Local Communities and Governments Archives - Earth Charter

Celebrating World Environment Day in Mexico with the Earth Charter

The Earth Charter Network in Mexico celebrated World Environment Day, 5 June, by promoting the principles and ethical values of the Earth Charter through different activities.

In Cajeme, in the state of Sonora in northern Mexico, the City Council and several institutions endorsed the Earth Charter on Environment Day. The focal point of the EC Network in Sonora, Martín Villa, coordinated the realization of a ceremony where the city council signed the endorsement. The Superior Technological Institute of Cajeme (Itesca Cajeme), the Technological Institute of Sonora, the La Salle Northeast University, the Technological University of the South of Sonora, Plin Industrial, CANACO, and three local companies also joined this endorsement.

In Durango, the Polytechnic University commemorated World Environment Day with a Conference on the Earth Charter and organized a ceremony of thanks and offerings to Mother Earth. Thank you to the Focal Point of the Earth Charter Network Mexico in Durango, Amorita Salas, and to the authorities and staff of this university for their leadership and commitment to sustainability.

On 9 June, the Municipality of Naucalpan endorsed the Earth Charter, in a ceremony where Mayor Patricia Durán signed this document. Subsequently, more than 2,000 people planted trees in honor of Principle 5c of the Earth Charter: Promote the recovery of endangered species and ecosystems. Naucalpan de Juárez is a very important municipality in the northwest of Mexico City and one of the biggest challenges of the city is deforestation. Chuen, community leader and member of the Earth Charter Network in Mexico was one of the organizers of this event, and Mateo Castillo, Coordinator of the Mexican Earth Charter Network also participated.

In Aguascalientes, the Ecological Center Los Cuartos carried out the Children’s Environmental Conference within the framework of World Environment Day with the aim of shaping environmental ambassadors, who meet the objective of promoting environmental education in their community and their immediate environment. This Congress has been organized annually for more than 13 years, and the main theme has since revolved around the Earth Charter. Gina Ventura, Focal Point of the Earth Charter Network in Aguascalientes, organizes and promotes the Earth Charter in this state.

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Activities with the Earth Charter in Mexico

Translation of the SDGs to indigenous languages:

Traduccion ODS Mexico Indigena

Languages play a fundamental role in people’s daily lives. Besides being an instrument of communication, education, social integration and development, languages give us identity. This is why the United Nations declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages, with the intention of sensitizing society about the importance of the richness in the world’s cultural diversity.

Based on SDG 4 for Quality Education, the Chiapas College, Institutional Endorser of the Earth Charter, considering the presence they have in practically every region of the state, together with the Intercultural University of Chiapas, the Mexican Earth Charter Network (through the Focal Point of that state, Eder Medina) and the organization Kybernus A.C., have translated the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to the Tsotsil, Tseltal, Zoque and Chol languages.

The objectives are expressed with representative illustrations of the state of Chiapas in order to disseminate this important international framework for the promotion of Sustainable Development on International Mother Language Day celebrated on 21 February.

We share the documents of the translations through this link.

Events:

Puebla Carta de la TierraOn February 2019, Puebla City Hall approved an Agreement presented by the Mayor to endorse the Earth Charter.  Ignacio Rojas, focal point of the Mexican Earth Charter network in this State is following up this agreement to operationalize it, and make possible to include the Earth Charter in public policies and/or education processes.  See here news and videos about this.

 

 

Michoacan Carta de la TierraIn the framework of the XLVI Anniversary of the Technical Agricultural High School (CBTA, for its initials in Spanish) No. 7 “José Vasconcelos Calderón,” the Environmental Protection Procurator of the Government of Michoacán, Mexico (PROAM, for its initials in Spanish), participated in the endorsement of the Earth Charter, as a firm commitment between authorities and society to carry out actions for the conservation of natural resources.

PROAM officials expressed their congratulations to the initiative of this CBTA to train in young people a sense of identity with their state and responsibility to the environment.

