Meetings Coming Up on September 29
EARTH CHARTER INITIATIVE PROMOTES THE VALUES AND PRINCIPLES TO BUILD A JUST, SUSTAINABLE, AND PEACEFUL GLOBAL SOCIETY
Philadelphia is one of 12 sites in the United States sponsoring day-long Earth Charter Summits on Saturday, September 29. Widely heralded as a “grassroots gathering with international underpinnings,” the event is free and open to the public, and will take place at Drexel University. “It is designed as a local ‘people’s assembly,’ not a ‘talking experts’ conference,” according to regional coordinator Susan M. Curry.
“The day will be a culmination of twelve years of work by thousands of individuals and religious leaders from 56 countries, and recent outreach to a diverse group of 300 local organizations as well as many ‘ordinary people’ in the Greater Philadelphia tri-state area,” said Curry, an Ambler resident who is president of the Alliance for a Sustainable Future. Additional participating cities which will be linked to Philadelphia by satellite are San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Tampa, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Portland, Maine; Austin and Denton, Texas; Jackson, Mississippi, and Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Local speakers include Jonathan Granoff, president of Global Security Institute, speaking on “The Earth Charter, a Holistic Vision,” and Alanna Hartzok, president of the Earth Rights Institute, on human rights to earth and the importance of property tax shifting.
Through a facilitated process called Future Search, the afternoon work sessions will design and strengthen local action projects and form new coalitions to carry those projects forward. Concurrent afternoon performances include the Living Green Children’s Chorus, Climate Action Theater, a dramatic performance of the Universe Story by Jennifer Morgan, and jazz with the Deb Stevens trio.
Participating by way of satellite hookups are David Korten, president of Positive Futures Network, publisher of YES! Magazine and author of “Beyond Corporations”, speaking on “From the Love of Money to the Love of All Life”; and philanthropist Steven Rockefeller, chair of the international drafting committee, speaking on “The History and Drafting Process of the Earth Charter." Other speakers include simplicity advocate Vicki Robbins, futurist Hazel Henderson, and actor, activist and goodwill ambassador for the United Nations, Danny Glover.
The preamble of the Earth Charter: Declaration of Interdependence states, “To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. 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. Toward this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life and to future generations.”
The Earth Charter contains 16 principles within sections addressing peace, non-violence and democracy, social and economic justice, ecological integrity, and an overarching ethic of respect and care for the community of all life.
The Earth Charter movement seeks to inspire in all people a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the human family, the community of other life, and future generations. Long term supporters include Under Secretary for the United Nations Maurice Strong; Green Cross International leader Mikhail Gorbachev; and world renowned animal primatologist Jane Goodall. The Earth Charter will be presented at the World Summit on Sustainable Development later next year (Rio Plus 10) in Johannesburg South Africa along with the Earth Charter Scrolls that are signed by Summits’ participants encouraging endorsement by the United Nations General Assembly in 2002.
Drexel University will also host a follow-on workshop designed to boost the newly created coalitions and projects on Sunday, November 4 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Major Philadelphia sponsors include the Institute for Ethics and Meaning, Drexel University’s School of Environmental Science, Engineering, and Policy, Drexel service fraternity Alpha Chi Rho, Clean Air Council, and Catholic Peace Fellowship.
For more information about the history of the Earth Charter and the agendas of the various cities' events, visit: www.earthchartersummits.org
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