Education Archives - Earth Charter

A Graduate Course in Education Using the Earth Charter

By Sam Crowell

I just completed teaching an intensive two-week graduate course at Saint Michael’s College entitled Shaping the Future: Educating forShaping the future 3 Mindful, Sustainable, and Global Citizenship. Located in Colchester, Vermont, we took advantage of the beautiful campus landscape and extended the classroom to include the sun and sky, the towering trees, multi-colored gardens, and the solitude of open spaces. An “emergent assignment” invited students on their own time to explore the natural world noticing mindfully the five basic patterns of Nature – spiral, branching, meandering curved lines, hexagons, and creative bursts. On the last day of class students prepared an inspiring and emotional closing celebration that included a gallery of their created sculptures that depicted these patterns and an artist statement that addressed the symbolic meaning behind their sculptures. It was amazing.

The course was designed to explore how planetary and global citizenship are forms of civic learning and necessarily include themes such as peace and human rights, intercultural understanding, respect for diversity and inclusiveness. Central to understanding the values behind these themes is the Earth Charter which was a central focus of attention.

As a graduate course in education, we used the Earth Charter, my two e-books on Earth Charter Pedagogy, Catherine O’Brien’s book on Sustainable Happiness, and Jane Cull’s The Circularity of Life which builds on the ideas of Humberto Maturana. Sustainable Development Goal 4.7 was the organizing “container” that held disparate themes and ideas together.

Also integrated into the content of this course was a basic understanding and practice of mindfulness and how it can relate to sustainability. Part of mindful awareness is helping students develop the capacity to positively influence and create personal futures that can benefit the world – lives that not only are rooted in foundational intellectual sills, but also oriented toward caring, compassion and love. Transformative learning necessarily shifts the nature of one’s consciousness. Learning to use our awareness to see how we focus attention on fragmentation and linear, hierarchical structures instead of connected, open, interwoven wholes is central to internalizing the worldview represented by the Earth Charter and the new cosmic story of our time.

The assumptions of Connectedness, Relationship, Caring, and Systems Thinking were woven into the intellectual and experiential fabric of the course. It modeled the pedagogy of embodied cognition, experiential learning, multi-sensory materials, and group interaction. Perhaps more importantly though, there was a strong sense of community. Group participation and responsibility were embraced. Also present was a willingness to deeply process non-linear experience and apply new knowledge and insights to real situations.

Perhaps the students can articulate it best:

– “What this course instilled in me is the notion that I am not alone in believing ‘kinship with all life’ is vital if we are to continue to not only live but thrive on our shared Earth.”

– “I am inspired to practice the values of the Earth Charter in my own life and help instill them in my students.”

-“This course has helped my see my own truth, be a part of what I am ‘seeing’, and feel connected to the larger context.”

-“This sense of interconnectedness has profoundly impacted me. I believe it can have the same impact on my students.”

– “I intend to be a more active participant in healing our world.”

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Exploring the Earth Charter for Kindergarten and Daycare in Germany

Germany Kindergarden“Many good ideas were developed”, said Alana Breščanović, Kita-Global head of projects and instructor for prospective early education teachers. Together with 31 early education students, she created ideas on how to translate the Earth Charter themes and values into practice. After the students were introduced to the content, history, and concerns of the Earth Charter they also learned about its four pillars and 16 principles. Many ideas came together when the students planned their Earth Charter action projects on how to use the Earth Charter in a playful way in daycare, kindergarten and preschool.

Alana initiated the workshop and facilitated it together with Ulrike Berghahn an Earth Charter champion from Germany. “The students were motivated and were very engaged. Unfortunately, we only had 4 hours. We could have easily spent the whole day or even a week.” reflected Alana after the students presentations. Soon the students will finish the schoolwork of their vocational training and enter the practice phase, the last year of their education. Then they can test their ideas in practice and bring education for sustainable development with the Earth Charter to their new workplaces.
90 early education students were introduced to the Earth Charter at the technical college for social welfare of the deaconesses Speyer/Mannheim in the last two years.

More project ideas can be viewed here in german here.

This article was adapted from an article previously published on
“KITA-GLOBAL” is an online platform to collect and share ideas, materials and good practices on Education for Sustainable Development for early childhood educators.


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Online Certificate on Education for Sustainable Development

How to teach Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship – #SDG4.7
15 January – 24 June 2020

Online Certificate 2020 early birdRegistration is now open for the 2020 Online Certificate Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. Click here to apply!

