New goals and initiatives for 2012 include the opening of a UNESCO Chair in a new LEED-certified building to house the Secretariat and the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development.
By CEC member Douglas F. Williamson
Earth Charter International (ECI) is entering 2012 with a strong focus on Rio+20 while at the same time looking past it to an exciting new phase.
A new UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development and the Earth Charter is being established, as a collaborative effort between the new Earth Charter Center on Education for Sustainable Development, the University for Peace (UPEACE), and UNESCO, for a period of four years. The purpose of the Chair is to promote transformative education experiences that cultivate the fundamental values and ethical vision necessary to move towards a more sustainable world. The uniqueness of this project is that it will work in the intersection between education, sustainability, and ethics using the Earth Charter as a framework.
The new UNESCO Chair, the Earth Charter Center for ESD, and the ECI Secretariat will be housed in a new, LEED-certified building in Costa Rica constructed for ECI. LEED is an internationally recognized certification for green buildings, developed in 2000 by the US Green Building Council. There are only about 20 LEED buildings in Costa Rica and this will be the first one built for educational purposes.
ECI is also continuing to increase its online presence and will be offering a series of education for sustainable development webinars with guest lecturers in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, online regional youth courses on sustainability leadership, and ever-increasing interactions on social media sites. Also, ECI will be presenting a new virtual identity through a Web site redesign, a new virtual library, and a revamped monthly newsflash.
Further, ECI is working more frequently with art, artists, and creative expression. The new Web site will feature photography from professional and renowned photographers, a new Earth Charter exhibition production is underway, a new design for an Earth Charter poster and brochure was created through an international contest, and just recently a winner was selected for a youth video competition for the Odyssey 2050 movie project.
Finally, ECI has had a conservation campus session accepted at Jeju on the Earth Charter’s own sustainability assessment tool, EC Assess.