Belgium Archives - Earth Charter

Interview with new Earth Charter International Affiliate from Belgium and Germany

tuuli-sauren-affiliate-headshotInspirit Communication joins Earth Charter International at the end of 2015.

Earth Charter International is happy to announce its newest affiliate from Belgium and Germany, Inspirit Communication. The director and owner of this organization, Tuuli Sauren, gave this interview to ECI.

ECI: What is Inspirit International Communication?

A:    We are communication design agency and are growing more towards becoming an advocacy agency for those who have no voice, for example human rights and gender equality are close to our hearts. We offer Creative Leadership services for companies who need help to see the bigger picture, helping them find innovative new ways to conduct their business, and suggesting solutions. We are for profit, but a lot of what we do comes from our passion and we are not only about business and profits. We are adding social value, which can’t be measured financially.

inspirit-logo-with-icograda-alternative-2015ECI: What does it do?

A:    We offer communication design services, which are not limited to only making campaigns and other classical design related materials for our clients (websites, info-graphics, adverts, publications, animations, just to mention few). We also don’t consider that we work “for” our clients, rather that we work with them and nurture partnerships and are not seen only as suppliers. We love our clients and do almost anything it takes to get them the best possible end results and satisfaction on projects. We are thriving from using our skill set to make a significant contribution to the world by helping to communicate and taking part as an active participant on important issues. We have a special focus on social and cultural sustainability, (human rights, indigenous peoples rights, gender equality, wildlife, i.e.), as well as financial sustainability, including issues such as fair compensation for work, anti-corruption, and transparency on business polices, all of which are issues very close to our hearts.

ECI: What does the Earth Charter mean to you personally?

A:    The Earth Charter is a lifestyle. I’m not sure if other people in the EC network see it the same way. The Earth Charter unites people, in a less official way than United Nations, but I see the Earth Charter as working more at the everyday life level. Thinking about it this way, it has the potential to become a trend. Increasing sustainability should be a trend, which will grow forever. The Earth Charter represents a culture of peace and it should have its own song. It is a community with no borders.

ECI: How does the Earth Charter impact your work? Your life?

A:    The EC will further support our vision and mission, which are already well aligned with those of the Earth Charter.  I am very much looking forward to this new friendship and collaboration towards common goals. United efforts have a bigger impact and higher success rate than those coming from a small company as ours. We are eager to learn from Earth Charter International and I hope that we will be able to offer something in return that Earth Charter International doesn’t have yet.

ECI: How will INSPIRIT International Communication foster the Earth Charter vision?

A:    We want to see it adopted by many more people. We aim to help to capture the attention of the youth and get them involved in the Earth Charter lifestyle and promote its 16th principle this year. We want to communicate the principles in a language that is accessible to everybody. Same language, same vision, same mission towards one goal.

ECI: What activities are you planning using the Earth Charter? EC+16?

A:    The June 29th, 2016 Earth Charter Day is about the Earth Charter’s 16th principle. We want to explain the principle in the form of an info-graphic, which can be understood regardless of language. It will be accessible to everybody, including those with hearing impairment and those who can’t see, with a voice-over function. We want to launch this globally and share it with other Earth Charter communities and network participants.

ECI: Is there anything else you’d like to say about the Earth Charter?

A:    We are honored to have the opportunity to join the family. Earth Charter is a family without borders or restrictions based on skin color, nationality, or religion. It speaks to anybody who wants to listen.

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Guest blog from Earth Charter Youth: A letter to a friend

Guest blog from Ayla van Kessel, Earth Charter Youth, Netherlands

In anticipation of the Climate Summit COP21 taking place in Paris this December, Earth Charter youth member Ayla van Kessel travelled to Brussels. There, around 100 people passionate to contribute to climate justice met to talk about ideas for different projects. What can Earth Charter values bring to an event around climate activism and direct action? By way of this blog, Ayla reflects on her contributions to the gathering. And how she sees theories of transition and holism apply in the practice of systemic change for climate justice.

Ayla studied Economics for Transition (2013/14) at Schumacher College, international centre offering transformative learning for sustainable living. Her favourite Earth Charter phrase: It starts with one.

A letter to a friend

2 February 2015

Dear,

In the bus back home, from Brussels to Amsterdam, I take a moment to reflect on the experience we shared these past few days. All weekend, I thought I was not an activist of direct action. I think I found out I am. My direct action is the action of writing this letter to you. I have seen a change of your personality at the cost of your peace of mind, and this change concerns me. More than climate change concerns me. I decided to take a moment to write to you because to the extent you are worried for the future of our climate and humanity, I am worried for our present. 

I recall entering the space on Friday afternoon. A large concrete building, a former bus repair depot, poorly heated and with no windows. For the occasion, a mobile kitchen and gas heaters. All coated in winter gear, we meet everyone else who came to this place to discuss all of our ideas around direct activism for the next Climate Summit. You and I – we are part of a team. Yet up to now we haven’t had much chance to really check in with each other.

