United States Archives - Earth Charter

AASHE endorses the Earth Charter!

AASHE Endorsement Earth CharterWe are happy to announce that the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has endorsed the Earth Charter.

We asked Julian Dautremont-Smith, Director of Programs of AASHE, to share with all of us what is the meaning of the Earth Charter for them and why it was important to endorse it. This is what he shared:

AASHE is pleased to endorse the Earth Charter.

We greatly value the Charter’s comprehensive approach to sustainability, especially the inclusion of social and economic justice, democracy and peace along with ecological integrity.

We have a similarly holistic understanding of sustainability and refer the Earth Charter as a key document in understanding sustainability in our Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a self-reporting framework used by hundreds of colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. For example, a course is counted as being sustainability-inclusive if it contributes towards realizing one or more of the principles outlined in the Earth Charter.

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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.

 

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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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New Summit Academy and Queens University discover the Earth Charter at the ECI Center for Education for Sustainable Development

On 13 May, 2016, eleven students and three teachers from New Summit Academy (NSA), a small, therapeutic boarding school for 32 adolescent males aged 15 – 18, based in Atenas, Costa Rica, took part in a leadership, sustainability and ethics workshop offered by Earth Charter International.  The young men who come from all over the USA and Canada and enrol for 12 months at NSA, are often overcoming struggles with mood swings, ADHD, anxiety, substance abuse, identity, and self-esteem.

new-summit-academy-workshop

Just a couple weeks later, on 22 May, 2016, 22 undergraduate students from Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina visited Earth Charter International at the University for Peace campus in El Rodeo, Costa Rica as part of 2-week programme with Immersion Abroad (http://iacostarica.com/).  Immersion Abroad, an educational tourism company, led the students through a variety of experiences in Costa Rica which included homestays, cooking classes, dance shows, and a visit to the Earth Charter International Secretariat (ECI) to learn about sustainability. Sarah Dobson, the Youth Projects Coordinator, Lesley-Jane Davies and Carolina Bermudez, Youth Education Interns at Earth Charter International, designed and facilitated interactive, holistic workshops on Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics.

immersion-abroad-group-in-circle

The workshops followed similar formats. To begin, students formed a close circle and stretched to join hands with two others in other parts of the circle forming a human knot.  Once tangled together, they needed to find a way to untangle themselves and return to the shape of a circle without releasing one another’s´ hands.  They spent the next 30 minutes trying to undo the human knot they had formed.  Some sections of the circle were disentangled with more ease than others, but the activity was only complete once all were back in one complete circle. Reflections on the activity elicited responses of discomfort, pain, frustration, irritation, joy, and celebration as well as the importance of perseverance in the face of difficulty, listening to one another, leadership, and teamwork.  Students recognised the interconnectivity of their dilemma and how one person’s actions impacted another’s, often with unanticipated and unintended results, drawing parallels between the problems and potential solutions for sustainability.

human-knots-activity

One facilitator then told the story about the creation of the Earth Charter allowing students to guess at true/false statements at each stage of the story which involved a decade-long, worldwide, cross-cultural, civil society dialogue on common goals and shared values that ultimately culminated in an inclusive vision and guide for sustainable development.  This vision and guide became the Earth Charter.

Both workshops then provided space for students to engage with the text of the Earth Charter in small groups, sharing personal stories, and dialoguing around their own values. It was then time for the Earth Charter to come alive, and students acted out skits of different principles and ethical dilemmas allowing others to dive into the skit and guess the principle and dilemmas being dramatized.  A few principles that participants selected to act out included: Principle 16 “Promote a culture of tolerance, non-violence and peace”, the focus of the Earth Charter Initiative in 2016, and Principle 7 “Adopt patterns of production, consumption and reproduction that safeguard Earth’s regenerative capacities, human rights, and community well-being”.

small-group-work

A closing circle revealed thoughtful reflections on sustainability, ethics, and leadership; conviction around the interrelated nature of our actions, lifestyles, and futures; and curiosity around generating the inspiration, motivation, and values needed in the transition towards social, economic and environmental sustainability. New Summit Academy and Immersion Abroad both plan to continue bringing groups to Earth Charter International to foster in their students sustainability leadership and a sense of respect and care for the community of life.

