Austria Archives - Earth Charter

High school student represents the Earth Charter at a Model UN Conference

Guest post by Benjamin Haertel

My name is Benjamin Haertel. I’m 17 years old and attend the Riverside School in Prague. I’ve always been interested in the Model United Nations (MUN). For my second year in the club at school I was assigned to represent the Earth Charter Initiative for the Webster MUN in Vienna. I originally was going to be the delegate of Iran, but my supervisor, Mr. Hart, asked me if I would be willing to represent the Earth Charter instead. Before being asked to represent the Earth Charter at the Webster MUN (WebMUN), I didn’t know anything about it. Through my research before the conference, however, I was able to fully appreciate the amount of thought and effort put into the existence and ideology of the document and the organization.

Representing the Earth Charter at the WebMUN offered me a wonderful learning opportunity because the principles of the Earth Charter Initiative are fully relevant to the topic of the WebMUN: the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and combatting climate change. From the start of the conference, I strived to push for the Earth Charter’s Principles to be taken into full consideration by the delegates of other countries, especially on issues regarding renewable energy, energy efficiency, and humane standards of living.

It is my belief that at first the other delegates saw the Earth Charter as another environmental initiative organization with an obsession for protecting panda bears, so to speak. Throughout the rest of the conference, after initial encouraging speeches pushing for alternate energy solutions, I tried to best represent the Earth Charter as not only providing solutions to global energy issues but also to social issues such as poverty. I consistently stressed the multiple issues tied in to the problem of the energy crisis and the importance of goals such as the MDGs.

While I attempted to give others insight into the work of the Earth Charter Initiative, I also gained some insight on the Earth Charter myself, and was able to use its principles to improve my own personal global perspective. Representing the Earth Charter helped me to see the connections between the global issues that our world faces today, and why a collective response is needed to solve them.

Overall, I am very grateful for the chance to represent the Earth Charter. It gave me a unique opportunity to not only learn more about the Earth Charter and its principles but also to use those principles to improve and mature my own views.

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Mr. Haertel heard about the opportunity through the UNESCO Club Vienna and also had the opportunity to consult with an Earth Charter International staff member during his research into representing the Earth Charter. Earth Charter International is grateful to UNESCO Club Vienna for making this learning opportunity for Mr. Haertel possible, and through his diligence in representing the Earth Charter, many other young people learned about it at the Webster Model United Nations.

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Video interview with e-GLO2 participant, Jessica White

In 2009, Jessica White participated in the Earth Charter Global Learning Opportunity, an online, semester-long course empowering an international class of participants to use the Earth Charter for local action, teaching sustainable development, communications tools, and fundraising methods. In this short interview, captured in Klagenfurt, Austria in September 2011 at the GloCha Global Music Song Contest workshop, Jessica shares some thoughts on her e-GLO experience and how the course and the Earth Charter have influenced her work.

Watch the video:
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ECI helps organize and launch Global Youth Music Contest

 

From September 12-16th, 2011 representatives from Earth Charter International participated in a workshop to create a youth music contest for Rio +20. It was organized by the International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges (IAAI) and was held at the Maria Loretta Palace in Klagenfurt, Austria.

The workshop brought together more than thirty youth coordinators and activists from around the world to collaborate on the creation and launch of the Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest. The Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest is a global competition that was inspired by 20th anniversary of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (Rio+20 Earth Summit) to be held in June 2012 in Brazil. The purpose of this contest is to inspire youth to voice their hopes and dreams about the future of our planet earth through the artistic expression of music. The contest will collect musical messages (in the form of short music video recordings) from global youth on exploring solutions for sustainable development. The winners from each category (Youth aged 15-30 and Children aged 8-14) will win a trip to Rio de Janeiro to attend the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June 2012.

The Earth Charter International Secretariat is supporting IAAI Global Challenges by disseminating information about the Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest, and inviting all those youth people interested to enter the contest.

                                  

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Earth Charter youth network wants to expand in Europe!

An example of an European Earth Charter effort:


In March 2011 the Earth Charter International along with the Earth Charter Youth Team organizes a one-day online conference to inform the European youth organizations and individual activists on the Earth Charter and its usefulness as an educational instrument when building a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.

So far some 100 organizations have joined the Earth Charter youth network from Europe and Central Asia. In addition, there are 16 official Earth Charter Youth and Student Groups (ECYG) in 16 European and Central Asian countries.

ECYGs are action-oriented societies, networks, or organizations that bring alive the vision of the Earth Charter in the local and/or national communities. The youth study the declaration, get inspired by it and then organize small action projects on sustainability.

Youth in Europe promote the Earth Charter by

  • organizing events where they present the declaration
  • translating the document
  • informing other organizations on it
  • training people on sustainable development and ways of living.

National Earth Charter Websites in Europe and CA:

Finland | Germany | Greece | Italy | Latvia Norway | Russia |

From the related articles below, one can see some examples of the European Earth Charter youth activism.

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INEX and the Earth Charter – a new partnership

The Earth Charter Volunteers Network is bringing about very positive results! An example is the fruitful partnership that the Earth Charter Secretariat is starting with an Austrian-based NGO called INEX (International Network of Educational Exchange).

 

INEX offers summer university programs to several European universities; one of the programs is a short course on Sustainable Development for Master’s students of different disciplines, which takes place in Costa Rica. This year, it brought in 19 students from Austria, Finland, Germany, Rumania and Spain. The general aim of the summer programs is “to prepare leaders of tomorrow for the challenges of a globalized world”.

Philipp Schoeffmann, Program Manager of INEX, joined our volunteers’ network early this year. While he was thinking about how to collaborate with the Earth Charter Initiative, he proposed that the research component of the summer course on sustainable development focused on an aspect relevant to the Earth Charter.

 

Following this idea, we proposed that the students undertook an assessment that compared the level of commitment and level of action of different stakeholders of the tourism sector, towards practicing ethical principles for sustainability. They used the EC-Assess tool for conducting this research, which focused on a very touristic area of the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica (Quepos and Manuel Antonio).

 

The EC-Assess allowed the students to identify, for each of the stakeholders, which principles of the Earth Charter presented more promising opportunities to bring about change towards sustainability in Quepos and Manuel Antonio. The students identified different workable solutions that could be implemented by the stakeholders in areas such as wetlands and national park management, solid waste management, transportation, environmental education and community consciousness, water resources management, and industrial and commercial social responsibility.

 

In preparation to conduct the research, on 12 July 2008 the Earth Charter Secretariat offered a workshop where the students not only learned about how to use EC-Assess, but also learned about the Earth Charter Initiative, the activities that our Affiliates and Partners are doing around the world, and, also had a very interesting and long discussion about ethics and sustainability.

 

After they conducted their research, the students presented their results in a Conference that was held at the University for Peace campus, on 23 July. A panel with several recognized personalities in the sustainable development field in Costa Rica heard and commented the presentations of the students. Among the panelists was Lorena San Roman, who was the Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Earth Council, and now is Vice Rector of the University of International Cooperation (UCI). Mirian Vilela, Director of Earth Charter Secretariat also participated in this panel, as well as Milton Clarke, who has been professor in different universities around the world, and Mike Bresnan, eco-tourism entrepreneur and environmental activist.

 

We hope that the experiences lived with this course in Costa Rica will help the students to become leaders in bringing the notions of sustainability in their future work place. And, we welcome INEX as a new partner that will for sure stir many actions with the Earth Charter in Austria.

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