United Kingdom Archives - Earth Charter

UK’s first Earth Charter school

Proud to be the UK’s first Earth Charter school
By: Debbie Godfrey-Phaure, CEO Avonbourne International Business and Enterprise Trust

Avonwood PrimaryWhen the little ones arrive at Bournemouth’s Avonwood Primary School they are greeted with the positive mantra – to change the world ‘it starts with one.’ Although they don’t know it yet, these four, five and six year-olds who attend Avonwood are in a very privileged position; they are at the UK’s first ever Earth Charter school.

Avonwood Primary SchoolAvonwood Primary opened its doors in September 2014 as Bournemouth’s newest primary school and the first to adopt the charter as the moral compass for all it does. So from their early years’ curriculum right down to the school mascot, the principles of the Earth Charter seep through everything Avonwood does. And it was no surprise that when the idea for this new school was conceived back in 2013 the Earth Charter would be the heartbeat of its formation.

Avonwood is part of the Avonbourne Multi-Academy Trust, which has endorsed the Charter’s ethos since 2008, when Bournemouth Borough Council became the first Earth Charter local authority.

Debbie Godfrey-Phaure, CEO, says ¨At Avonbourne Trust we have embraced the Earth Charter principles for several years now. Avonwood Primary School has achieved Earth Charter status. It is part of our personal development lessons and it influences our curriculum throughout all subjects taught at Avonbourne College for girls, Harewood College for boys and our mixed Avonbourne Sixth Form. English lessons may include a debate about the Syrian refugee crisis and in science our students learn about climate change and its impact on the planet. So when we planned to open a primary school to join our family of schools it seemed the perfect opportunity to instill the Earth Charter’s principles from the outset of a child’s education.

Avonwood Primary School has achieved Earth Charter status.I approached the then UK Director of Earth Charter and asked if could we make Avonwood an official Earth Charter school and three years on we are delighted that this is where we now are – the UK’s first. When Avonwood children enter their purpose-built new school building one of their first sights is the Earth Charter poem which has been painted on the main wall in reception. Underpinning everything they do are the following core values: Treat all living beings with care; promote cultural tolerance and peace; learn about different people and religions and build democratic societies.¨

All of this is carried out in an age appropriate way. And on the day the photos for this article were taken the children witnessed the first butterflies to burst from the cocoons that were being kept in the classroom.

Earth Charter 09The Head of Avonwood, Annie Dowling, said: “Having the caterpillars in the classroom has enabled the children to see nature at work, the beginning of new life. The creatures helped them to understand how we need to care for all living creatures, even the tiniest of insects – and look at the rewards when you do take care of them¨.

As part of their early years’ curriculum the children learn about different religions and festivals and their school mascot Woody takes them on a daily journey around the world to learn about different cultures. Acts of peace – such as being a good friend – are rewarded in weekly golden assemblies. The children are also getting a taste of democracy and decision making through the school council.

Our school logo ‘it starts with one’ is taken from the Earth Charter,” Annie added. The children are learning that to make the world a better place it must all start with them. We begin by making them responsible for the tidiness of their own classroom, and then we broaden that to the whole school and eventually get them thinking about what they can do to make things better for their street, their town, their country and even the globe.

La escuela primaria Avonwood obtuvo estatus Carta de la Tierra.

La escuela primaria Avonwood obtuvo estatus Carta de la Tierra.

Our school is growing and by 2020 will cater for ages up to 11 and so the teaching of the charter’s principles will evolve as the children do. And it will be a seamless transition for the Avonwood children when they go on to either Avonbourne or Harewood colleges for their secondary years. They will join such initiatives as the Earth Charter awards in which Avonbourne and Harewood students recognise green-minded businesses. Or the Project Emerge charity which sees Avonbourne girls issue loans to aspiring businessmen and women from developing countries. And then there’s the eco business ‘Funneling4Fuel’ that was launched by the sixth form and sees recycled oil used to fuel the Trust’s fleet of mini buses. The Trust’s students are also no strangers to campaigning for justice and have even knocked on the door of Number 10 lobbying David Cameron to support the right of every child to go to school.

All those initiatives started with one student and have gone on to benefit people globally. This generation really does care about more than just themselves. They are far more aware of the world and what is happening in it than my generation.

Having the Earth Charter principles taught at our schools help to reinforce the good hearts of our young people.
I for one am very grateful that we are leaving the world to be looked after by this generation.

Click here to see article on this in the Academy Today.

For more information on Avonbourne Trust’s CEO, Debbie Godfrey Phaure, contact Joanne Cox at Avonbourne Trust at 01202 727018.

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Pictures of Success launched in London on the 23rd of October, 2012

During the launch of Pictures of Success, over forty people heard short speeches about a project developing ways of using the Earth Charter to prompt and guide thinking about ecology, equity, peace and the wider community of life, and helping to raise awareness of development issues and the Millennium Development Goals.

As a part of this project, Pictures of Success has been created to show how constructive engagement with the big issues in the world can enrich the lives of people in mainstream companies and be the motive force for completely new and pioneering enterprises.