 

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EC+15 event at the Parliament of the World’s Religions

On Sunday October 18th, during the Parliament of the World´s Religions held in Salt Lake City in Utah, USA, a seminar entitled “The Earth Charter and the New UN Development Agenda” took place with the participation of three speakers including Mary Evelyn Tucker (co-director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University), Kusumita Pederson (professor of Religious Studies at St. Francis College New York), and Rick Clugston (ECI Advisor and Director at the Center for Earth Ethics).

Here is a summary of the key points they brought to this session.

-Mary Evelyn Tucker  Watch the video here.

Ms. Tucker briefly explained the process that took place to draft the Earth Charter. She emphasized that the Charter is a civil society document and the fact that the initial idea emerged during the preparatory process to the Earth Summit in 1992.

The contents of Earth Charter are ethical principles that join practical and policy issues. The Charter shows the relationship between ecology, justice, and peace. It provides a new perspective on the connection between people and the planet. The language of the Charter is inclusive and inspiring. The Earth Charter International Secretariat office was set up at the University for Peace in Costa Rica for guiding this movement. She said “the earth is alive” and recalled that at the 1997 Rio Conference, when the first draft was discussed, the indigenous people participating at that occasion were weeping because their world view was included in an international document for the first time.

Ms. Tucker suggested that, “The Earth Charter represents and reflects a language of a movement from a declaration of independence to a declaration of interdependence”. The world needs a new shift, which is not just for individuals, but for the whole earth community, all humans, animals, and all life in the ecosystem. It is a new geological era and we are all in this great transition. People’s energy force and actions could make a change and help the earth flourish.

Ms. Tucker stated that people are having a new “migration”, like birds and turtles finding their home. With the Earth Charter, we need to find the way home, back into the earth community.

– Kusumita Pederson Watch video here.

Dr. Kusumita Pedersen is Professor of Religious Studies at St. Francis College in New York. She presented the Earth Charter in the larger context of global ethics. Like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which emphasizes human dignity, the Earth Charter also did the broad research necessary to find universally applicable ethics.

Dr. Pederson explained that people have different worldviews: the way one sees things and what one believes is real. For instance, some people may believe that certain groups of people or beings are less valuable than other groups.

The Earth Charter is distinctive because it honors all living communities, including different groups of human beings and different forms of life. This is a paradigm shift. Although it did not mention God, the Earth Charter does use the language of spirituality. For example, the Preamble states, “The protection of Earth’s vitality, diversity, and beauty is a sacred trust.”

Environmental problems have the potential to affect people’s worldviews and cause wars and conflicts. Killings and genocide often happen when there is a resource or food scarcity crisis (such as the droughts in the Middle East and ecological factors in the Rwandan genocide), and when some people are told that other people are less important than they are as a result. The Earth Charter was the first international document that used the word love. It represents the opposite worldview from genocide and all kinds of discrimination. The central ideas of the Earth Charter are justice, peace, and sustainability.

Dr. Pederson also echoed Ms. Tucker’s thought that civil society strategy is very deliberately adopted in the Earth Charter and the Charter is accepted by the UNESCO.

– Rick Clugston  Watch video here.

Rick Clugston gave a brief description of the evolution and negotiation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and used the Earth Charter as an assessment framework to look at the SDGs. Launched in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) focused on helping people address disadvantages and poverty, improving their living conditions, education, health, and income within 15 years.

The MDGs achieved some successful results, however, at the Rio +20 Conference in 2012, people knew that the MDGs were not sufficient to address many challenges and that global society needed to create new development goals. The central question is: how can we create a world that allows development for all and the flourishing of the ecological system? Over 2013 and 2014, governments and civil society intensely negotiated on the SDGs. The SDGs affirmed that we need a fundamental shift from the present economic paradigm to a new sustainable worldview to protect the whole Earth community.

