Between 1998 and the year 2001, an Australian National Earth Charter Steering committee was very active and successful in encouraging broad-based participation and involvement in the Australian Earth Charter process. This organizing committee was comprised of innovative partnerships between environmental NGOs, social justice organizations, local governments, businesses, and industries. They met regularly during its first couple of years to coordinate efforts that would raise awareness about the Charter and focused mainly on generating educational materials and connecting with different groups across the country.
In February 1999, to encourage public participation, a National Earth Charter Forum was organized in Canberra at the Australian National University’s Center for Resource and Environmental Studies. During that time the Australian EC Committee also developed curricular material on Earth Charter themes for the Australian school system.
A number of other efforts were made, including a major Asia-Pacific EC Conference in Brisbane in December 2001.
The Earth Charter Australia Committee organized the Brisbane Peace Lecture in St. John’s Cathedral on 21 September 2013 during the United Nations International Day of Peace. The guest speaker was the Honorable Michael Kirby, international jurist and retired High Court Judge of Australia. Over 250 people attended the Lecture, which included a programme of choirs and musical performances.The President of EC Australia attended the Global Environment Integrity Group Conference in Costa Rica and visited Earth Charter International offices in Costa Rica. Plans were also undertaken for the EC Australia treasurer to attend one of the Education and Values Executive Programme, organized by EC Center for ESD in 2014. The goal of these visits is to increase capacity and generate projects to better promote the Earth Charter in Australia (mainly Brisbane), focusing on developing education programs for the Earth Charter Initiative.
On June 21st, 2005 the Australian Senate endorsed the Earth Charter with a motion stating, among other things, that the Senate:
- Recognizes and supports the Earth Charter as an important civil society contribution to our understanding of sustainable development and the ethics and principles needed to promote a more just, sustainable and peaceful world;
- Encourages the use of the Earth Charter by Federal and state educational authorities during the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
The Brink Expedition project was started in 2002. It consists of two adventurers visiting different schools and communities across Australia, as well as many other countries. They only use clean sources of energy, and they use the Earth Charter as an instrument to inspire people to live sustainably. More information here.
In 2003, the city of Joondalup applied the Earth Charter to its strategic planning process, as well as the city of Melbourne which envisions the city as thriving and sustainable by 2010. Also, the Australian artist Graeme Payne created an exhibition of sixteen paintings inspired by the principles of the Earth Charter.
The Minister for Education, Training and the Arts presented to the Queensland parliament the “Statement on Sustainability for All Queensland Schools – Enough for All forever” (12 March 2008). The statement complements the National Environmental Statement for Australian Schools – Educating for a Sustainable Future and builds on the commitment made at the 2006 Brisbane Earth Dialogues to integrate the Earth Charter and embed sustainability across school curricula and operations.
The Earth Charter Australia group is very active. They organized an EC+10 celebration in September 2010. Another very active affiliate is the Edmund Rice Centre, whose Pacific Calling Campaign has been using the Earth Charter as a framework for their actions. Besides the Affiliates, there are many other organizations and schools using the Earth Charter in this country, some examples in Queensland are: Wondai State School, HOPE Toowoomba, Pullenvale Environmental Education Centre, Yoga in Daily Life Australia, Multi-faith Centre – Griffith University and Queensland Academy of Creative Industries, among others.