New book released in Japan entitled “Examining the Roots, Purpose and Development of the Earth Charter and Envisioning its Prospects: An Analysis of the Earth Charter and the Origins of the SDGs

1 January 2023

A broad set of treatises on the Earth Charter was published in Japanese from a major publishing house (SANSEIDO) in Tokyo in November 2022. It is the product of a collaborative work of the members of the Japanese Earth Charter Committee (Earth Charter Japan). Against the background of the expanding complex emergency arising from the acute global environmental challenges, the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, the sudden Russian military invasion of Ukraine and the intensification of the global battle for hegemony between the United States and China, a consensus emerged, in the spring of 2022, among Japanese opinion leaders, members of Earth Charter Japan, that it should be useful to provide a perspective of the Earth Charter to deepen the understanding of where we are in the world community and where we should be heading .

The book starts with two introductory chapters (one by Prof. Hirono and another by Mme. Hironaka) that emphasize the importance of learning from the experiences and the substance of the Earth Charter. It outlines the history of the Earth Charter, provides the background of its foundations, and emphasizes its unequivocal importance for the humanity in the coming successive generations.

The book is organized as follow:

Part One – What is the Earth Charter? (consisting of six chapters)

1. The Earth Charter and Me, Mme. Hironaka

2. The Permanent Cultural Revolution and the Earth Charter, Catalytic Functions of the Earth Charter, Dr. Takahashi

3. Origins of the Earth Charter, Looking Back on the Earth Summit: 50 years from Stockholm and 30 years from Rio, Prof. Matsushita 

4. The UN Conference on Human Environment; Examining the Emergence of Interlinked Principles on Environment and Development in the Past Half a Century, Prof. Takeuchi

5. The Earth Charter and the SDGs; In Relation to Forests, Coal and De-carbonization, Prof. Takeuchi

6. Toward a Sustainable and Just Planetary Community in the Future, Prof. Matsushita

Part Two – Expanding Activities Along the Lines of the Earth Charter (consisting of seven chapters) – deals with a selection of activities in Japan and in the world.

7. Youth, Prof. Kuyama

8. Local Governments, Prof. Takeuchi

9. Sustainable Society and Business Enterprises, Mr. Arima

10. Collaborative Networks in International Education, Prof. Sugimura

11. Exercising ESD; Centers in the Chubu region, Prof. Takeuchi

12. The Olympics/Paralympics and the Earth Chater, Mr. Tanaka

13. Earth Chater Musicals, Mme. Koike

Part Three – New Roles and Functions of the Earth Charter (consisting of five chapters) – looks into the emerging or possible roles and functions of the Earth Charter in the world community or in Japan in the coming period.

14. The World Community in the Post-COVID-19 and Post-Putin’s War Period; A Vision Emerging from the Earth Charter, Dr. Takahashi 

15. Importance of an Integrated Approach to the Earth Charter and ESD for the World Now, Prof. Yokoi

16. Toward Inclusive Global Governance for the Prevention of Conflicts and Disasters in the Post-Covid-19 World, Prof. Inomata

17. Planetary Well-being Indices of the Earth Charter International, Dr. Takahashi

18. Principles Employing such Hi-techs as AI, Digital Devices and Genomic Technology, Prof. Takeuchi 

Part Four explains the Earth Charter mainly for pre-college young people.

A postscript is a eulogy in memory of Mr. Gorbachev, a world statesman and one of the leaders of the Earth Charter movement by Mme. Hironaka.

Four documents are in the Appendix: The Earth Charter (2000), The United Nations Declaration on Human Environment (1972), The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992) and The SDGs (2015).

A preparatory process will begin in January 2023 for organizing a symposium celebrating the publications of this book and the Japanese translation of the book on ESD edited by Dr. Mirian Vilela in the spring period of 2023.

The publication of this book marks the period when Mme. Hironaka took the leadership of the Earth Charter Movement in Japan and provides a basis for the next stage for this Movement. The symposium in the spring of 2023 is expected to kick start the new stage for the movement in Japan possibly in collaboration with Earth Charter communities across the world.