Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Earth Charter...read it!

About a year ago, we were presenting at a conference in Amsterdam and one of the main panel speakers kept pounding the table that everyone should read the Earth Charter - a document that was called for by the Bruntland Commission in 1987, took root during the 1992 Earth Summit, but was not followed through on and completed until the late 1990s. It is a foundation of the sustainable development movement, and I had a good sense of what it said, but I had never read it. I've been meaning to ever since, and finally got around to it - I suggest you take 15 mins and have a look, it's available here on the Earth Charter Initiative website.

It's sort of a next level of detail for what sustainability means - if we start with meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, and move to how we ensure we do that, namely by not systematically undermining social and ecological systems and then move to another level of detail with not violating the 4 sustainability principles, i.e. identifying and eliminating our contributions to the 4 basic ways in which we systematically undermining social and ecological systems ... we can look in more detail at the more specific ways we violate the 4 SPs - the Earth Charter delves into those elegantly, as the result of an in-depth, cross-cultural iterative process over years to reach consensus on the language. Here's a core point to keep in mind, especially as we roll into Christmas ;)

"We must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more."

Anyway, it's worth the read and worth endorsing. Have a great holiday week... Merry Christmans and Happy New Year... stay going.