 

Estado de Mexico Enciclica Laudato Si Carta de la TierraThe focal point of the Earth Charter Network in the State of Mexico, Rafael Fernando Sánchez Barreto, gave a lecture on the encyclical Laudato Si’ and the Earth Charter as an alternative for the construction of the community of peace. This talk was held at the CONECTATE vocational festival organized by the Movement of Students and Professionals of Catholic Action, on 2 and 3 March 2019, in the Parish of Santa Clara de Asís, Municipality of Lerma. Around 40 young people attended.

In addition, Rafael Fernando gave the talk “The Earth Charter as a Tool for Training in Touristic Municipalities Vulnerable to Climate Change,” at the Autonomous University of Yucatan, within the framework of the International Congress of Tourism Training, held from 16 to 18 January, with around 20 participants.

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Walas and the Earth Charter in Sustainable Urban Development

Gerben-van-Straaten-03-png-684x1024The Earth Charter newsletter published in July, featured the interview with Gwendolyn Hallsmith, renowned city planner, who shares her experience using the Earth Charter and a specific methodology called EarthCAT (Earth Charter Community Action Tool) with several cities.

In this newsletter we share with you several videos of the interview with Gerben van Straaten. He is the founder and CEO of World of Walas. This international company, specialized in Sustainable Urban Development, uses the Earth Charter as the ethical compass in all levels of the organization, for its projects and all its other activities. Gerben was inspired by the principles of the Earth Charter from very early on and decided the document had to be used as the guideline on which all decisions were based. This drew the attention of Earth Charter International and a partnership with the World of Walas was developed. Gerben thought it was necessary to develop an Earth Charter adaptation for cities to make it easier to put its principles in practice in urban development and city planning. As a result, the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto was created and presented at the 2010 celebration of the Earth Charter in The Hague, The Netherlands. Driven by the Earth Charter, the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto guides people everywhere in creating communities that are healthy, inclusive and sustainable. The Earth Charter Cities Manifesto defines 16 principles to inspire and guide all citizens, urban organizations, businesses, communities, governments and institutions.

The interview tells a personal story of dedication to create a just, sustainable and peaceful global society based on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. This video interview also shares how this company, working in the field of urban sustainability, implements the Earth Charter principles in its business model.

To watch the interview with Gerben van Straaten click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy1QyvVZjJ4&list=PLzi07WlvVry-HY8uiH7XjhQU-sjXjtVFt

Click here for more information: https://worldofwalas.com/

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Video Interview on Planning for Sustainable Cities

Earth Charter International Secretariat developed a series of video based on an interview with Gwendolyn Hallsmith in which she shares her experience on: Planning for Sustainable Cities.

Gwendolyn Hallsmith is the founder and Executive Director of Global Community Initiatives (GCI). She has over 25 years of experience working with municipal, regional, and state government in the United States and internationally.  She learned about the Earth Charter in 2001, and since then, has been an actively promoting the use of the Earth Charter in city planning processes.

She was part of the committee that created EarthCAT:  Guide to Community Development, which is a methodology that cities can use to infuse the principles of sustainability contained in the Earth Charter in their master plans.

Find the three video interview with Gwendolyn in this link:

 

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International Congress on Habitat and Sustainable Cities GBCCR 2018

Green Building 2Forty-five presenters in the field of Sustainable Urban Development gathered to share their expertise and vision on the current and future life in cities during the 5th Congress of Sustainable Cities organized by the Green Building Council Costa Rica (GBCCR) 17 – 18 May 2018. Many emerging challenges and solutions in urban development were pointed out, especially given the rapid growing urban population and the pressure it generates on natural resources use. All agreed on the fact that we need to stop working in silo’s, create multi-stakeholders alliances, start sharing knowledge and find ways to cooperate to transform urban area’s into vibrant, safe, livable cities.

City of Love

At the opening session, the President of the Green Building Council, Mr. Tai Lee Siang said that building innovation should focus on zero waste and the basic understanding of the broad vision of sustainability. At the end, he presented key ideas of his book ‘Cities of love’, in which he makes a point that if we love something, we care for it. “If we love our city, we will care for it as we do for our family.” Mr. Tai Lee Siang stressed the importance of constant feedback loop between the users, the builders and all those involved in a development project.

