This year, 9 young people from 7 different countries became Earth Charter Young Leaders (ECYL) after successfully completing the Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics (LSE) online course. The motivated young leaders in this group have made the commitment to remain engaged after the course by putting the Earth Charter principles into action in their local community as well as part of a global network. The members of this cohort include educators, students, activists, among other professions.
In order to successfully complete the LSE course, these participants logged into an online platform during ten weeks, where they got to know each other and shared experiences through discussion forums, weekly assignments, and real-time online meetings. During week 10 of the course, each participant implemented his or her own local workshop where they discussed topics such as sustainability, systems thinking, ethical decision-making, and the Earth Charter. These young leaders facilitated their workshops among their own networks, which included coworkers, students, and friends.
The new Earth Charter Young Leaders are now part of the Earth Charter Movement, and will contribute by continuing to implement local workshops, writing articles, and joining efforts to turn conscience into action. Here are some of the ways they plan to actively engage this year:
“I am planning on using this year to delve deeper into the Earth Charter’s connection to wildlife conservation. In particular, I plan on focusing on “the new Zoo” and its role as a source of information and conservation.” – Rachel Barfield, USA
“As an aspiring secondary school educator, I plan to fulfill my commitment to the Earth Charter by incorporating discussions of sustainability into my curricula and promoting environmental advocacy outside of the classroom. I am currently serving as an AmeriCorps member this year with City Year, whose mission is “to build democracy through citizen service, civic leadership, and social entrepreneurship”; I serve in a high-need middle school and work to address educational inequalities by supporting at-risk students. In this role, I also serve as an assistant head of the student-led climate change committee. I’m not yet certain where I’ll be working in the fall, but I plan to continue motivating students to engage in climate action and equipping them with the skills necessary to do so.” –Kyle Freiler, USA
“I hope to encourage people from all over the world in joining the Earth Charter movement by teaching them about sustainability issues. I am hoping to write many blog posts and maybe host a workshop to share the Earth Charter and give people tips and tricks on how to live more sustainable and critically engage with topics such as eco-tourism, plastic consumption and meat consumption.” –Jennifer-Justine Kirsch, Germany
“My plan is to spread the word and socialize the Earth Charter Principles among the Costa Rican youth. During the workshop I held as a part of completing the LSE course, I got to notice that school-aged children and teenagers are really interested in sustainable development, and that if we give them from an early age the tools to find integrative solutions (they loved systems thinking), they will come up with very creative ways to be leaders in their schools, families and within themselves! I’m really hopeful that I will use this year to facilitate workshops and several other activities that will help kids and teens, especially from low-income communities to be more active in the decision-making that surrounds them.” –Andrea Sécola, Venezuela/Costa Rica
Click here to read the full biographies of the ECYLs.