Germany Archives - Earth Charter

Reflections as the New Earth Charter Youth Projects Coordinator

By: Christine Lacayo

My first month of work ends and I’m excited to share some of my reflections!

As the Earth Charter Youth Projects ChristineECCoordinator, my main responsibility is to motivate, guide, and engage young people to create a more just, sustainable and peaceful world. What is the best way to do this? I think the beauty of this position is the flexibility and creativity the job requires. I have the ability to incorporate my passions and interests to expand and create new opportunities and stories. I’m excited to bring my passion for visual media and writing to collect all Earth Charter Youth actions and stories that are taking place around the world. As an ocean advocate, I would also like to continue sensitizing my community members on the importance of taking care of our ocean ecosystems!

Some of the main projects I’m focusing on now include promoting our app Mapting, used to take pictures of actions related the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We have our next photo competition to celebrate International Day for Biological Diversity starting from 12-22 May.Mapting_FB_AD

I’m also facilitating our next online training programme for youth, Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics (LSE) starting 19 June. This 10-week course is designed to prepare and empower young people with the skills and knowledge to be effective ethical sustainability leaders and implement Earth Charter-inspired projects.

One of my favorite roles of my job is having a group of Earth Charter Young Leaders, those who have completed the LSE course, from all over the world. These leaders are from countries such as St. Lucia, Germany, Kenya, Nigeria, Japan, Netherlands, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Rwanda, and Spain, just to name a few! My responsibility is to support them along their year commitment as an Earth Charter Young Leader implementing activities and workshops in their community.

I’m also diving into the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Leadership Training Programme created by esd-training-flierEarth Charter International for the UNESCO Global Action Program (GAP) on ESD focusing on priority area number 4: empowering and mobilizing youth. The training is designed for young people from 18-35 who are active leaders in sustainable development in their communities.  At the beginning of July, I will be co-facilitating the training programme in Brasilia, Brazil for selected young leaders from across Latin America!

I’m very excited to start this dynamic new job not to mention the stunning nature views and sounds from my office! I’m happy to be back in the country I grew up visiting as my second home while promoting a more peaceful and sustainable world using the skills and knowledge I’ve gained from my studies and experiences!IMG_0032




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10-week Youth Online Training Course: Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics to Start 19 June, Deadline to Apply 17 May!

Don’t miss the deadline to sign up for our next 10-week youth online training programme in Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics. The course will begin on 19 June and participants will need to apply by programaWednesday 17 May! This course is designed to train young people around the world, from the ages of 18-30, on how to become active leaders in their community towards a more just, sustainable, and ethical world.

The course will offer you an opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills on certain themes such as leadership, ethics, sustainability, Earth Charter principles, Eco literacy, Systems Thinking, and how to successfully design and implement a workshop in your community.

Our goal at the end of the course is to successfully strengthen your knowledge and skills on leadership in sustainability, enhance your consciousness to contribute to the greater good, inspire like-minded individuals to collaborate across borders and to carry out your work in your communities, and develop the confidence to use your voice as a leader!

Alumni of this course have the opportunity to become an Earth Charter Young Leader (ECYL). This programme is a year-long leadership opportunity to serve as a focal point in the Earth Charter Youth Network to mobilize and engage other young people around the Earth Charter vision and principles.

Register now by visiting our site:


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Earth Charter affiliate in Germany celebrates 40 years

The Ecumenical One World Initiative organized a weekend of learning, celebrating, and looking to the future

Guest post by Douglas F. Williamson

Last year while I was still on staff at Earth Charter International, I had the chance to traIMG_0517vel to Germany and meet some of the members and staff of Earth Charter Germany. The EC efforts in Germany are organized and led under the Ecumenical One World Initiative (EOWI), which turned 40 years old this year, and they invited me to come over from Berlin to celebrate and share my experiences with and knowledge of the Earth Charter and how it works around the world.

EOWI held this celebration in Burg Bodenstein (Bodenstein Castle) in the region of Thuringen, formerly of East Germany with about 100 participants. The castle is from the middle ages and the place has been settled for around 1,000 years. The landscape is farmland and forests on rolling hills and there is a rural tranquility of greens, browns, and yellows along with the spring chirping of many birds. The castle and its surroundings made for an excellent place for the celebration with many smaller and larger common rooms for sharing, learning, lectures, workshops, and prayer and meditation sessions.