The morning session also counted with a speech by the new first lady of Costa Rica, Claudia Dobles (architect and urban planner), who reaffirmed her determination to help address the challenges of public transportation and mobility in San Jose. She stressed a number of key ideas on the importance of better articulation, cooperation and true commitments of both the public and the private sector. She said that “we need to rethink how we design urban planning… and the vision of the city we want…. we have to consider cities as instruments to generate employment and to address social inequalities”.

Green Building 3Several presenters emphasized the importance to move ahead towards the vision of “smart cities” as a place that seeks the quality of life of its inhabitants and that considers the interconnectedness of various sectors.

Earth Charter

Among the Sustainability experts was Mirian Vilela, Executive Director of the Earth Charter International Center on Education for Sustainable Development. At the closing plenary, she talked about the excitement many feel when they arrive in a big city until you realize the huge number of people consuming water, food, energy and generating waste in such a condensed space and short time. Mirian emphasized the need for long-term urban planning and visioning through a broad sustainability and values-based approach. She shared a few examples of cities that have used the Earth Charter as a road map for their policy design and urban planning. She encouraged participants to consider these examples and use the Earth Charter as an ethical framework for sustainable urban development and as a compass when seeking to transform cities into centers of innovation.

Irma Verhoeven, Programme and Partnership Development manager at the Earth Charter International Secretariat and project manager at the World of Walas (author of the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto) shared the techniques Walas’ uses to transform old industrial areas into vibrant neighborhoods. These techniques are based on the values described in the Earth Charter.

The Weight of Cities

Green Building 1Adriana Zacarias (Regional Coordinator of Resource Efficiency sub-programme at UNEP at the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean) presented a summary of the UN Environment report “The Weight of Cities” at the opening plenary.

During the session ‘Smart Cities II’ Prof. Mark Swilling of the Stellenbosch University in South Africa, presented details of the findings of this important research study on Requirements for Future Urbanization. The UNEP report is a ‘must read’ for everyone, especially in the work field of Sustainable Development. Find here the link to both the summary as well as the full report.

¨We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shift this expected urbanization on to a more environmentally sustainable and socially just path. Decisions made today on urbanization and land-use models, as well as on critical infrastructure, will determine whether our investments are future-proof, or whether they lock us on to an unsustainable path.¨

To achieve a transition to low-carbon, resource-efficient, socially just cities, the report recommends:

  •  Monitoring the flow of resources entering and leaving the cities to understand the local situation and to help develop resource-efficient strategies.
  •  Planning cities to have:
  • Compact growth, to avoid urban sprawl and so economize on the square kilometres of asphalt, the concrete, the electricity and the water wasted in spread-out cities.
  • Better connections by efficient and affordable public transport (e.g. light rail, bus rapid transit).
  • Liveable neighbourhoods where design encourages people to walk or cycle.
  • Resource-efficient urban components, such as car sharing, electric vehicles and charging point networks, efficient energy, efficient waste and water systems, smart grids, cycle paths, energy-efficient buildings, new heating, cooling and lighting technology, etc.
  • Infrastructure for cross-sector efficiency, such as using waste heat from industry in district energy systems and industrial waste materials in construction, such as fly-ash bricks.
  •  Establishing a new model for city governance and politics that supports imaginative business propositions and experimentation.

In conclusion

Although there are many good examples of sustainability urban planning, broadly, urban planning and cities are still being managed with fragmented, short-term and unsustainable approaches. Cities generate an incredible pressure on natural resources. Therefore, educating the general public, policy makers and builders on the basic understanding of sustainability and the true value of green building is essential. It is safe to say that the CICS2018 conference offered high quality information presented by key experts working on the transformation toward Sustainable Cities.

For more information on this Congress click here.

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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:

ECC@teamwalas.com

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

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