In one of the plenary sessions, I recall Sara crying out with a big smile on her face: “We’re probably going to be smashed!” Do you remember this as well? A special moment. A moment of group recognition that our efforts to change status quo are oh so often ignored, misinterpreted, smashed. Sara was one of the most vibrant participants this past weekend, wasn’t she? It was nice meeting her. Someone who just doesn’t lose hope and enjoys the ride. Understanding that her protests and ludic actions are nudges of which the direct impact is difficult to track, she wants to try and try for more, and maintains the smile. So determined to make the change. And so are you. Also, you maintain your smile. It strikes me as a different kind of smile. You have become so involved in the fight for climate justice, that you have become a fighter.

“Systems change, not climate change!” Everybody here is aware that we, all people together, form the system. This awareness that each of us influences the system, is why we feel called to stand up to change it. The recognition that each interaction and transaction influences the system, is why we gather low-budget, low-carbon, and in welcoming fashion. Whilst everyone in (explicit) power positions goes through diverse processes of coming to their senses on setting the right priorities for the community of life; we will live by our values. We listen, collaborate, share. We do this in the understanding that changes are happening all the time – whether they concern policy, culture, and behaviour, the climate, individual wellbeing. One event may have many effects. One cause is affected by many events. Climate change is caused by a complex system of events and beliefs. Climate change is causing many events and beliefs.

It is worthwhile to find out to what extent climate change is changing me. To what extent a system defines me and my choices in life. With that, it is worthwhile to find out to what extent we have internalized the currently prevailing culture of exploitation of natural and human resources into our own ways of doing things. As activists, so often we exploit ourselves, even when we think it is voluntary rather than reactionary. Without climate change, what would the both of us have been doing over the past weekend? I understand now, climate change changes me. Each day. It changes you. And I would like us to be aware of these changes, and to assess if they are changing us in a direction we want to go. I would like us to consider whether future climate justice is becoming a trade-off for our own current wellbeing, our autonomy, our authenticity. I don’t believe in trade-offs.

I know you as a loving person. A lover of people, the planet, of life. Is the fight for climate justice, the fight for anything, nurturing your love, your identity? Your great sense of responsibility, it can be satisfied in a way that brings you peace, not war. Fighting is one option in a grand spectrum of choices. And to some people combat indeed nurtures their creativity and peace of mind. It’s not the same for everybody, and I believe no sacrifice has to be made to harmonize the satisfaction of all living needs.

“Systems change, not climate change!” Let’s shout it from the roof tops. Let’s write it on the skyline. To first and foremost remind ourselves. That we are the system. And that if suffering prevails inside of us, suffering prevails in the system. If sacrifice prevails inside of us, sacrifice prevails in the system. A war against our future does not call for a war against our present. For the love of the future, we love the present.  

Thank you for letting me be honest with you. I look forward to meeting again soon. For now: Happy Global Divestment Day on Valentine’s! I think I will be joining the boys on the bike tour, inviting Amsterdam to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry.

xxxx
Ayla

Learn more about divestment here.

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Three new EC Affiliates in Argentina, Belgium and Brazil

We are very pleased to announce that three more organizations have become a part of the Earth Charter family as Affiliates.

Associacao Civil Alternativa Terrazul in Brazil
Terrazul Institute was founded in 1999 as a social-environmental organization and is presently called Associação Civil Alternativa Terrazul (Alternative Civil Association Terrazul). It is located in Fortaleza in the State of Ceará, Brazil.  Their mission is to contribute to building a critical and environmental consciousness and, together with other organized movements, create a new sustainable society through the following actions:

  • Carry out studies, investigations, and actions in the areas of education, citizenship, ecology, and health
  • Environmental education programs for youth and adults
  • Execution of sustainable development programs in rural and urban areas, aiming to promote the social perspective of a sustainable society
  • Support to the environmental movement participating in campaigns and actions
  • Encourage citizen participation and solidarity, articulating and creating movements, associations and networks

European Center for Electoral Support (ECES) in Belgium
The European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) is a Brussels-based non-profit and non-governmental organization with a global mandate. ECES promotes sustainable democratic development through the provision of:

• advisory services and operational support for the implementation of electoral cycles in favor of electoral management bodies and international-regional organizations; and

• capacity development at country, regional and global levels through facilitating peer reviews, the exchange of experiences, south-south collaboration and leadership development.

And

UISCUMARR (Unión de Industriales para Saneamiento Cuencas Matanza-Riachuelo y Reconquista) in Argentina 
UISCUMARR is a non-profit Civil Association created by a group of industrialists concerned with solving environmental problems in a sustainable way.  “We are part of the society in search of changing the environmental reality of Buenos Aires and to do this we should defend, based on sustainability, an indivisible good that belongs to all, the “Collective Good””.

To achieve this, they work with three different axes:

  1. Change of the environmental paradigm
  2. Change of the collective culture
  3. Changes on the ruling environmental standards looking for a balance between  punitive rules and regulations that encourage clean production.

We welcome them and hope for a fruitful collaboration!

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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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