IMG_0512The Earth Charter was known by all the participants to varying degrees. There was one participant who had been at a 1998 drafting session in Assisi, Italy even. Others were aware of the document and its use by EOWI in Germany, but were not at all aware about the global Earth Charter movement. This is where my presence was very useful. More on that later.

The event began on Friday evening after dinner and a prayer ceremony in the small Castle chapel. In the large Castle Chamber, all the participants were treated to a performance by the Freiburg Scientific Theatre group. This group performs short scenes and performance pieces that artistically reflect on social and environmental issues and they are in part inspired by the Earth Charter. The theatre performance was followed by a musical show by a singer/songwriter named Cat Balou. Following the performances, there was a general social gathering.

The following day there was a lecture and discussion led by Professor Gerald Huether. Originally a neuro-surgeon, Prof. Huether refocused his interests and talked about his research in education and co-creation. There were many points that related to the Earth Charter and the Earth Charter pedagogy developed at the Earth Charter Center for ESD in Costa Rica. One of the salient points made by Prof. Huether was about moving away from educating and moving towards creating spaces or platforms where people can co-create and learn by themselves. The lecture provoked an engaged and interesting discussion. IMG_0559

In the afternoon, there were many smaller groups and workshops, discussions on topics of relevance and interest to the participants, including a session that used movement and theatre. After dinner, there was an event commemorating 40 years of EOWI and looking forward to the future. This hour and a half long session was organized around three sets of interviews, the last of which I participated in as an interviewee along with Anja Becker who is one of the staff members of OEWI working with the Earth Charter in Germany. In the interview, I spoke about Earth Charter International, the link to the Sustainable Development Goals, the spiritual aspects of the Earth Charter and of sustainability work generally, and the general utility and beauty of the Earth Charter document.

Following the interview event, there was a bonfire below the Castle walls, a dance party, and a general social event for talking and networking.

IMG_0561On Sunday morning, there were once again several different small groups and workshops, including a choir practice for a performance at a spiritual ceremony to close the event, and also I offered an hour-long session on Earth Charter International exclusively. During the session, which was attended by around 20 people, I was able to go more in depth about the work of Earth Charter International, especially regarding its work on the Global Action Programme for ESD of UNESCO, explain more in depth how the EC and ECI came to be, how ECI functions globally, and what challenges the EC faces for the future. It was lively and fun and it was good to see how much I know about the Earth Charter and that I can share and inspire people talking about it.

The event was an inspirational success and it was great for me to become a part of the Earth Charter Germany network and get to know many of its members more intimately. I am sure that I will have further opportunities to work with EC Germany and continue to foster EC values as part of the global Earth Charter Initiative.


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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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German Affiliate releases new publication

The Ecumenical One World Initiative (OEWI), the Earth Charter Affiliate in Germany, has released a new publication in German highlighting the different initiatives related to the Earth Charter in the region around Marburg. The publication showcases different groups and people who work for a sustainable, peaceful, and just global coexistence aligned with the values of the Earth Charter. They portray their initiatives, talk about their work, visions, and ideas. The publication is titled “People and City in Transition”.

These and many other people introduce themselves on the Internet portal and also publish their educational programs and activities.

You can download the publication and see its format and design from the Earth Charter Virtual Library.

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"Daring to invent the future" – EC meeting in Germany

The Ecumenical One World Initiative (EOWI), Earth Charter affiliate in Germany, held its annual gathering from 4 to 6 April 2014. Over 60 participants came together to discuss the controversial Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the USA (TTIP) that is being secretly negotiated at the moment. Another central topic was the relevance of the bestselling fantasy novel “Momo”, also known under the title “The Men in Grey” by Michael Ende for analyzing some of the root causes of our current global financial crisis.

The introductory addresses were followed by an an “open space” in which participants could suggest relevant themes for small group discussions and workshops. These sessions touched on a large variety of topics including “tapping into our collective wisdom” to “post-growth economics” and “the relevance for the Earth Charter in the Great Transition”. In one workshop, participants were introduced to the latest developments in the Earth Charter-inspired Global Interfaith WASH Alliance.

EOWI director Anja Becker and her colleague Kerstin Veigt gave an overview of the diverse activities the initiative is doing to promote the Earth Charter in Germany, such as hosting a training course for volunteer “Earth Charter Ambassadors”, publishing materials on the use of the Earth Charter in education for sustainable development, working with teachers and a network of schools, coordinating an Earth Charter Youth Network in Germany, and organizing dialogues about the Earth Charter between students in Germany and India. Just one week ago, 12 women and one man ranging from 20 to 60 years of age proudly received their “Earth Charter Ambassador” certificates. They will now start spreading the message of the Earth Charter in their personal and regional networks. 

