The 2nd National Meeting of Universities using the Earth Charter

The Second National Meeting of Universities using the Earth Charter was held from October 27-28, 2011 at the Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila in the city of Saltillo, Mexico. It brought together youth from various Mexican universities, including Ucpast (Coordinating Unit for Social Participation and Transparency) of Semarnat (Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat) which is currently the focal point of the Earth Charter in Mexico, under the leadership of Mateo Castillo. The main purpose of this meeting was to have the youth participants revise the Earth Charter, share experiences and come up with an adapted draft version of their own of the Earth Charter. The idea wasn’t to change the existing structure and layout of the Earth Charter, but to adapt certain words and phrases so that it is clearer to Mexican youth at large.

The Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila hosted a youth leadership panel where Earth Charter youth leaders had the opportunity to present their experiences on how they are using the Earth Charter as a framework in their personal and student lives. Professors from various universities and government officials from Mexico also presented their work and underlined the importance of incorporating the Earth Charter into their work.

Additionally, the rector Mario Alberto Ochoa Rivera expressed his gratitude to everyone and took the opportunity to announce that at the beginning of next year, with the collaboration of Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), the Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila was going to inaugurate “La Casa de la Tierra,” which is meant to bring about social consciousness in regards to how to relate with the environment and encourages students and faculty members to incorporate the Earth Charter into their lives and decision making processes.

The Universidad de Guanajuato also presented their results of an Earth Charter photography contest organized by students after conducting workshops throughout last year. In these workshops participants were asked to identify what Earth Charter values they felt were missing in their contexts and lives. Those missing values were: Love, Respect, Shared Responsibility, and Tolerance. Based on the results, the students organized a photo contest, where participants were asked to take pictures that represent these values.

This is the photograph that won, representing the value of Respect.