Written by Earth Charter Young Leaders: Danelia Zúñiga Alvarado, Catalina Gómez Vives, Sofía Mendoza Aguilar and Dennis Perez Umaña
One of the lines of action of the Earth Charter initiative is aimed at children and young people of different ages, from school students to university students so that they are linked and have an awareness of the importance of acting for sustainable development and the care of our community of life.
As part of the actions of the Earth Charter Young Leaders Network and in order to promote the growth of this global civil society, facilitators Danelia Zúñiga Alvarado, Catalina Gómez Vives, Sofía Mendoza Aguilar and Dennis Perez Umaña have developed different workshops in educational centers in order to teach the importance of the Earth Charter for society.
One of the workshops “What is the Earth Charter”, was carried out with students from the International Relations department of the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. The objective was to present the Earth Charter to the participants, to raise awareness on the theme of sustainable development and to make visible the capacity of action each one carries from their area of professional development.
This workshop was attended by 16 people and had four main activities, such as the presentation of the essence of the Earth Charter, small group analysis, relationship between Geomorphosites and the Earth Charter, and a final reflection with the identification of an individual commitment for action.
Students from International Relations working in groups on the pillars of Earth Charter
The students showed a lot of interest and among the achievements of the workshop, some ideas and proposals related to the Earth Charter principles were highlighted. For example: participation in talks or activities related to the environment, the promotion sustainable development through art and culture, using mass media to disseminate awareness, supporting educational processes for vulnerable communities through volunteering, supporting the work of the organization of the Earth Charter through community work, and care of the scenic beauty that this country offers.
During the Earth Day celebration, organized by the School of Geographic Sciences of the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (UNA) on 20 April, an activity was carried out where some reflective questions were asked to the people participating in the activity. These questions were based on the principles of the Earth Charter. The goal was to write a message on a poster to create a mural to decorate the School of Geographic Sciences during the celebration.
Left: Geography students giving their contribution to the poster. Right: Poster exhibited at the UNA Geographic Sciences Department during the Earth Day celebration
Another of the activities carried out was the workshop entitled “Earth Charter, Conservation and Ecological Blue Flag”, carried out at the Neftali Villalobos School in San Pablo de Heredia, which had the collaboration of Yariela Campos Blanco, a Geography student from UNA. This school focuses on caring for the environment and seeks to teach students the care they must have for our environment, from the reduction of water costs to the classification of solid waste.
The activity counted on 45 students from fourth to sixth grade of the institution and the methodology consisted of a presentation by the exhibitors and contributions of the students, from consultations to comments during the exhibitions.
The Earth Charter and its importance was explained, in addition to the relevance of conservation to protect the environment. Examples were given with animals in danger of extinction such as the Jaguar. The school was awarded the Ecological Blue Flag for its environmentally-friendly practices, students were given an explanation of the importance of this award also serving as a reminder that these practices need to also be taken to their homes. Carlos Araya of the Sustainable Campus of the UNA developed an activity on the separation of solid wastes where students participated and enriched their knowledge in this area.
“Individual actions often seem insufficient to us in the light of the great challenges that we have as a global society, however, we must maintain the motivation because every small positive change that we generate produces a chain effect impossible to stop, even if we do not perceive it this way, this allows us to move towards a more just, peaceful and sustainable society as the Earth Charter proclaims. ” -Catalina Gómez Vives
“The Earth Charter must be made known to the population to understand the importance of caring for the environment. Sharing with school and university students helps them reflect and learn about the role of the Earth Charter in order for the students to carry a message home, they recognize the damages that are made against the environment and can explain that those actions should not be committed. The message to university students is that during their education they should remember the Principles of the Earth Charter to be guidelines that help create a better world for all. Trying to incorporate the theme of geomorphosites with the Earth Charter is an initiative that I have been working on. Since there are many natural environments that are important to many people, such as beaches or volcanoes, these must also be protected. It is important that we raise awareness of these areas so that people know that when we try to take care of the environment, we not only talk about the forest, but also a whole system that surrounds us, a system of which we are a part of. ” -Dennis Perez Umaña.
“We must realize that once basic needs are met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more.” -The Coming Challenges, Earth Charter