Goldsmith, and the Swan Region Strategy for Natural Resource Management (Western Australia). © Swan Catchment Council

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Christian Brother Encourages Adoption, Teaching of Earth Charter – Australia

Australian Christian Brother Moy Hitchen tells the Catholic News Service that he encourages adoption and teaching of the principles of the Earth Charter by the Christian Brothers, because it offers “guidelines for stewardship of the earth.” Advocacy for environmental justice has taken Brother Moy, who blogs his Eco-Journeys at the web site of Edmund Rice International. into some of the globe’s most economically and ecologically challenged communities.


“In a sprawling slum in Nairobi, Kenya,” reports the CNS, “he was struck by the contrast between environmental disaster — a “filthy black river (of) industrial waste, human sewage and plastic bags full of household garbage” — and vestiges of the natural world that were struggling to survive.”


“I saw five species of birds from the local area and 12 species of plants in that slum, hanging on by their claws and by the tips of their roots,” he said. “If the people in the slum don’t deserve a decent environment, who does? The slum will only be rehabilitated when the earth is back, when the river is clean and the trees are growing.”



Brother Moy visits Christian Brothers around the world explaining the connections between ecology, spirituality, and social justice. “The great spiritual traditions are in partnership with the earth,” he says. “And the Congress of Consecrated Life in Rome in 2004 had 16 recommendations, one of which was to maintain a triple dialogue — dialogue with the poor, dialogue with the world religions and dialogue with the earth…”


Read more: Catholic News Service, “‘Love your local ecosystem,’ Christian Brother tells others,” by Barbara J. Fraser, 02 Jan 2007.

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Key Gatherings for the Charter – Australia

Good news comes from Australia, where the Queensland State Government has announced that it will formally integrate the Earth Charter into its education curriculum. The decision was announced publicly by State Premier (Governor) Beatty, and was reported on ABC News, the national radio broadcaster.


The announcement was one of the outcomes from an outstanding conference called The Earth Dialogues 2006, organised by Green Cross International in partnership with the State Government of Queensland Australia and the Brisbane City Council, among other sponsors. An impressive array of speakers from around the world analysed the critical issues of our time regarding environment, development and security.


President Gorbachev, in his role as Chair of Green Cross International, gave a stirring keynote address. Alexander Likhotal, President of GCI and member of the Earth Charter International Council, played a key role in the conference and gave a remarkable plenary address on the current state of the global environment and prospects for the coming decades.


The Earth Charter initiative was well represented at the event, with Council Co-Chair Erna Witoelar and Council Member Brendan Mackey in attendance. Erna Witoelar made contributions in her role as UN Special Ambassador for the Millennium Development Goals in the Asia-Pacific region. In her plenary address, she compared the civil society process that generated the Earth Charter with the intergovernmental processes that gave birth to the MDGs, and pointed to the need to bring these two dimensions and approaches together.


Brendan Mackey was involved in the “Energy and Climate” stream, and in his presentation used the Earth Charter to highlight the ethical dimensions of the challenges we face in dealing with the greenhouse problem. Professor Mackey was interviewed on CNN as a result of his remarks to the conference. Earth Charter Australia also had a strong presence in the event. Noel Preston spoke eloquently of the need for ecojustice and the links with the Earth Charter. Clem Campbell and Louise Erbacher, along with other local supporters, organised an Earth Charter stand that was a major point of interest during the event.


A major outcome of the Earth Dialogues was recommendations for a Plan of Action, endorsed by the participants, which will soon be available on the GCI web site. The preamble warrants noting:


“We, the participants of Earth Dialogues Brisbane, recognize that our environmental security and development challenges are interdependent. There can be no sustainable peace while the majority of the world’s population lives in poverty. There can be no sustainable peace if we fail to rise to the global challenge presented by climate change. There can be no sustainable peace while military spending takes precedence over human development.”


Immediately following the Earth Dialogues was an Education Day involving 500 school children from across Queensland. Louise Erbacher was also involved in helping to organise this event. President Gorbachev and the Premier of Queensland Peter Beattie gave keynote addresses. During his speech, Premier Beattie announced that the Queensland Government has committed to incorporating the Earth Charter into the State’s official education curriculum. This is a significant development for the Earth Charter in Australia.


Key speakers from the Dialogues also participated in the education Day, including Nobel Peace Laureate Betty Williams. Brendan Mackey gave a presentation on the Earth Charter, and introduced a satellite linkup with the Brink Expedition (Louise and the Brink Expedition had received an Earth Charter award at last November’s Earth Charter+5 conference).


Other essential conferences have also taken place recently. Brendan Mackey reports that he attended the 2006 meeting of the Global Ecological Integrity Group (GEIG) in Samos, Greece. This year’s conference used the Earth Charter as a focal point for addressing the interconnections between the themes of global governance, ecological integrity, health and justice. The proceedings from the 2005 meeting, which also featured the Earth Charter, are currently in preparation as a book. This year’s proceedings will also be published.


GEIG 2007 will be held in Halifax in partnership with Dalhousie University, and Council member Elizabeth May will attend and give a keynote address. A proposal has circulated already to approach Halifax city with the idea of endorsing the Earth Charter as part of the event.

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