Professor Sam Crowell reflects on his course at The Earth Charter Center for ESD

The Gift

by Sam Crowell

DSC00608Pablo Picasso is said to have written, “The meaning of life is to find one’s gift; the purpose of life is to give it away.” To share one’s gifts is to be fully alive. Bringing our creative energies into the world in a way that informs and benefits human and natural communities of life is a way to amplify their power.Through the connective, systemic web of existence, every life makes a difference. May each of us “affirm the interdependent principles of the Earth Charter toward a sustainable way of life” (EC) and find ways to use our gifts for the benefit of others.

This July, I was privileged again to co-teach a course with Mirian Vilela on Education, Ethics, and Values for Sustainability. Each time I teach this course I find myself inspired by the stories, lives, and expertise of the participants.

Over the past four years at least 20 countries have been represented including Jordan, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Switzerland, the Netherlands, England, France, Australia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Ghana, United States, Canada, Mexico, Romania, and Costa Rica. From teachers and principals, to professors, consultants, NGO directors, staff developers, graduate students and volunteer activists, the impact each person makes on the world is a valuable gift.

DSC02958The epilogue of the Earth Charter ends by affirming “the joyful celebration of life.” I would like to affirm and celebrate the lives of the participants of these courses and invite others to join them as alumni.

Next year’s course on Education, Ethics, and Values for Centro CT peqSustainability: Transformative Teaching and Learning with the Earth Charter  will be held at the Earth Charter Center on the beautiful campus of the University for Peace in Costa Rica on July 2-6, 2018. I hope you will be a part of the Earth Charter family who finds new and creative ways to bring the values of the Earth Charter alive in their schools and organizations.

The Earth Charter gives us hope that together we can forge inclusive solutions as we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature (Preamble). Joining our gifts as an Earth Charter community is a purposeful way to enhance the meaning and significance of our lives.