Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Chartering a New Course

We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of the Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations. - Preamble to the Earth Charter

So it's Sunday morning and you have a piping mug of your a.m. beverage of choice* and your favorite newspaper sitting before you. But you're not quite ready to crack open the paper just yet and face reading W's defense of domestic spying or Cheney's talking points from his surprise trip to Iraq. Rather than risk descending into cynicism and despair when you should be enjoying the good Sunday morning vibe, why not read something different, something life-affirming? May I suggest that you spend half an hour reading the Earth Charter?

Like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Earth Charter sets forth a set of guiding principles for a peaceful world. According to The Earth Charter Initiative:
It seeks to inspire in all peoples a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the larger living world. It is an expression of hope and a call to help create a global partnership at a critical juncture in history.
The Earth Charter is a people's treaty that is the result of a collaboration between individuals and organizations that started in 1987 when the UN World Commission on Environment and Development called for a charter to set forth principles of sustainable development.

The principles set forth in the Earth Charter are meant as a guide to the conduct of individuals, organizations, businesses, and governments. So what does the Earth Charter say? It states four broad commitments for the respect and care for the community of life:
  • 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.

The charter then offers three categories of more specific principles which, if followed in decision-making at every level, would fulfill the broad commitments. The categories are: ecological integrity, social and economic justice, and democracy, nonviolence and peace. Reading the principles (often!) is a great way to remind yourself that there is a different, life-giving path that we can take. With thoughtfulness, collaboration, and sincere commitment, I am optimistic that we can get our society on to this path. In that spirit, I would love to hear your thoughts if you take a few minutes to read the Earth Charter.


* My hot beverage of choice is a cup of organic Fair Trade coffee with soy milk. (A decaf soy latte would be divine if I could find a cafe with Fair Trade espresso beans.) So I was quite interested in the discussion over at SustainableGirl's place about bleached coffee filters. I felt pretty good about my practice of using unbleached coffee filters purchased at my local co-op until I looked more carefully at the nearly empty box and found that they were a product of Sweden. Um, shipping coffee filters from Sweden doesn't strike me as the most sustainable choice. Ugh. I walked over to the same co-op yesterday and picked up a reusable coffee filter made of hemp by a family business in Washington State. For $4, I'm promised years of use. So far it has worked like a charm and is easy to clean. Highly recommended!


  • At 2:27 PM, Blogger Roger, Gone Green said…

    You may find the following link of interest; it is the 10 Key Values of the California Green Party. They succinctly sum up my own 10 key values in most respects. I may have mentioned this before here (I can't remember now if it was here or another blog-space).

    In any case, I finaly registered as a Green to cast my vote for these values all year, but I vote independently mostly; although I cannot vote in the Democratic or the Republican primary, I do not regret it because neither party really addresses the issues you have raised in an effective and wholistic, integrated way.

    See 10 Key Green Values

  • At 3:17 PM, Blogger lauren said…

    You did post the CA Green Party's key values before, and I must say that they seem like a dream platform to me. The list is absolutely something that I could get behind with conviction. I need to research instant run-off voting to understand how a third-party system could work effectively. Thanks for the reminder to do that!

  • At 7:41 PM, Blogger Roger, Gone Green said…

    Sorry for the double post; I am never upset if you need to delete because I am redundent or annoying. (Grin).

    IRV is pretty simple -- it is sometimes called choice voting. It would make it possible to cast a protest vote for a third party -- or anybody -- but not worry that your vote for the Green candidate would take away from the Blue candidate.

    See for all the details and a demo.

  • At 8:40 PM, Blogger spiral said…

    Thanks (as usual) for putting out this info. I read over the Charter, and it reminds me of the values of a Unitarian Universalist church I recently attended. In thinking about raising children in this country (something I have very mixed feelings about right now), I think it's important that children are raised knowing there is a community of people who share such values, especially since such values are non-normative in our culture. Documents such as this are an important part of establishing that community, I think.

  • At 10:29 PM, Blogger Andrea Rusin said…

    Roger, do you know Caleb Kleppner? He was somehow involved in getting instant run-off in San Francisco. Long story.... but he's an almost-friend. More than a friend of a friend, but not quite a friend.....


Post a Comment

<< Home