The United Nations 2030 Agenda organized around the Sustainable Development Goals has a specific Goal 4 dedicated to education. Target 7 of this goal is very specific, it states that, all learners should “acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.”

It is clear that education plays a central role for the effective implementation of all SDGs. To accomplish this a transformative pedagogy is needed; an innovative pedagogy that informs and empowers learners to accept their role as planetary citizens who can create new ways of being and new institutions that benefit all.

The Earth Charter Education Center offers an Online Programme that features a values-oriented, holistic approach that promotes a shift in perceptual worldviews and ethical action. This six-month programme has the purpose to strengthen the knowledge, skills, and abilities of educators to implement Education for Sustainable Development and Education for Global Citizenship through the lenses of the Earth Charter.

This UNESCO Chair on ESD with the Earth Charter Programme will provide a space of dialogue using transformative learning pedagogical processes that respond to the new guidance and educational needs of today.

Register before 22 November and take advantage of a 10% early bird discount.

Download the Programme’s brochure.

For more information contact


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Global Village School and the Earth Charter

GVS students exploring the world

GVS is at the forefront of progressive, values-oriented education

Global Village School (GVS) is a fully accredited (WASC) international homeschool/private school hybrid founded in 1999. Our student-centered framework and emphasis on peace, justice, diversity, and sustainability set us apart. GVS collaborates with families around the globe to create engaging, creative, flexible, and personalized learning experiences. We adapt our homeschool curriculum to our students, empowering them to pursue their goals in a way that prepares them for their next steps in life, building on their strengths and talents while staying true to who they are. We help families nurture and protect the passion and enthusiasm for creating a better world that comes so naturally to many young people. Students learn what it means to lead authentic and meaningful lives; they leave GVS confident in their ability to make an impact on the world. As of mid-2019, we have worked with hundreds of families in 48 states and over 50 countries. Read about a few of our exceptional graduates here:

The Synergy Between GVS & the Earth Charter

Founding Director Sally Carless recalls, “The Earth Charter is so very much in line with what GVS is about. When I first read it my reaction was, ‘Well. There it is. If everyone followed what’s in this document, then we and our planet would be ok.’” When we created the K-8 Whole Child, Healthy Planet curriculum guides in 2009, we saw an opportunity to articulate how the Earth Charter is aligned with Global Village School’s values while exposing the Charter to a wider audience (many families use the curriculum on their own, without enrolling). A copy is included in each guide, and resources and activities are linked to the core commitments of the Earth Charter: Respect & Care for the Community of Life, Ecological Integrity, Social & Economic Justice, and Democracy, Nonviolence, & Peace.

Meaningful content is great, but teaching doesn’t end there. Our educational philosophy guides teachers’ instruction and staff interactions with families. From the moment students enroll with GVS, they are treated with respect and encouraged to cultivate their spirits and passions to share with their communities. The guides engage students in ways that align with the spirit of the Earth Charter, as families are ushered through a broad exploration of the “pale blue dot,” with activities designed to invoke a sense of enchantment, wonder, and empathy as they explore art, music, nature, imagination, and story. These explorations help each family discover unique ways to be of service in our shared world.

The GVS high school program wasn’t written with the Earth Charter in mind, but it is very much aligned. Courses like Literature of Diversity, Planetary Stewardship, and History of Civil Rights in the U.S. are just a few examples. Global Citizenship concepts are also woven into courses that sound standard but are anything but. In Economics, high school students grapple with questions that provoke a dialogue on issues of social and economic justice: Students take a deep dive into the history of so-called “underdeveloped,” (really overexploited) countries, reckon with the ethics of consumerism, explore the design of international monetary policies, and examine the true costs market economies extract from our biosphere—from human happiness and potential, to natural resources, and our animal friends.

Sustainability is not just a value we consciously promote through our curriculum; it is one of the driving factors guiding the development of the school. From the beginning, our staff have worked part time in order to reserve energy to pursue personal passions and service work. The Earth Charter is a beautiful framework which naturally aligns with Global Village School. Through this synergistic relationship, we envision further development of a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

Global Village School:

Global Village School

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EC International Education Conference 2019 Report

BannerThe Conference Report for the 2019 Earth Charter International Education Conference: Leading the Way to Sustainability 2030 is now available. The Conference was hosted by the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development at University for Peace, with the support of World of Walas and Soka Gakkai International, from 29 to 31 January. More than 100 participants from 18 countries attended this conference and had the opportunity to share educational experiences and discuss pedagogical approaches focused on sustainable development and global citizenship.