Mr. Clugston quoted Klaus Bosselmann, a renowned environmental law scholar who has been promoting the Earth Charter for many years:

“The Earth Charter provides a strong definition of sustainable development, recognizing the three standard pillars: social, environmental and economic, but organizing them in a particular way. ‘Environment’ is not merely the resource base for human consumption, not just one of the three factors to be considered. Rather, it incorporates the greater community of life including human beings and the life-support systems on which we all depend. This shift to a broader life-centered perspective marks one key difference between ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ sustainability. Furthermore, the social dimension (articulated in the Earth Charter in terms of principles for economic and social justice, democracy, non-violence and peace) represents a set of pre-requisites and goals for sustainable development rather than negotiable or merely optional considerations.”

The Earth itself and the whole community of life have inherited values. Mr. Clugston concluded that we are shifting from an inequitable fossil fuel based world to a better one that is more in line with the vision of the Earth Charter.

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Earth Charter International and University of Wisconsin Oskhosh co-organize EC+15 event

Every year, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, an Earth Charter endorser since 2001, hosts its Earth Charter Community Summit, a week of events on sustainability issues related to the Earth Charter. This year, Earth Charter International and the Sustainability Office at UW Oshkosh co-organized a hybrid live/virtual event with three expert speakers on sustainability, ethics, the Earth Charter, and Aldo Leopold. The event was attended by approximately 25 participants in a lecture hall in Wisconsin, while another 20 participants joined through ECI’s online platform.

The speakers were UW Oshkosh’s Jim Feldman, a professor of Environmental Studies, Clare Palmer, a professor of Philosophy and ethics expert, and Curt Meine, a Senior Fellow at the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the Center for Humans and Nature, as well as a biographer of Aldo Leopold. All three speakers prepared slides, which you can download at the bottom of the page, and spoke about the Earth Charter, Aldo Leopold, and ethics from different perspectives.

Jim Feldman, in the context of the webinar as well as the local context spoke about the UW Oshkosh commitment to sustainability and the Earth Charter values. He related many of the initiatives that the campus is undertaking and he also spoke to the deteriorating legacy of Leopold, John Muir, and Gaylord Nelson in the state of Wisconsin. Clare Palmer deepened the discussion about ethical perspectives, tracing lines of values from Leopold to the Earth Charter and citing the specific advances the Earth Charter made in redefining sustainability from the original definition provided in the 1987 Brundtland Report. Curt Meine’s presentation expanded the discussion on the evolution of ethics further, offering a fascinating history lesson in the evolution of sustainability ethics, from the early 19th Century’s Alexander von Humboldt, through Marsh, Roosevelt, the founding of the UN, Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic, Rachel Carson, the environmental movement, to modern sustainability thought.

The aftermath of these compelling presentations was a vibrant discussion in the question and answer period. The panelists fielded questions from both the live and the virtual participants and it was clear that the participants were hungry for practical measures while understanding the great importance of values and ethics discussions.

The event was a great success and profited from having both a local and an international virtual audience, made possible by modern communication technologies. The dispersed global audience united by the common goal of making the world a better place was evocative of the slogan of EC+15, “One Earth Community, One Common Destiny”.

ECI thanks UW Oshkosh and all the speakers for making this special event possible.

See the recording here.

Download the slides below.

October 8 EC15 Oshkosh Slides Clare Palmer

October 8 EC15 Oshkosh Slides Curt Meine

October 8 EC15 Oshkosh Slides Jim Feldman

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Earth Charter Opinion article by Climate Ethicist, Don Brown

In a few weeks, nations of the world will meet in Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as COP21. This Convention emerged out of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, just like the Earth Charter did, and has been one of the most interesting, successful, and also not successful international agreements. The ethical perspective of sustainability, which is the central focus of the Earth Charter, should play a larger role in government policy making, and this is apparent when looking at the climate change challenge. In his essay, Don Brown looks at several of these issues, using an ethical lens to dissect the climate change discourse, and urges governments and policy makers to include ethics specialists when forming climate change responses and policies.

You can download the essay here.

Earth Charter International is grateful that Don Brown has offered this essay to us for publication in our virtual library and we extend him our heartfelt thanks for his excellent work on ethics and his lifelong commitment to making the world a better place.

