Over the past two weeks, Medcom has been releasing each session of the Earth Charter Webinar Series. The Series is meant to not only spread the positive and connecting message of the Earth Charter and its four pillars but to also hear about them from thought leaders around the world.
Earth Charter International is an organization that cultivates a global network of people creating enthusiastic local action to make the world a better place. ECI also offers a globally renowned education center that teaches online and in-person classes about leadership, sustainability, and ethics. These courses use the Earth Charter document as a guide. The inspirational principles incorporated in this document are the heart of ECI as well as the Earth Charter movement. The Earth Charter document is made up of four pillars that describe in detail how to make the world a more just, sustainable, and peaceful place. The four pillars are: Respect and Care for the Community of Life, Ecological Integrity, Social and Economic Justice, and Democracy, Nonviolence, and Peace.
The guests in the first webinar are Gerben van Straaten and Irma Verhoeven. Gerben van Straaten is the founder of World of Walas in the Netherlands. World of Walas is an Earth Charter Partner and works to provide dynamic sustainable urban developments in Europe and North America. Walas projects focus on real estate and constructive development but, of equal importance, they incorporate an integrative foundation for the social, economic, cultural, and ecological systems within each community. In the webinar, Gerben is interviewed by Irma. Irma brings a scientific and educational background to the World of Walas organization. She has worked closely with Earth Charter International for years, helping to build the education center and facilitating online courses.
The first pillar of the Earth Charter is, Respect and Care for the Community of Life. This pillar is then broken down into four principles within the Earth Charter pillar.
- Respect Earth and life in all its diversity
- Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love
- Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable, and peaceful
- Secure Earth’s bounty and beauty for present and future generations
To speak on this pillar and these principles, our guest for this webinar was Lench Archuleta. Lench Archuleta is a Yaqui Native American and Traditional Native Healer from Southern Arizona who has helped individuals and groups in the Sonoran Desert for over thirty years. He has worked with numerous Native American Nations and has fifteen years of experience as an advisor for the Department of Defense on Ethics and Human Relations with an emphasis on Native American traditions and philosophies.
The second pillar of the Earth Charter is Ecological Integrity. The four principles that fall under this pillar are listed below.
- Protect and restore the integrity of Earth’s ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life
- Prevent harm as the best method of environmental protection and, when knowledge is limited, apply the precautionary approach
- Adopt patterns of production, consumption, and reproduction that safeguard Earth’s regenerative capacities, human rights, and community well-being
- Advance the study of ecological sustainability and promote the open exchange and wide application of the knowledge required
To expand on, and explain, this pillar in this webinar we have Dr. Chris Beehner. Dr. Beehner is a professor at Seminole State College in the Bachelor of Science in Business and Information Management program. He teaches classes on Sustainable Business at the college as well as online for the Earth Charter Education Center. He has written two books on the topic. His first book was released in the fall of 2018 titled: Spirituality, Sustainability, and Success: Concepts and Cases. His second book was released in December of last year titled: System Leadership for Sustainability.
The third pillar is Social and Economic Justice, with these four principles that fall underneath it.
- Eradicate poverty as an ethical, social, and environmental imperative
- Ensure that economic activities and institutions at all levels promote human development in an equitable and sustainable manner
- Affirm gender equality and equity as prerequisites to sustainable development and ensure universal access to education, health care, and economic opportunity
- Uphold the right of all, without discrimination, to a natural and social environment supportive of human dignity, bodily health, and spiritual well-being, with special attention to the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities
For this webinar, Dr. Akpezi Ogbuigwe joined Medcom to discuss this pillar and its principles. Akpezi is from Nigeria and is the Founder of the Anpez Center for Environment and Development. She has over thirty years of professional experience as a law teacher and an avid researcher in environmental law, education for sustainable development, and transformational change in higher education in Africa. She is a facilitator of university partnerships and is involved in civil society engagement. She is a great representation of what the Earth Charter stands for and is the type of person working to make the world a better place.
The final pillar and webinar centers around Democracy, Nonviolence, and Peace.
- Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision making, and access to justice
- Integrate into formal education and life-long learning the knowledge, values, and skills need for a sustainable way of life
- Treat all living beings with respect and consideration
- Promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence, and peace
To further help Medcom break down this pillar, Dr. Sam Crowell joined us for this webinar. Dr. Crowell is a long-time supporter and advocate of Earth Charter and continues to travel and present to educate the public about what Earth Charter is doing for the community and the planet. He works at the Graduate Institute for Transformative Learning and develops classes for the Earth Charter education center. He is also a UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development.
If you would like to watch the series in its entirety, you can find it here.