Urgent Call for Climate Justice – Earth Charter Gathering 2 September 2021 in The Netherlands

On 2 September, some 70 engaged and concerned Earth Charter Friends and partner organizations gathered for an event on Climate Justice at Landgoed Zonheuvel in Doorn. This is where the Earth Charter Affiliate in The Netherlands has taken new roots. The purpose of the event was to celebrate Earth Charter Day 2021 (this event was supposed to take place on the historic date of 29 June, but had to be postponed due to covid 19) and to give a clear message to the Dutch delegation to the UN Climate Summit which will take place in Glasgow in November 2021.

The event started with a Future Proof lunch, which is a good example of a sustainable lifestyle. The food was created as a result of implementing principles such as: plant oriented and no waste.

Inspiring speakers at the event were Kathleen Ferrier (Chairperson UNESCO Committee The Netherlands) and Bram van Ojik (Politician for the GreenLeft and Former Ambassador in Benin). Kathleen Ferrier stressed the relevance of ethics in leadership and of a holistic vision. She recalled the recent UNESCO resolution on the relevance of the Earth Charter for education for sustainability. Bram van Ojik pointed out that the main changes needed to achieve climate justice are systemic and related to limits to growth. He warned participants not to criticize each other too much on whether they eat less meat or take a plane once in a while. Better laws and regulations should come from political change. What is needed is a deep conversation on what we mean by a good life. 

 Jan Pronk, chairperson of Earth Charter The Netherlands and former minister for International Cooperation and also the Environment, called upon all participants to follow politicians, ask them critical questions, not to give up and find ways to take climate action. In addition, to relate climate action to other topical issues such as a fair refugee policy. 

Participants were invited to reflect on the following questions:

  • What gives you hope?
  • What is the meaning of Climate Justice to you?
  • What is your promise to Mother Earth?
  • What could be The following questions…

The youth participants, in particular, expressed that they are not hopeful. They called for urgent climate action and no further delay. A representative of Extinction Rebellion clarified that he and many other young people around him feel great fear for the future. We have passed several climate tipping points and dangerous climate change is already happening. We need a complete system change, including sustainable lifestyles.

Brendan Mackey, member of the Earth Charter International Council and climate scientist from Australia, also reflected on the questions. You can read his response here on the website of Earth Charter International. What would your response be?