Switzerland Archives - Earth Charter

ECI Executive Director participates in key meetings in Europe

In late August and early September, Earth Charter International Executive Director Mirian Vilela traveled to Europe to represent the Earth Charter Initiative at two events.

In Paris, Ms. Vilela spoke at the opening session of the three-day Common Good Forum. The Forum brought together experts and practitioners in various fields to reconsider economics and other areas of human enterprise while focusing on the common good. Ms. Vilela spoke about people’s charters and the significance of the Earth Charter and ethical foundations for fostering societies that focus on universal values and the common good.

The conference appearance and interaction in the following days and sessions served as sharing and learning spaces. The Earth Charter was well-represented as another session speaker, Saskia Troy from the Netherlands, was present and she has been active in the Earth Charter Netherlands and Earth Charter Europe Youth networks for several years. Here you can read a heart-warming reflection on the forum from one of the conference participants.

Following the Common Good Forum, Ms. Vilela traveled to Geneva for the 20-year Green Cross International conference. ECI Council and Commission members also participating in this event included Alide Roerink, Alexander Likhotal, Oscar Motomura, Rabbi Soetendorp and Ruud Lubbers. Mikhail Gorbachev, the founding president of  Green Cross International, and Earth Charter Commissioner, mentioned the Earth Charter in his opening address.

In his statement, he warned:

“…we are still in the process of losing our planet. We are very close to the “red line.” Even though we have had many discussions, and many conferences and forms on water and other environmental problems, we are not even close to achieving our goal. We still see that the environment and nature are shrinking. The Earth will of course survive anyway, but it will be a very different Earth for those who live on it.”

You can read about the conference at the Green Cross International website.

The welcome of the Earth Charter at the Common Good Forum and the clear continued relevance of the Earth Charter at the Green Cross International event show that the Earth Charter and sustainability ethics have growing and vital roles to play in ongoing dialogues and discussions on how to make the world better, safer, greener, more peaceful, and more just.

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Green Cross International 20th anniversary in September

Green Cross International is celebrating its 20th anniversary from September 2nd to 3rd, 2013 with major activities in Geneva, Switzerland, being held in cooperation with the United Nations, the Earth Charter Initiative and other global partners.

The Green Cross General Assembly will take place on September 2nd, the same day as the third Green Star Awards, a joint initiative by the UN and Green Cross to recognize excellence in environmental emergency preparedness and response, and the gala concert by acclaimed Russian pianist, Andrei Gavrilov. Contact: [email protected]

On September 3rd, the UN’s Palais des Nations will be the venue of the 7th Earth Dialogues conference, an initiative launched in 2002 by Green Cross Founder Mikhail Gorbachev and Maurice Strong. The conference, open to the public, will include five panels focusing on the challenges and opportunities of a world in transition (climate change, energy and resources, poverty, food and water, security and sustainability). Contact: [email protected]

Also on September 3rd, more than 130 young performers, including a 30-strong core cast of youth from Syria and Indonesia to Botswana and Argentina, will stage the debut performance of the musical 2050: The Future We Want.  The performance will feature songs written by the legendary Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) and is being co-produced by Peace Child International and Green Cross. If you are in Geneva and want to attend, contact: [email protected] or find out how to register online.

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Project day with the Earth Charter at Trimmis/GR in Switzerland

On 24 August 2012 Earth Charter Switzerland held a successful project day at the school of Trimmis GR to the topic “awareful living” where the Earth Charter played a very important role.

Near 110 students worked on 10 different places with different goals, for example:

• learn about ones footprint,
• what is the Earth Charter?
• What does sustainability mean?
• Create a small solar car,
• The loss of biodiversity around the school,
• seasonal and biological eating, etc.

The whole team of teachers also worked together with the regional WWF group and Earth Charter Switzerland.

It was a part of the Earth Charter Switzerland UNESCO recognized project “Ways to sustainalble lifestyles”.

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An EC-based course recognized by the Swiss UNESCO Commission

The school program titled “Ways towards an Earth-friendly lifestyle”, offered within the Open Forum at the Lifefair for Sustainability 2011 (held between September 23rd to October 2nd) was recognized on October 13th as an activity of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) by the Swiss UNESCO Commission. The course, which is in German, is aimed for 5th and 6th graders, lower and upper secondary school students, visitors to the fair, and people with an interest in issues on sustainability.

