Local Communities and Governments Archives - Earth Charter

The city of Victoria in Canada endorsers the Earth Charter

By: Earth Charter Friends of CanadaEC Canada logo

The City of Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada, endorsed the Earth CharterVictoria Endorsement 1 this past June. The City mayor indicated that the “Charter’s key principles of global interdependence, sustainability and peaceful coexistence
are all shared values held by the City of Victoria… The Charter further aligns with the goals and vision we have for our city, and reflects the imagination and innovation that characterizes Victoria as a sustainable capital.”

This endorsement was a result of democratic and collaborative processes between the Faith in Action Committee and Councillors of the City of Victoria, with strong support from the community. The process took place over several months and is an inspiring example of what can happen when a small group of people choose to act.

Faith in Action Committee organized campaigns to raise Victoria Endorsement 2awareness and support for the Earth Charter. An information session with Elizabeth May and Gerben van Straaten, Earth Charter Affiliate, introduced the Earth Charter to the local community and explored how to implement it in cities.

A petition was circulated to call on local governments to endorse the core principles of (1) respect and care for the community of life; (2) ecological integrity; (3) social and economic justice; and (4) democracy, non-violence and peace.

Victoria Endorsement 3

The committee then presented the mayor and councillors with the petition and asked for their endorsement. It was a natural fit for the city, and they were supportive with two councillors choosing to work with Faith in Action through the rest of the democratic process.

With this endorsement, the City of Victoria joins a large number of other cities, communities and organizations around the world who are committed who embrace the spirit and aims of the Earth Charter.

Click here to read the official letter of endorsement of the City of Victoria, British Columbia.



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Earth Charter presentation in California by Professor Sam Crowell

Photo workshop Sam


On February 20, Sam Crowell presented an introduction to the Earth Charter to almost 150 people from a local community action group in Idyllwild, California. Idyllwild is a small mountain village in southern California that is surrounded by national and state forests, with snow-capped peaks rising to almost 11,000 feet in elevation. It is a community noted for its commitment to the arts and to the environment.


Photo 1

The group, “Indivisible Idyllwild,” was formed to engage the Idyllwild community in an on-going dialogue around issues and policies affecting the poor and disenfranchised, sustainability, and social equality of women, LGBT, and immigrants – all impacted by the rhetoric and mandates of the Trump administration. The group’s mission is to work toward “sustainable economic, environmental, and social justice for all,” focusing first on the community and region, but also joining with others to advance these causes nationally.

Sam pointed out that the Earth Charter offers a compatible vision that emphasizes respect for diversity, care for the environment and all communities of life, a call to social and economic justice, and the commitment to peace and non-violence.  Sam suggested that the Earth Charter principles and values can offer two significant things for the group: 1) inspiration and guidance for engaged action; and 2) a planetary vision that connects what is done locally to a shared vision of peoples around the world.

Foto SamLocal efforts make a difference. When the energy of those actions is combined with a planetary vision of love, care, and compassion, then it is amplified in positive and profound ways. Finding a role for the Earth Charter in these contexts makes the Charter relevant to today’s world. “Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.”

For the seventh time, Sam will be co-facilitating with Mirian Vilela a master class on Education, Ethics, and Values for Sustainability: Transformative Teaching and Learning with the Earth Charter at the Earth Charter Center in Costa Rica, on July 3 – 7, 2017.

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Mexican Conference on ESD and Endorsement of the Earth Charter

Patzcuaro-teachers-sustainable-developmentOn April 15th, 2016 the Technological Institute of Patzcuaro, Mexico, endorsed the Earth Charter and organized, in the framework of this endorsement, the Conference on Education for Sustainable Development. This conference is a response to the Mexican government’s commitment to the Global Action Program on ESD from UNESCO. Three hundred educators of higher education and secondary education attended the conference, along with government authorities from the Ministry of Environment, Education and the local government.

Patzcuaro endorsement education sustainable developmentThere were several meaningful discussions at the conference about how universities can create educational programs that promote a more just, peaceful and sustainable society.

In addition, the Pedagogical University of Veracruz also endorsed the Earth Charter. In the text of the endorsement document, the University expresses its commitment in the following terms:

Patzcuaro endorsement earth charter mexico“We pledge to use the Earth Charter as a guide and ethical framework for decision-making, in the development of plans and policies, and as an educational tool for sustainable development of the state, under the vision and goals of the document that seeks a just, sustainable, and more peaceful world”.