The report summarizes the 66 presentations given by presenters from over 10 different countries. Due to this rich cultural diversity, the conference was held in English and Spanish and divided into nine plenary sessions and four categories of parallel sessions. The presenters came from different educational fields such as school education, higher education, and non-formal education. In addition, we counted on the participation of presenters from the fields of local government, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and UNESCO.

We invite you to read the report to learn more about the work being done to contribute to the advancements in education for sustainable development by members of the Earth Charter Network as well as those who were new to this community.

Access the report here.

You can read more about the Education Conference here.

To view pictures of the Conference click here.

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From the classroom to the whole town

Students from the Marianum School act for insect wellbeing in the town of Warburg, Germany

Thirteen ninth grade students developed ideas about how insects could feel better in their town, Warburg. The concept was created in the Earth Charter project week, themed around diversity, last summer.

On 15 November 2018 three students handed over their project results to the Mayor of Warburg, Michael Stickeln. Ulrike Berghahn represented the German Earth Charter Affiliate during the festive handing over of results.

In the report the students describe the reasons for the insect dying such as insecticides, loss of blooming plants and night lighting. The students emphasized the need for action and presented the recommendations from their project designs: the planting of blooming plants, the stop of using pesticides and night lighting as well as encouraging the consumption of organic foods are also viable in Warburg.

Warburg’s Mayor agreed to many points made by the students and invited them to join the Town’s Council Meeting where they presented again in May this year. The Town Council is currently checking the feasibility of the students improvement proposals for further implementation.

The Marianum School Warburg considers to be an Earth Charter School since two years ago and has since realized numerous Earth Charter projects. We are happy to hear about project that bring the Earth Charter to life and congratulate the students for this great project. We are also very happy to hear about the interest of Warburg town in the Earth Charter and the cooperation between the school with the municipality.

(This article is adapted from an article previously publishes in the German Earth Charter affiliate’s OIEW magazine “Initiative”)

Stundents of the Earth Charter School fight against insect dying: The mayor of Warburg Michel Stickeln supports the project results, which where presented to him by Elias Viefhues, Paul Justicz und Julius Hoffmann. Ulrike Berghahn (ÖIEW-board), the biology teacher Hans Jurczyk, as well as school headmaster Frank Scholle, are present at the handing over. Foto: NW/Anna-Lena Ryczek

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Earth Charter International and Martin Luther University College Join Forces to Foster Global Citizenship

With the arrival of summer, we welcome a new partnership between Earth Charter International and Martin Luther University College in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. With both organizations working in the field of quality and value-based education for peace and sustainability, and their dedication to forming leaders and broadening worldviews, we are convinced this official connection will lead to great collaboration.

Through the partnership, students and faculty of Luther will have access to the Earth Charter materials, which they can use to implement value-creating education in their university college. Luther will use the principles of the Earth Charter for planning and creating education that contributes to the college’s vision to inspire lives of meaning and services in God’s world by inviting spirituality to accompany academic curiosity.

Luther’s Principal-Dean Rev. Dr. Mark W. Harris says, “Martin Luther University College, which is federated with Wilfrid Laurier University, recognizes the Earth Charter as a ‘global consensus statement on the meaning of sustainability, as a reference document in the development of global standards and codes of ethics, as a community development tool, and as an educational framework of sustainable development.’ ”

“Partnering with Martin Luther University College, an organization committed to make the world a better place through education, as well as to the Earth Charter,” said Earth Charter Executive Director Marian Vilela, “makes it possible to reach faculty and students and help them in their professional development to support the transition to peaceful and sustainable ways of living.”

For more information, contact Irma Verhoeven at or Mary Philip a.k.a. Joy at


ECIMartin Luther University College






About Earth Charter
The Earth Charter is an ethical framework for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations. The Earth Charter provides a valuable educational instrument. It encourages to search for common ground in the midst of our diversity and to embrace a global ethic that is shared by an ever-growing number of people.

About Martin Luther University College
At Martin Luther University College, students discover a rich social and learning environment: the close-knit community of a small college, the diversity of a dynamic city, and all the amenities of an excellent university. Luther is federated with, and is the founding institution of, Wilfrid Laurier University. The academic programming offers undergraduate, graduate and graduate diploma opportunities.