More information about Earth Charter activities in Germany in German and English can be found here.

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Case Study: Earth Charter Practice Handbook in Germany

Through a thorough analysis and interviews with one of the lead authors, Earth Charter International has created a short case study of the German Ecumenical One World Initiative’s (EOWI) Earth Charter Practice Handbook (Erd-Charta Praxishandbuch).

The Handbook is a rich resource of activities and methodologies for educators at the primary and secondary level. The case study provides an excellent analysis of the handbook and offers some perspectives on the cutting-edge of education for sustainable development.

The case study can be downloaded here as a pdf.

The Handbook is in the process of being translated from German into English.

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Earth Charter affiliate in Germany holds inspirational annual event

The annual conference of the Ecumenical One World Initiative (EOWI), the German Earth Charter Affiliate that coordinates the Earth Charter activities in Germany, has always been a place to soak in new motivation for continuing to take small steps towards peace, justice, sustainable living, in the name of ecumene. This is the place where everyone from this diverse and widely scattered network in Germany comes together face to face and celebrates the will to make a change.

This year the conference topic was “Let’s get going for a better world: together with the Earth Charter – inter-religious, intercultural and creative!”

EOWI was very happy that to have Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Earth Charter Commissioner, take part in this conference. He can be called a “father” of the Earth Charter, as he participated very actively in the drafting process. He is also a wonderful speaker, full of compassion and he turned out to be the perfect motivator at this meeting. He related that it was compassion that saved his live as a Jewish baby in Germany during the second World War and he gave examples for many ways how compassion can enable inter-religious alliances for the sake of sustaining the lives of the poorest people. One of the conference’s topics was “Water as a Human Right”. Rabbi Soetendorp spoke about plans for water supply and sanitation and, spontaneously, participicians of the conference donated money in order to get the water project going.

On the second day of the conference there were various workshops. Participants searched for the “great transformer” by playing theater games, discussed how to communicate issues of sustainability in a society of diversity and migration, painted “radical” pictures of a radical change, exchanged ideas about inter-religious alliances for sustainability, and talked about strategies.

In the end all participants had renewed hope to go on with their initiatives while still acknowledging the long way to bring the Earth Charter down to earth.

More information:

The picture above shows Bernadette Ackva, Member of new-founded local Earth Charter Group “Taunus”, handing over signatures/endorsements for the Earth Charter via Rabbi Soetendorp to Anja Becker, Executive Director EOWI.

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German Earth Charter Affiliate publishes practical handbook for using the Earth Charter

The Ökumenische Initiative eine welt has published a practical handbook with methodological building blocks for sustainable development for children, youth, and adults.

The book collects more than ten years of experience with Earth Charter workshops from hundreds of group situations. It offers a multitude of ideas for engaging and exciting participants in and out of schools.
At the moment, the book is only in German, but it may be translated into other languages if there is interest.

For all questions, please visit the German Earth Charter Web site.

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UN DPI NGO Forum declaration highlights the Earth Charter

At the beginning of September, the UN Department of Public Information NGO Forum was held in Bonn, Germany. More than 1,600 participants attended to discuss issues related to the Rio+20 Conference. The outcome of the conference was a 15-page declaration of NGO positions towards informing the preparatory process of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.

In Bonn there was a widespread agreement on the need for an integrated ethical vision of sustainable development. In several workshops, plenaries, and in the drafting process for the Bonn Declaration, there was a remarkable convergence on an affirmation of “strong sustainability” and the need for major shifts in the development paradigm.

The declaration features the Earth Charter using the following text:

Recalling that the Earth Charter can play a vital role in helping to inspire renewed political commitment expected for Rio + 20…”

In addition, Maurice Strong offered special remarks at High-level Symposium on the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Beijing, China on September 8th-9th. Click on the following link to read it
Maurice Strong on  “Assessing progress and gaps in 20 years of sustainable development”.

The prominence of the Earth Charter in this civil society declaration should send a strong signal to decision makers and civil society stakeholders that Rio+20 will provide an excellent opportunity to incorporate a needed ethical framework into the official language of international sustainable development processes. It is also clear from this declaration that civil society strongly supports the inclusion of the Earth Charter’s ethical framework in influencing policy decisions and directions.

The final deadline for submitting individual or organizational inputs to the compilation document, also known as the Zero Draft, is November 1st.

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