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New publication: Environmental Urban Management Guide

Guia gestion ambiental VenezuelaThe Urban Life and Environment Research Group of Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela, created the booklet called: “Environmental Urban Management Guide”. They published it in collaboration of the Environmental Commission of the National Academy on Engineer and Habitat, the Orinoco Group and Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

This publication is a descriptive manual that offer insights about environmental urban management for municipalities.  It collects information of different processes that would lead to an adequate environmental management in cities.  This Guide uses the Earth Charter as a reference, and has been distributed to municipalities throughout Venezuela.

Download this publication here (available only in Spanish).

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Earth Charter and Earth Charter Cities in Malta

earth-charter-cities-gerben-van-straaten-malta-nov-2015 CEO Gerben van Straaten of World of Walas presents the Earth Charter From November 12 – 14, 2015, an assembly of important conferences on Malta brought together a diverse group of people to deliberate their common futures. The world’s large immigration issues, the future of climate and the earth, and a desired reset of the ways we do business and govern our planet were important themes. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Climate Conference in Paris provided focus to the conference.

At the nexus of sustainability, business, and education, Gerben van Straaten, the CEO of the World of Walas, presented the Earth Charter and the Earth Charter Cities program at the 29th Annual Businet Conference. His keynote addressed how the Earth Charter guides us towards more sustainable and more ethical business practices, with a focus on the importance of improving the way we develop and operate our cities.

Earth Charter International and the Walas Group are collaborating on Earth Charter Cities to raise awareness for a more sustainable approach for our cities. The Earth Charter Cities program works with certification systems, cities, communities, colleges and universities, and companies to bring the global vision of the Earth Charter to cities around the world, based on their local needs. Working with ECI, Gerben and the World of Walas will launch the Earth Charter Cities program in 2016.

We would be delighted to work with the larger Earth Charter network on this and invite you all to be in touch if you are interested in working with us or learning more. For more information, please contact us at:

[email protected]

To read the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto, click here: earthchartercities.org/manifesto

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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 www.nachhaltig-lernen-regionmarburg.de 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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EC Youth Group Students for the Earth organizes EC+15 photo contest

Guest post by George Zacharia

“Every walk with nature, just helps you to realize that there is still more you can do for it.”

This was one of the messages received for the “My 2015 Environmental Message Competition” organized by Students for the Earth, an EC Youth Group, in support of the 15th anniversary of the Earth Charter.

Students for the Earth, is a youth group based in the United Arab Emirates that engages in a variety of activities including environmental, humanitarian, and cultural activities, and was founded in 2013. The group has organized workshops, visits, volunteering activities, and charity collections. It organizes campaigns and competitions on social media to spread awareness. Students for the Earth was selected as the October 2013 youth group the month. They recently participated in a Clean Up Drive to clean up the city of Sharjah, and also organized an all UAE online quiz and art competition to celebrate the country’s national day in December.

The competition asked students from grades KG1-Grade 13 to come up with their messages for 2015. It had to be less than 15 words. To spread awareness about the Earth Charter’s anniversary, we also asked students to add “#ECplus15” in their messages. Even though the notice was short, the group received a lot of entries and 14 finalists were chosen. From them, one winner was selected by popular vote and six winners were selected by a panel of judges. The competition was able to reach to more than 12,000 people from different countries.

“We never expected such a large response to the competition. We are glad that we were able to let students know about Earth Charter and its principles and also how they could bring it about in their lives,” said George Zacharia, the founder of the group. One of the comments read, “Good work dear Kids! You Students for the Earth proved to be real teachers of Mother Earth.”

The group is planning to organize more events this year including a one-day environmental conference by youth and various other activities. The group can be contacted through its Facebook page: www.facebook.com/studentsfortheearth or [email protected].

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University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh holds annual Earth Charter week of events

Guest post by Brad Spanbauer ([email protected])

Aside from homecoming and brisk autumn days, early October at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh also means it is time for the Earth Charter Community Summit, a tradition with a focus on global awareness. Signed in 2002, UW-Oshkosh was one of the first universities in the United States to sign the document and is the only university signatory in Wisconsin. UW-Oshkosh has upheld the principles of the Earth Charter, such as the respect and care for the community of life, for many years. Each year, the Earth Charter committee plans events that span a wide range of topics and cover the principles of ecological integrity, social and economic justice, democracy, non-violence, and peace found in the Earth Charter.

The week started off this year with an event focused on Fair Trade clothing. As the first Fair Trade university in the United States, UW-Oshkosh proudly supports Fair Trade events throughout the year. This year’s speaker was Sonja Parr with Liz Alig clothing, who talked about the working conditions for manufacturers of clothing and the social and economic implications of traditional clothes-making.

