World Unity Week Session: “Radical Hope, World-affirming Spirituality, and Intergenerational Action: The Earth Charter Vision.”

12:00–2:00 P.M.

Session Hosts and Co-Hosts:
Amanda Bennett, Peter Blaze Corcoran, Sam Crowell, Alicia Jimenez, and Brielle Ruiz

Session Description:
Crafted by visionaries twenty years ago, the Earth Charter is a document with sixteen principles that resulted from a decade-long, global participatory consultation process. It seeks to inspire in all people 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. It is a vision of hope and a call to action.
The purpose of the webinar is to provide a substantive introduction and overview of the Earth Charter. The underlying question is “of what value might the Earth Charter be for individuals and organizations at this critical moment?”
Speakers will also comment on the relevance of the Earth Charter as it applies to the current context of accelerated change, complexity and uncertainty. Jimenez will talk about the Earth Charter as a document and movement. Bennett will bring a youth perspective of the Earth
Charter and how young people have been using it. Crowell will reflect on the educational and spiritual dimensions of the Earth Charter. Corcoran will explore the Earth Charter’s efficacy through:

  1. radical hope based on prophetic imagination and unconditional love
  2. world-affirming spirituality rooted in indigenous ecological wisdom
  3. intergenerational action following from the principle of intergenerational equity and arising from the need for intergenerational collaboration.

The webinar will be exploratory and participatory to the greatest extent possible within
the format.

I. Welcome and acknowledgements — Peter Blaze Corcoran
II. Opening activity: The Earth Charter and “Owning the Imperatives: A Poem for the Earth Charter,” an intercalated reading — Brielle Ruiz and Peter Blaze Corcoran
III. Brief history and description of the Earth Charter — Alicia Jimenez
IV. Youth engagement with the Earth Charter — Amanda Bennett
V. Reflection on the educational and spiritual dimensions of the Earth Charter — Sam Crowell
VI. “Radical Hope, World-affirming Spirituality, and Intergenerational Action: The Earth Charter Vision”, a brief talk — Peter Blaze Corcoran
VII. Discussion — All
VIII. Closing comments and benediction — Peter Blaze Corcoran

Resources and materials:

  1. The Earth Charter
  2. Earth Charter website
  3. Earth Charter Bibliography
  4. Steven C. Rockefeller on the relevance of the Earth Charter
  5. Steven C. Rockefeller on the greater purpose of the Earth Charter
  6. Jimenez, A. & Vilela, M. (Eds.). (2017). Voices of the Earth Charter Initiative Responding to Laudato Si’ . Quesada, Costa Rica: Universidad Técnica Nacional.
  7. https://earthcharter.org/get-involved/interfaith-dialogue/
  8. Corcoran, P.B. (Ed.). (2005). The Earth Charter in Action: Toward A Sustainable World. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) Publishers. Available at https://earthcharter.org/library/the-earth-charter-in-action-toward-a-sustainable-development-english/
  9. Corcoran, P. B. & Wohlpart, A. J. (Eds.). (2008). A Voice for Earth: American Writers Respond to the Earth Charter. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press.

Amanda Bennett is the Project Assistant and Youth Programme Coordinator at the ECI Secretariat and the Center for Education for Sustainable Development at UPEACE. She was born in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, and grew up in South Carolina, United States. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Experimental Psychology at the University of South Carolina, and a Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Maryland. While studying in Maryland, Amanda interned at the National Center for Healthy Housing and the Fundred Dollar Bill Project. After graduating, she moved back to Costa Rica and taught English in San José and briefly in Cusco, Peru. Amanda
enjoys being back in Costa Rica and visiting its beautiful national parks, beaches, and towns.

Dr. Peter Blaze Corcoran is Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies and Environmental Education at Florida Gulf Coast University. He has been a Faculty Member at College of the Atlantic, Swarthmore College, and Bates College and has held appointments as a Visiting Professor at universities in Australia, the Netherlands, Fiji, Malaysia, and Kenya. He serves as a
Research Fellow at the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development at University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica. New posts since his recent retirement include appointments as Adjunct Professor of Environmental and Sustainability Education at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia; Senior Fellow at the International
Council on Environmental Economics and Development in New York City; and Senior Advisor at Unity Earth Center in Melbourne, Australia. His recent books include Envisioning Futures for Environmental and Sustainability Education , Wageningen Academic Publishers (2017), and
Intergenerational Learning and Transformative Leadership for Sustainable Futures , Wageningen Academic Publishers (2014).

Sam Crowell is professor of education at California State University, San Bernardino and founder and co-director of the MA in Holistic and Integrative Education. The program has been recognized nationally as a model of transformative learning in a study funded by the Fetzer Foundation and published in the Journal for Transformative Education. The program has produced five educators who have been recognized as teacher-of-the-year, with just ten cohorts having graduated.

Alicia Jiménez is Director of Programmes at the Earth Charter International (ECI) Secretariat in Costa Rica. She is a biologist from the University of Costa Rica, with a MSc in Resource Development from Michigan State University in the United States. Since 1998, she has been working in the field of conservation and sustainable development. She worked in the IUCN
Mesoamerica’s Regional Office and the National University of Costa Rica, and has been involved as a visiting professor at the University for Peace. In 2006, she joined the ECI, where she oversees the Earth Charter work especially in Latin America, Africa & the Middle East and Asia Pacific. In addition, she is involved with the Secretariat’s projects on education for
sustainable development, facilitating courses and workshops.

Brielle Ruiz is a senior Environmental Studies major at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida where she was first introduced to the Earth Charter. She is Executive Assistant to Dr. Peter Blaze Corcoran. She has served as Co-facilitator of TOGETHER–A Way Forward, an environmental interfaith initiative on the barrier islands of Southwest Florida.