Some of the Pictures of Success were briefly introduced. Jane Riddiford, Founder and Director of Global Generation talked about the Skip Garden at Kings Cross and the many activities that have happened in and around it.

Ian Agnew, Executive Director of the Lorna Young Foundation, spoke about establishing the Oromo Coffee Company. This social enterprise in Lancashire is owned by Ethiopian refugees in the UK – a unique Fairtrade company that trades directly with producers. Hayley Griffiths from ActionAid spoke about the creation of the Millione Foundation to support ActionAid schools and education programmes in Sierra Leone.

Invited guest, Reverend Dr. Giles Fraser responded by referring firstly to the beauty and creativity of Pictures of Success and then by reminding everyone that many of the issues that Pictures of Success starts to address are far from beautiful.

Almost exactly a year since he resigned from his post as Canon at St. Paul’s Cathedral, he spoke passionately about the need to do more and to move more quickly to address global problems including climate change.

Gwyn Jones, director of the Association of Sustainability Practitioners described remarkable results from using printed Pictures of Success cards in workshops and conferences to engage “the whole person”.

Thanks were given to Sarasin & Partners, who hosted the launch at their offices overlooking the steps of St. Paul’s.

CarbonSense is keen to collaborate with organizations who would like to replicate the Pictures of Success model for their own community, region, city, or country.  The Web site framework, engagement processes, and lessons learned from the UK Earth Charter in Business project will be incorporated in the model that we believe can work anywhere in the world.

Visit the Pictures of Success Web site.

To order a printed copy of “the Earth Charter in a box” comprising 80 x A5 picture cards, each with a story on the reverse (details here) please contact CarbonSense.

For more information, contact:
Earth Charter UK: [email protected]  Tel: +44 207 183 1847
Pictures of Success and CarbonSense [email protected]  Tel. office: +44 1626 777274 

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EC Workshops to be held in London between October and December, 2012

Earth Charter UK is organizing a series of six workshops in central London to showcase the Charter and show how it can support individuals, communities, people’s work, or their organizations.

These workshops will be held between Wednesday October 10th and December 12th, 2012 from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. London time at Headrooms, St John’s Path, Clerkenwell, EC1M 4DD, London.

The precise dates and themes are as follows:


More detailed information on this here.

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Earth Charter UK submits a document to the Parliament in preparation for Rio+20

The paper, presented by Earth Charter UK, introduces the Charter, and its current position in the UK. It then addresses the two key issues of Rio+20 (Greening the Economy and Institutional Frameworks), informed both by international papers prepared for the Earth Charter Initiative on these issues and work currently being undertaken in the UK.

It contains three recommendations for consideration by the Committee:

  1. The UK government should recognize and support the Earth Charter as a means of inspiring commitment and action by individuals and organizations.
  2. The UK government is asked to adopt the fifteen principles of a green economy as providing a working framework. These principals individually and together should form the basis of the UK transition towards sustainability and a green economy.
  3. Given the magnitude and multiplicity of environmental and social issues facing our planet, the UK government is urged to support the call at Rio for the establishment of a World Environment Organization.

More information here.

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Video Contest: Call for Submissions

The Earth Charter International (ECI) is conducting its first-ever International Video Contest, in collaboration with Odyssey 2050 movie project and the British Embassy in Costa Rica.  This contest was inspired by the reflections contest organized by Kenmore School (Arlington, VA, USA) in the fall of 2010 (Read here about this experience).

We are inviting schools from all over the world to be part of this contest, and we would love for your school to participate. We are asking for students to  see the trailer of Odyssey 2050 movie, read the Earth Charter and then, submit videos that explain:

“How can we build a better future together?”

These videos can incorporate everything from written essays, to original poems, songs and interviews. We want to see students have the freedom to explore this question and the Earth Charter in the ways that they find most natural.

Why seeing Odyssey 2050 trailer before creating your video essay?  Because this movie is not finished yet, and the producers are going to use all inputs received to define the direction of this movie.  Therefore, all submissions are going to be sent to the producers of Odyssey 2050.  The film is been produced in Costa Rica by Synchro Films, in coordination of the British Embassy and the supervision of  Thelvin Cabezas, an outstanding film animator who worked on Spiderman 2 and Avatar.

Criteria for evaluation:
Entries will be evaluated on the basis of creativity; how well they express and connect to the values and principles of the Earth Charter; and finally, the production value of the videos themselves.

Rules for Participation

  • Videos should be 3-4 minutes in length.
  • All entries should incorporate ideas from Odyssey 2050 trailer and at least one of the principles of the Earth Charter. For a copy of the Earth Charter, please visit earthcharter.org/discover/the-earth-charter/
  • All videos should be the original work of the student(s) who are entering the contest – this means no previously copyrighted material (including background music, previously published poems, etc.)
  • Videos can be produced by teams, but should be made up of no more than 2-4 students.
  • Entries will be considered in three different age categories: 10-12, 13-15, 16-18 . Please note the category for your submission. (If your grade includes people of two different categories – e.g., 11 and 12 year olds, or 14 and 15 year olds, feel free to enter in either category)
  • Submitting a video includes a release for the Earth Charter to use that video in promotional materials, on our website, etc.