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Earth Charter International joins University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Earth Charter Week on October 8th

Earth Charter International and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh are joining forces to co-organize a hybrid live/virtual event during UW Oshkosh’s annual Earth Charter Week to celebrate Earth Charter +15.

Every year, UWO holds the Earth Charter week, a week of events in the name of the Earth Charter to highlight sustainability issues. This year, UW Oshkosh and Earth Charter International, based in Costa Rica, are co-organizing a hybrid live/virtual event to bring three speakers together to discuss relevant topics. The topics will include sustainability ethics, the Earth Charter and its role in international law, the Wisconsin legacy and contribution to sustainability ethics of Aldo Leopold, and reflections on the state of sustainability in Wisconsin and the world. Some speakers will be physically present with a live audience in Oshkosh, and, at the same time, other speakers and participants will join virtually via Earth Charter International’s online platform.

The format of the event will be a one and half hour lecture with both live and virtual facilitators, three speakers, and a question and answer and group discussion among the speakers.

Join us on October 8th at 20:00 UTC, 4PM New York Time. Click this link to enter:

http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/3134517-sustainability-ethics-the-earth-charter-and-aldo-leopold

The event welcomes three esteemed speakers.

Jim Feldman is an Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and History at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. He is the author of A Storied Wilderness: Rewilding the Apostle Islands. His current research and teaching interests include the history and sustainability of radioactive waste management and the campus sustainability movement.

Clare Palmer has written three single-authored books, including Animal Ethics in Context and has just completed Companion Animal Ethics. She has edited or co-edited a number of collections including Linking Ecology and Ethics for a Changing World, and Killing Animals. She was the founding editor of the journal Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion, and held the position of President of the International Society for Environmental Ethics from 2007-2010. She also serves on the editorial board of a number of journals, including Environmental Values, Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, and the new journal Environmental Humanities.

Curt Meine, PhD, is a conservation biologist, historian, and writer who serves as senior fellow with the Aldo Leopold Foundation and with the Center for Humans and Nature, and as associate adjunct professor at the UW–Madison. In addition to coordinating the Wisconsin Academy’s original Waters of Wisconsin project, Meine has written several books, including Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work and Correction Lines: Essays on Land, Leopold, and Conservation, and is the on-screen guide in the documentary film Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time.

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Steven Rockefeller on Laudato Si' and the Earth Charter

Laudato Si and the Earth Charter, by Steven Rockefeller

Laudato Si, the new encyclical issued by Pope Francis, is to a large extent a carefully crafted Christian theological discourse in support of ethical and spiritual values that are also fundamental to the Earth Charter.  Pope Francis, therefore, chose to include a quotation from the Earth Charter in the encyclical, the first and last sentences of “The Way Forward”:

As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning….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.

Even though some Earth Charter supporters will question the position of Laudato Si on certain issues, Pope Francis’ strong endorsement of ideals and values that are central to the Earth Charter vision is something to celebrate. 

Both Laudato Si and the Earth Charter recognize that there is an ethical and spiritual dimension to the world’s social and environmental crises that must be addressed, if the human family is to find its way to a just and sustainable future.  In this regard, the Earth Charter stresses the urgent need for a relational spirituality that involves an ethic of respect and care for the community of life as a whole.  The major theme of Pope Francis’ encyclical is “care for our common home.”  He laments the increasing degradation of Earth’s ecosystems and the loss of natural beauty.  Like the Earth Charter, the encyclical rejects the widespread and problematical view in industrial-technological civilization that the natural world apart from humanity has utilitarian value only and is just a collection of resources that exist for human exploitation.  The imperative to care for creation in the Pope’s theological vision is inspired by a deep sense of the intrinsic value and interdependence of all beings—of plants, animals, forests, mountains, rivers and oceans. 

Pope Francis emphasizes throughout Laudato Si the unique and equal dignity of each and every human being, but the encyclical also makes clear that people are an interdependent part of nature.  With this interdependence and humanity’s special abilities and powers goes the responsibility to protect Earth’s biosphere.  Pope Francis understands the great risks for present and future generations that are created by climate change, and he endorses the view of the vast majority of scientists that climate change is being caused by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities.  He gives special attention to the interconnections between ecological degradation and the suffering of the poor. 