The course was created and promoted by Earth Charter Switzerland in collaboration with more than 18 organisations and enterprises, including the management of Lifefair GmbH and Gammarus Umweltkommunikation in Zurich, and it works on two levels. Firstly, it is a multi-faceted form of education for sustainable development (ESD) both in terms of content and methodology. Individual visions of a sustainable life, one’s own future, sustainable lifestyles, forms of renewable energy, social justice, and peace are addressed via different approaches. Secondly, the project aims to develop cooperation between different civil society actors to further strengthen ESD.

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The Earth Charter once again present at the Lifefair in Switzeland

The LifeFair, held in conjunction with the Zürich Autumn Fair, is a platform to allow people to explore the challenges facing the world and the means in which they can contribute to positive, global change.

ECI Affiliated organization in Switzerland organized a collaborative platform for many different organizations to work with public audiences within the Lifefair, held in Zurich from September 23 to October 2, 2011. Products were presented, cultures were explored, scientific work was explained, and students had the opportunity to participate in a research workshop on global interdependencies. The Earth Charter exhibition demonstrated how different actors are taking an ethical stand using the Earth Charter, as a guiding framework and inspiration, and why it is important to do so.

In addition, the many facets of sustainability were presented to the wider public through a student-organized poster exhibition. This traveling exhibition helps to deepen understanding of sustainable development.  Posters were collected from worldwide organizations, depicting many different themes: deforestation, biodiversity loss, poverty, the food crisis (both under- and overconsumption), and the climate crisis. The posters were accompanied by text created by students of the Master in Sustainable Development program at the University of Basel (the full collection can be viewed here, under Facetten der Nachhaltigkeit, contact [email protected] for more information).

At the end, the exhibitors and audience alike were effectively confronted with many of the concepts central to the Earth Charter: What is our responsibility to society and the environment? What are the consequences of our actions? How can individuals play a significant role in solving global challenges?

One of the posters of the Exhibition:  Peace can only arise if the parties to the conflict  find understanding for the values ??????of others. Lotti Buser from Go for Peace, promoting peace skills courses for a culture of tolerance, nonviolence and peace. “Recognize that peace is the wholeness created by right relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which all are a part.”. Principle 16 & 16f


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EC Switzerland is featuring a course for schools at the LifeFair in Zürich


ECI Affiliate Earth Charter Switzerland has created and will deliver a one-week course for schools at the LifeFair, a fair on sustainable development, to be held this autumn in Zürich from September 23 to October 2, 2011. The course, which includes the Earth Charter in several ways, will be held from September 23 – 30. The purpose of the course is to teach students about different aspects of sustainability in a fun and engaging way.

The themes that will be discussed during the week are as follows:

  • Water- as food
  • Sustainable Lifestyle – What should I do?
  • Renewable energies – What can I do?
  • Social Justice – How can I shape it?
  • Peace – What can I do about it?

Find the translation of the program here.

 

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The Earth Charter at Lifefair 2010 in Switzerland

The Earth Charter Affiliate in Switzerland organized a booth at the Lifefair exhibition 2010 which attracted much attention.  The fair was held from 24 to 26 September as part of the Züspa autumn fair in Zurich.  The aim was to highlight the role of Earth Charter in raising awareness and bringing about sustainable changes in people’s lives.

The 10th anniversary of the Earth Charter, with its slogan Dialogue, Collaboration and Action for a Sustainable Future, was highlighted at the booth.  Working with a wide range of partners in preparing for the Lifefair provided a great opportunity to put these key themes into operation. 

You can visit the site of the event here or obtain more information with photos here

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In Switzerland, Visualization and Reflection on the Earth Charter Principles

She finds it very difficult to join politicians and motivate them to embrace the Earth Charter and have it ratified by her government, and so she chose another way to introduce the Charter values to the people: by means of creative visualization.

Colette began with inviting her friends to meditate about each principle of the Earth Charter text by visualizing it active all over the world; just one principle per week. On April, 5 they were meditating on principle 10: “Ensure that economic activities and institutions at all levels promote human development in an equitable and sustainable manner”.