About prizes…

Participating in this contest will give you the opportunity to make an impact on the direction of Odyssey 2050 movie. That is, your ideas will help to define how this movie will end. Also, all submissions entered into the contest will be posted online at our website at www.earthcharter.org.
In this sense, all submissions are winners!

A selection of the entries that best follow the evaluation criteria will be featured at the Earth Charter International’s event to be held in the framework of the global United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – also known as Rio + 20 – in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012.

Finally, one of the videos selected as best entries will win an iPod.

How to submit your video?

There are several options:

You can upload your video in this platform http://www.vimeo.com/groups/earthchartercontest

You can also upload it to YouTube and send us the link, or send your video to us at: [email protected]  

Entry Deadlines
All entries should be submitted by 30 November 2011.
For any further questions, feel free to contact [email protected]


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Earth Charter inspired conference in Bournemouth, UK

Pupils from the Avonbourne School hosted an Earth Charter inspired conference on 8th July 2011.  In this Conference, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. John Barcow MP, spoke to school pupils about environmental issues.

The event included various workshops including video conferencing, cartoon-making, dance and theatre all with an Earth Charter theme.

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The Earth Charter and Sustainability: Interview with Peter Head

Peter Head is a consultant and the former Chair of Global Planning for Arup, an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, and others who are committed to making a positive difference through their work.

Recently, he did an interview to discuss “The Earth Charter and Sustainability”. He points to the need for companies to have a strong set of values in order to be successful, and the unique role of the Earth Charter as a “comprehensive strategy” for addressing the social, economic, and environmental challenges that we are facing.

The full 3 minute interview can be found on YouTube at:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UzxrpxolS8
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ESD Conference: Global Vision, Local Action. Bournemouth University, UK

Inspired by the principles of the Earth Charter, the ESD Conference “Global Vision, Local Action” will take place on 8-9 September 2011 in Bournemouth UK

In 2008, Bournemouth Borough Council became the first UK district council to adopt the Earth Charter. The process started back in 2007 at an interfaith meeting which took place thanks to the efforts of UK Earth Charter Affiliate Jeffrey Newman and his supporters.

Subsequently, Bournemouth became one of the leading places in Britain to tackle various sustainability issues, from waste and recycling, energy reduction and conservation, transport, biodiversity and eco-tourism, to the challenges facing education for sustainable development, as addressed and covered by the Earth Charter principles. The local community and organisations use the Earth Charter ethical framework as the foundation for a peaceful, just and sustainable regional society with global aspirations.
(Learn more about the Bournemouth and its commitment to the Earth Charter)

This year, the Bournemouth University is organising its 4th Conference, “Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship: Global Vision, Local Action”, which will be held on 8-9 September. It is no accident that the organisers chose a quotation from the Earth Charter to set the tone of the conference: “As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile… we have much to learn from the ongoing collaborative search for truth and wisdom.”

As the organisers have said, “We shall continue to address the overlapping themes of Sustainable Development, Internationalisation and Global Citizenship but are keen to explore the interconnections between the themes and how local action addresses global concerns. We adhere to the belief that these are not separate issues: holistic approaches that encompass all aspects of university life are important if higher education is to contribute effectively to global sustainability. As the Earth Charter quote suggests, we have much to learn. Collaboration may enable us to develop new ways of seeing; working together may enhance power of our local actions.”

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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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"Making the Invisible Visible" Conference

“Making the Invisible Visible” is an international conference bringing together an emerging community of practice in Indicators, Sustainability and Human Values for business, civil society and other organisations around the world.
The conference is hosted by the University of Brighton, UK, from December 16-18, 2010.  It will showcase the results of a Pioneering ???0.8Million EU Funded Project to Trial Values-Based Indicators to Measure the Values Dimension of Organisations and Projects.

Earth Charter International will participate in this conference with a plenary address by Mrs. Alide Roerink, from NCDO Netherlands, two specialist session, one conducted by Jeffrey Newman, ECI Affiliate from UK, and an  EC Assess session conducted by Alicia Jimenez from ECI Secretariat.

Among the speakers  are: a global expert in economics, Augusto Lopez-Claros (Chief Economist and Director of the the Global Competitiveness Report 2006/2007 and the Humanitarian Response Index at the World Economic Forum); leading environmentalists such as Arthur Dahl (President of the International Environment Forum, former Deputy Assistant Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and former coordinator of the UN System-Wide Earthwatch) and Professor Arjen Wals (UNESCO Chair of Social Learning and Sustainable Development and world expert on environmental education); parliamentarians  such as Professor Bedrich Moldan (Senator in the Parliament of the Czech Republic and a global authority on indicators for sustainable development); civil society organisations as diverse as the International Red Cross, the Alliance for Religions and Conservation (ARC), Global Action Plan InternationalConsumer Citizen Network//PERL; world experts on values in business  such as Richard Barrett (leadership expert mapping values among some 2000 organisations in over 40 countries); and AtKisson.Inc. Also, representatives from UNESCO (DESD),  UNEP, and the WHO

To learn more about the speakers:


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