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Publication about Green Schools in Argentina

Escuelas Verdes Buenos Aires

The Ministry of Education and Innovation in the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has published the book: Green Schools that Inspire. In this publication, they have highlighted the Earth Charter as an instrument that “invites us to think of ourselves as one terrestrial community with one common destiny.” With this premise, they generated several axes of work related to the construction of a sustainable global community beginning in schools.

The publication highlights methodologies used in educational centers to become Green Schools, in addition to achievements in schools in Buenos Aires.

You can download this publication here. (Available in Spanish)


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Belgium primary school ‘De Sterrebloem’ endorses the Earth Charter

rotatedTo celebrate its 10-year anniversary, the primary experienced-based school ‘De Sterrebloem’ in Belgium organized an inspiration day on Sustainable Development on Sunday 28 April. Teacher Ellen de Dapper phrased it like this: ‘There is no greater present for the birthday of the Sterrebloem than an Earth where everyone has a good life, as well as the generations to come.’  The eighty participants experienced a try-out of the end of the world by eco-comedian Steven Vromman. At the same time their resilience for a hopeful future was tested. In the afternoon the participants started a dialogue among themselves and the planet. Issues like meaningful agriculture-education and deliberative democracy were discussed as answers for social challenges.

The children of the school created video messages to emphasize their environmental engagement and reminded the participants about the fact they only borrow the Earth from their children. Joren (8 years old) said: ‘Why do grown-ups treat the earth so bad? Don’t they understand they are part of it?’

The day ended by signing the endorsement of the Earth Charter through which the school reinforced their social responsibility. The school created a beautiful interpretation of the Earth Charter for the children and use it to actively put the Charter into action.


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Congratulations to the winners of the XII Federico Mayor Zaragoza Award

On Saturday 16 March the ceremony for the XII Federico Mayor Zaragoza Award, organized by the Association of the Tortosa Friends of UNESCO, took place at the Felip Pedrell Auditorium of Tortosa.

The event was chaired by Mr. Federico Mayor Zaragoza during which he gave a lecture entitled “Global Challenges, Global and On Time Responses.”

Federico Mayor Zaragoza 1

With the slogan “Let’s Save the Planet: Let’s Act Now Because Tomorrow May Be Too Late!” the students produced short, two-minute films to promote the ecological values of the Earth Charter, the Sustainable Development Goals or the Terres de l’Ebre Biosphere Reserve.

Out of a total of 65 submissions from Catalonia, Mallorca, Reinosa, Santander and Zaragoza, the following educational centers were awarded: La Falguera School in Vilanova del Vallès, Calvià Institute in Santa Ponça (Mallorca), Torre Vicens Institute in Lleida, Quatre Cantons Institute in Barcelona, Els Alfacs de la Ràpita Institute, Root Institute, Cap Norfeu de Roses Institute, San José Niño Jesús de Reinosa School, Caparella Institute of Lleida, Flix Institute, Juniper Serra Institute of Palma de Mallorca and David Barreda, Marc Domenech, and Júlia Albaca in the other categories.

This year, as a novelty, the didactic proposal Implícate+ with the Federico Mayor Zaragoza Award was developed and shared through UNESCO Tortosa, XTEC and Implica’t+, to implement this contest into classrooms.

Federico Mayor Zaragoza 2

Teachers from the Implica’t+ project, Jordi Farrando, Maria del Mar Lluelles, and Toni Martin accompanied their students to collect three prizes corresponding to the categories:

Formative cycles and baccalaureate:
– 1st prize: Short film “Porta a porta” (Door to Door). Created by: Carlos Rivas, Joan Tartera and Raül Vaca from the Caparrella Institute in Lleida.
– 2nd prize: Short film “Prou excuses” (No More Excuses). Created by: Daniel Mendoza and Francesc Lluís Muñoz from the Caparrella Institute in Lleida.

Second ESO cycle:
–2nd prize: Short film “Protegim la Integritat Ecològica” (Protect the Ecological Integrity). Created by: Miriam Aguayo, Paula Foixench, Anna Miró and Didac Piqué from the Torre Vicens Institute in Lleida.

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Director of UNESCO Tortosa, Ms. Montse Esteve, for the excellent organization of this event and also to congratulate all the student winners.

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