Caring for our common home according to Pope Francis requires a radical cultural transformation.  It means ending poverty and advancing social and economic justice together with ecological restoration and protection.  He urges us to develop a new appreciation of the interrelationship between the world’s spiritual, ethical, social, economic and environmental challenges and to adopt holistic thinking and integrated planning.  He calls for a new global partnership of all nations and peoples infused with a spirit of cooperation and a readiness to share equitably the benefits of development.  To all of this the Earth Charter movement can only say Amen.  Laudato Si is a courageous and prophetic statement that will hopefully have a far-reaching impact as governments gather to make critical decisions regarding the human future in the months ahead. 

                                Steven Rockefeller
                                Member, Earth Charter Commission
                                June 25, 2015

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Mary Evelyn Tucker: Climate Change Brings Moral Change

Pope Francis is clearly one of the most popular people on the planet at present. With his love for the poor, his willingness to embrace the outcaste, and his genuine humility he has captured the hearts of millions – Christian and non-Christian alike. He has inspired minds as well by his willingness to take on difficult issues such as ecology, economy, and equity, which he sees as inextricably linked. Indeed, these three interwoven issues are at the heart of his Papal encyclical released this week. An encyclical is a letter to the Bishops and all Church members. It is the highest level of teaching in the Catholic Church and this is the first encyclical on the environment in the history of the Church.

First, he addresses ecology. Pope Francis, following in the tradition of Francis of Assisi, celebrates the natural world as a sacred gift. He does this with his reference to St Francis’ “Canticle of Brother Sun, Sister Moon” in the title of the encyclical “Praised Be”. The kinship with all creation that St Francis intuited we now understand as complex ecological relationships that have evolved over billions of years. For Pope Francis these relationships have a natural order or “grammar” that need to be understood, respected, and valued.

Second, he speaks about the economy. Within this valuing of nature, the Pope encourages us to see the human economy as a subsystem of nature’s economy, namely the dynamic interaction of life in ecosystems. Without a healthy natural ecology there is not a sustainable economy and vice versa. They are inevitably interdependent. Moreover, we cannot ignore pollution or greenhouse gases as externalities that are not factored into full cost accounting. This is because, for Pope Francis, profit over people or at the expense of the planet is not genuine profit. This is what has happened with fossil fuels causing climate disruption.

Third, he highlights equity. From this perspective, working within the limits of nature’s economy can lead to thriving human societies. In contrast, exploiting the Earth and using oil and gas without limits has led to increased human inequities. Ecosystems are being undermined by climate change and the wealthy most often benefit. The Pope recognizes that such an impoverished economic system results in impoverished and unjust social systems. Thus, for him, the poor must be cared for as they are the most adversely affected by climate change.

In all of this the encyclical is not anti-modernity, but hopes to reconfigure the idea of progress. “Not blind opposition to progress but opposition to blind progress” as John Muir said. The Pope refers to this perspective when he speaks of a throwaway economy where humans are saturated in materialism. He sees the need for genuine progress where the health of both people and the planet can be fostered. Thus as the head of the Pontifical Academy of Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Turkson, has said, “We need to learn to work together in a framework that links economic prosperity with both social inclusion and protection of the natural world.” This linkage of ecology, economy, and equity is what is being called an “integral ecology” and is central to the encyclical.

Such an integral ecology clearly requires interdisciplinary cooperation as we find our path forward on a planet of more than 7 billion people. We need to understand more fully the challenges the world is facing in terms of economic development and environmental protection. These are not easy to reconcile. Indeed, the international community has been seeking answers since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 set forth a framework for sustainable development. The world is ever more in need of an integral ecology that brings together a fresh understanding that people and the planet are part of one interdependent life community. Such an integral ecology affirms the cooperation of science and ethics, knowing that our problems will not be solved without both. It is clear that climate change is requiring moral change.

