Celebrating 20 years Earth Charter in The Netherlands with online meetings, The Deep Time Walk and a special gift

by Alide Roerink (coordinator EC NL and ECI Council member)

We are happy to report that the celebrations in The Netherlands turned out to be an exceptional  experience. Our original plan was to convene a live event around the date of Earth Charter Day 2020, to take place at the green estate where the home office is seated as Earth Charter The Netherlands, namely Landgoed Zonheuvel in Doorn. Since we were faced with the so called ‘intelligent lock down’ in the context of the corona crisis, we could not meet, as was the case in most parts of the world. 

Alternatively, we invited all our contacts to do the Deep Time Walk and to connect online, 2 times on Monday 29 June – the historic day exactly 20 years after the launch of the Earth Charter in The Peace Palace. Jan Pronk, who has been involved with the Earth Charter from the beginning of the global Initiative, now chairperson of SBI- Earth Charter Netherlands Foundation, chaired both the morning and the evening meeting. More than 50 people participated, including Earth Charter Young Leaders from the Netherlands and Earth Charter Commissioner Awraham Soetendorp.   

Information on 20 years Earth Charter was shared beforehand, together with the background of the Deep Time Walk, which is a walk of 4.6 km you can do wherever you are, on your own or in a small group. We recommended to walk in nature, so as to be able to listen to the long history of Earth. All you need is a pair of good shoes and a smartphone with the Deep Time App, which can be downloaded for free. We informed participants that Earth Charter International is a partner to this initiative taken by Schumacher College.  

To introduce the Deep Time walk and its relationship with the Earth Charter mission, Seren Dalkiran (Founder Millennial Leadership Lab) and Annick de Witt (board member EC NL) contributed in our morning online meeting. They also presented the following questions to reflect on during the walk and to be discussed in the evening online meeting: 

Seren Dalkiran

– How can this perspective of ‘deep time’ help us in the great transition humanity is faced with now?

– How can we use this transition as an invitation to a deeper transformation the Earth Charter is calling for?

– And how can it help us to find pathways that do justice to our deep connection with all life, to the mystery and beauty of the history of Earth.

One of the newest Earth Charter friends, Henry Mentink, shared a touching poem entitled ‘Giving Earth’ and Sherlien Sanches, member of the EC NL team, presented her own text ‘I see you, do you also see me?’ in which she referred to the urgent call of Black Lives Matter and respect and care for the community of Earth. We all felt the energy and motivation to continue the day with a sense of connection to the Earth Charter community. 

Rabab Hammiche, Earth Charter Young Leader, passed the Peace Palace on her Deep Time Walk and made a drawing at the entrance, celebrating 20 years Earth Charter. 

In the evening meeting, experiences with the walk were exchanged. Most participants were impressed with the walk. Some walked in their city, others in the country side, some on their own, others with a small group. We concluded that the experience of walking in nature, and listening to the history of Earth, creates a change of perspective, through which a new awareness can come of the connection with the larger context in which all life exists and develops. Every step you take in the Deep Time Walk brings you closer to the current time. It is only the last 20 cm of this walk (the last 200.000 years of the history of Earth) that Homo sapiens comes into life. This confronts us with the human place and role in this era which is now called the Anthropocene. We welcomed new Earth Charter Friends who committed to become active in the network, connect and reach out in their own sphere of influence with the Earth Charter.

Other contributions to the programme were a presentation by Jan Pronk on the actual relevance of the Earth Charter. For this purpose an article was written by him and Annick de Witt, which we hope to publish in the Dutch media shortly. Jan Pronk inspired us all with his personal vision on The Way Forward, for which he stated the Earth Charter document is as urgent and valid as ever before. Awraham Soetendorp built on that, and he brought to our memories all Earth Charter Commissioners who were part of the initiative from the beginning and an inspiration to us all, but passed away. 

A very special contribution was given by Mirian Vilela with a personal video message to all friends of the Earth Charter in The Netherlands. Her message was filmed in front of the Earth Charter Education Centre, which is built thanks to the vision of late Earth Charter Commissioner Ruud Lubbers. The evening meeting was very moving, and we all realized that although we could not touch each other, we were able to create a warm connection and prepared the ground for continued and re-energized motivation to bring the Earth Charter to life in all our daily actions and reflections for the years to come. 

Down to Earth film – EC+20 SPECIAL GIFT

One of the partners of Earth Charter The Netherlands is Down to Earth – the Collective. At the occasion of 20 years Earth Charter, they offer all friends of the Earth Charter worldwide a special gift, with the following message:

To celebrate our 20 year anniversary we would like to gift the film DOWN to EARTH to all Earth Charter friends worldwide. It is very much aligned with the Earth Charter slogan ‘Turning Conscience into Action’.

If there is one journey you should go on this summer, it’s this one. Down to Earth is an award-winning film taking you on a journey to visit the Earth Keepers, the wisdom teachers around the world who hold the keys to a better future. 

One summer
One journey
Time to listen
Time to act

The Earth Keepers foretold that the chaos in the world today is a sign that we are on the verge of a global transformation, moving into a new era of peace and balance with ourselves, with each other and with planet Earth. This is our time to rise, collectively, people of all colours and all backgrounds coming together to create a change. This is the time of People-Powered Change.

You can watch the movie for free before it is being launched globally on 16 July. 

Use the following password to watch the film for free:  Dt3J0urney2o2o