Tuesday’s events focused on divestment from fossil fuels and a political debate by local candidates. The Change the Climate Campaign is a student movement focused on educating the campus community about what it could mean if UW-Oshkosh were to divest from fossil fuels. The divestment movement has been gaining momentum and several other institutions worldwide have committed to this change in their policies.

The candidate debate was sponsored in part by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and the university’s American Democracy Project. The first round was the debate for State Assembly district 54 featuring incumbent Gordon Hintz (D) and newcomer Mark Elliot. The following debate was for the 6th Congressional District representative featuring Mark Harris (D) and Gus Fahrendorf representing the Libertarian party. Glenn Grothman (R) did not attend the debate. The campus has been actively engaged in elections for many years and seeks to sponsor events such as the candidate debates to increase awareness of political issues.

This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Eric Klinenberg, from NYU. Klinenberg is a sociologist who focuses on community responses to climate change and how people can come together to fight what is being called the greatest environmental challenge of our time. Jim Feldman, professor of Environmental Studies and History, was very pleased with the turnout at the banquet this year. “The biggest take away for students from Eric’s talk [is] that we can respond more intelligently to climate change if we think about social factors and the things that make our communities stronger,” Feldman said.

UW-Oshkosh has recently reformed its general education, with a new program called the University Studies Program (USP). The university’s advancements and leadership in sustainability among institutions of higher education tie into the Earth Charter and also align with this general education reform. “USP requires students to attend out-of-class events, and thereby learn about the intellectual life of the university,” Feldman said. Throughout their first year at UW-Oshkosh, students in the USP program encounter courses focused on intercultural knowledge, civic engagement, and sustainability, which directly connects with principles outlined in the Earth Charter. Feldman stated, “Both institutions, the Earth Charter and the USP, require us to think deeply about the ways that these different categories overlap and intersect with each other.”

Keeping with the theme of strong communities in response to climate change, UW-Oshkosh was proud to host Winona LaDuke during the Earth Charter Community Summit this year as well. With standing room only, students, faculty and staff crowded the theatre in Reeve Union to hear Ms. LaDuke’s presentation. Environmental Studies student Emily Husar Martin was extremely inspired by Ms. LaDuke’s presentation. “Winona is a great activist who inspires me to continue my efforts towards a more fair and sustainability-focused future,” she said. Ms. LaDuke’s presentation focused on intercultural knowledge and sustainability as she has devoted her life to protecting the lands and ways of life of Native communities.

The week wrapped up with students working together to close down the community gardens for the winter. “The garden party was a success as far as the amount of work that got done.” said community garden vice president, Kasey Stewart. “I am trying to reach out to local growers to get some in to give talks and things or possibly do field trips. We also have a logo competition coming up soon,” Stewart said. In accordance with the Earth Charter, groups at UW-Oshkosh continue moving forward to promote the principles of the Charter campus-wide.

Find out more about University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh sustainability activity.

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Share your story!

Share your story!

At the Earth Charter International Secretariat we are interested to know the experience of young people around the world that are using the Earth Charter in their schools, universities, jobs and communities, to implement projects to build a more sustainable society.

Please share your story with us!

You can summit a video telling your commitment with the EC and we will share it with our worldwide network, providing you the opportunity to be heard by thousands of people who can get inspired by you and follow your example.

To share your story, you only need to:
1) Record a 2-3 minutes video with any type of camera that you have.
2) Answer and comment the following questions on the video (you can tell anything else that you think is relevant for your story):
– General information: Name, age, country
– How did you know about the Earth Charter?
– Which has been the impact of the Earth Charter in your life?
– What activities have you done or are you doing to communicate and implement the Earth Charter
– Final message for youth on their role on sustainable development

Send your video to Marcello Hernández, EC Youth Coordinator: [email protected] If the video is too big, please share it with us using Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) or Wetransfer (www.wetransfer.com)

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The Earth Charter in Aguascalientes Municipality in Mexico

The Municipality of Aguascalientes, Mexico, has been renewing its commitment and endorsement with the Earth Charter over the past few years, but it hasn’t stopped there. There have been important efforts inside the Municipality to understand and internalize the Earth Charter principles to put them into practice with concrete actions.

In this video (in Spanish), the Mayor Lorena Martínez (2011-2013) explains in detail how they’ve been using the Earth Charter as an ethical framework to generate public policies to promote sustainability.

This presentation was offered during the Earth Charter Mexican Focal Points Meeting, in November 2013.

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We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future.
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