The Papal encyclical, then, represents a new period of potential cooperation. In the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology we have been working for two decades with hundreds of scholars to identify the cultural and religious grounds in the world’s religions for a more diverse environmental ethics to complement environmental sciences. Between 1995-2004 we organized ten conferences at Harvard and published ten volumes to examine how the world’s religions can contribute their varied ethical perspectives for a sustainable future. At Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies we have been broadening this dialogue and building on the work of environmentalists, policy makers, and economists. The Papal encyclical will be a fresh inspiration for these and numerous other efforts that are bringing together ecology and ethics for the flourishing of the Earth community. To this end we look forward to working together with the Center for Process Studies which, in addition to numerous publications, has convened conferences in both the US and China to advance the goals of ecological civilization.

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Earth Charter and the Pacifica Graduate Institute

On 25 January, an event entitled “One Earth Community, One Common Destiny” was organized by the Ecopsychology Network of Southern California and the Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, Ecopsychology specialization (CLE) of the Depth Psychology M.A./Ph.D. Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. At the event ECI Executive Director Mirian Vilela offered a talk on “The Earth Charter Setting the Course”, in which she reflected on the quest for building a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world, and the Earth Charter’s contribution to the new way forward.

The occasion also included a presentation by Prof. Mary Watkins on The Four Principles of the Earth Charter as a Guide to Vocations for the Psychologically-Minded, who linked the Earth Charter to vocational work undertaken by their students that fosters respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, social and economic justice, and, democracy, nonviolence, and peace.

Pacifica Faculty member Linda Buzzell shared with participants the way she sees ecopsychology as a guide to a deep understanding, that humans are embedded in a living Earth and share life support systems and souls. She reflected on how she perceives permaculture offering three foundational ethics — Earth Care, People Care and “Fair Shares” — and, with the Earth Charter’s four principles, these healthy roots can offer the practical, psychological, and spiritual grounding needed to create and move to the world we all want to live in.

The afternoon discussions were facilitated by Prof. Ed Casey, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at State University of New York, Stony Brook and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Pacifica in the CLE Program. 

The afternoon offered an occasion for an interesting discussion with a group of very active and engaged participants. The discussion circled around questions such as “how can we best facilitate our transition from an earth-destroying society to a life-sustaining culture?”

On 27 January, Ms. Vilela was a guest speaker to a group of students from the MA/PhD Depth Psychology Programme sharing a talk on “The Earth Charter and the Search for Humanity´s Shared Values”.

Here you can see a couple of video interviews that Ms. Vilela offered to current Pacifica doctoral candidate Marialidia Marcotulli.

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A bit of history of the connection between Pacifica and the Earth Charter

The Chancellor of Pacifica Graduate Institute, Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., was involved in the early stages of the Earth Charter consultations back in 1994 and 1995, and there is an interest in establishing closer collaboration between Pacifica and Earth Charter International.

In 1994, one of Pacifica’s students, Angela Harkavy, was involved in the formulation of the draft of the Earth Charter, and as a result Dr. Stephen Aizenstat was invited to be a participant in the Earth Charter International Workshop held in The Hague in 1995.

During the workshop, Dr. Aizenstat advocated the inclusion of psychological considerations in the Earth Charter. Posing the question, “What is being asked of us now?,” Dr. Aizenstat responded with the following goal for the Earth Charter Initiative.

“In order to build a respectful and sustaining relationship with the world, we must first recover a sensibility that is informed by the psyche of nature, an awareness That our essential psychological spontaneities are rooted most deeply in the psyche of the natural world. We are born out of the rhythms of nature and to destroy nature’s psyche is, ultimately, to end our own. The responsibility of all who are involved in the Earth Charter Project is advocacy on behalf of the world and all who share it.”

Since that time, Dr. Aizenstat and others of the Pacifica community have endeavored to support the Earth Charter Movement in various ways, and the importance of the Earth Charter has often been a principal topic in community discussions.  In January of 1998, the Pacifica students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends were invited to consider and respond to “The Earth Charter Benchmark Draft” which was reviewed during the Rio+5 Forum in March 1997. Numerous individual praised the efforts of the committee and sent along their encouragement and support for the ongoing work.

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