The participants of these sessions connect every Monday, between 17:30 and 18:30 for at least 20 minutes. Everybody stays at home and they join together by only the collective thought.  Of course, it would be more efficient to join physically, but they do not live close enough.

And, in spite of Colette’s mistrust in the politics, she is going to extend her activities and go public: she wants to organise enough people to create a new society: “The Earth Charter, a new way for world politics”,  or PI (Integral Politics), a new Swiss party backed by with two Swiss websites for a new civil society respecting the Earth and all sorts of life, and giving hope with positive news : www.nicefuture.com  and www.planetpositive.org

 

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Earth Charter events held in Switzerland


The Earth Charter Affiliate in Switzerland Christa Schmidmeister was the initiator and organiser of two Earth Charter-related events in Switzerland this autumn. Her initiative helped introduce the Earth Charter values to various groups of the Swiss public.

The activities started with one of the most prestigious public event in Switzerland, Lifefair 2009- the national futuristic Fair which serves as a platform for public discourse on three main topics: Economy, Environment and Society and promoting sustainability and “green” (sustainable) in the country. The Lifefair took place on September 4-6 in Zurich. www.lifefair.ch 135 participants from all over Switzerland presented their stands, booths and exhibitions demonstrating their views on sustainable lifestyles.

One of these stands was organized by the Earth Charter Switzerland: five panels of the exhibition “Seeds of Change” produced by the Earth Charter International and Soka Gakkai (first demonstrated at the World Summit in Johannesburg in 2002), and a big wooden roundtable for spontaneous discussions and improvised meetings.
 
Many motivated young people volunteered to distribute new Earth Charter printed handouts, talking to the visitors, sharing their own commitment to the Earth Charter values and presenting the Charter as a good framework for a sustainable lifestyle. Some of the volunteers were carrying out improvised polls among the visitors to get an idea of the way the general public sensitizes Charter’s ethics.

Voices of visitors:

“It was a wonderful experience as well as a big challenge to make people aware of the Earth Charter founded on Respect and Responsibility” (Melanie)

“Being a member of Soka Gakkai Switzerland I was very proud to represent the Earth Charter Initiative with a small information board at this year’s Lifefair event. The opportunity to have personal conversations with visitors and to discuss the value of life, the environment and infinite possibilities for protection and preservation made many to reflect over their own actions and inspired them to assume responsibility. … I am convinced that we can achieve a lot by making small changes in our behaviour and we can generate in all people the gratitude to life in all its diversity of forms and colours.” (Adriano Piccione)

SGI Switzerland was a great supporter and committed to sponsor participation of the Earth Charter Switzerland in the third Lifefair in 2010.

The Lifefair in Zurich was followed by an event at the “Dialogue between Cultures” organised by the House of Religions in Bern on September 12, 2009 (Schwarztorstr.102, 3007 Bern, http://www.haus-der-religionen.ch ).

The multicultural project of the House of Religions provides an open platform for representatives of different nationalities and religious communities to come together and exchange ideas and life experiences. It is widely used by many cultural religious communities of Bern and surrounding areas which previously did not have suitable premises for their meetings. The House of Religions promotes understanding of the religious and cultural history of Switzerland by providing opportunities for exchange and education and hopes to reach beyond the region of Bern and make its services available to a wider population of the country.


On September 12 the Earth Carter Switzerland took part in a festival in Bern dedicated to the theme “Diversity” and organised by the House of Religions. More than 250 families with children and guests came to celebrate diversity on his day.

Earth Charter Switzerland organised a side event in the adjoining building, emphasizing the ethical background of the festival and connecting its theme to the current global situation, in which inventive and comprehensive sustainable development is so desperately needed. Earth Charter’s presentation started with the exhibition “Seeds of Change” translated into the German language.

The exhibition was followed by the children activities: “I paint for the Earth!” and “Our wishes should come true!” The famous Ron Fricke film “Baraka” was followed by the presentation of Christa Smidmeister “What is the Earth Charter” and the subsequent interactive discussion.

The participants of this festival also attended the workshop on Electrobiology as one of the new technologies for a sustainable production, two Earth Charter-related films, Seeds of Change and What a Wonderful World, a short general presentation of the Earth Charter Switzerland and the official closing ceremony by the House management.

For more information please visit http://www.erdcharta.ch or contact [email protected]

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