Communities around the world will come together this Saturday to celebrate this year's Earth Charter International Summit. Global climate change is the theme of this year's Earth Charter International Summit, in keeping with the United Nations designation of 2008 as the International Year of Planet Earth.
The Earth Charter - a declaration of interdependence - articulates the shared responsibility we have to one another and to the planet itself. It is an expression of hope and a call to help create a global partnership at a critical juncture in history.
Created by the largest global collaborative process ever associated with an international declaration, the Earth Charter was drafted over a 10-year period by thousands from 77 countries.
It was launched at The Hague Peace Palace in 2000. It was subsequently endorsed by thousands of organizations representing millions of individuals worldwide. Ventura County, California is the first U.S. county to have endorsed the charter.
The principle areas of the Earth Charter include:
Respect and care for the community of life
Social and economic justice
Democracy, nonviolence and peace
Summits from Tampa, Florida to Ventura, California to Ghana, Africa and Barcelona, Spain will join others in presenting and honoring individuals whose efforts best exemplify these principles and their connection.
This years partial list of speakers and honorees include:
Alexander Likhotal, President & CEO of Green Cross International and Advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev, and Earth Charter Commissioner at the Tampa, FL Summit,
Dr. Gary Yohe, 2007 co-recipient of Nobel Peace Prize (with Al gore) for his work with the International Panel on Climate Change, at the East Haddem, CT Summit,
James Hansen, NASA scientist and professor at Columbia University who revealed in 2007 that the White House edited climate-related press releases to make global warming seem less threatening, at the New York, NY Summit,
Majora Carter, MacArthur-winning activist for "greening the ghetto" and urban renewal, advocate for national "green jobs" agenda, and co-host of the Green on Sundance Channel at the Washington D.C. Summit,
Puri Canals, Vice-president of IUCN as well as the chairperson for the World Conservation Congress and will be speaking on Role of Women & The Environment from the ICUN conference in Barcelona.
Jackson Browne, musician and activist, for his work throughout his career on behalf of the planet, lending his support, voice and talents raising awareness to the perils of nuclear power, peace and the environment at the Ventura, CA Summit where eight other local heros will be recognized for their courage and work.
These remarkable individuals and the incredible work they do have made the connection and are making a difference. The world is indeed better for their efforts.
Each of us might ask ourselves: What will be our commitment in realizing this opportunity?
Participants at this year's summit will be encouraged to make a commitment to an ongoing action in the year ahead to reduce their environmental impact and help sustain the planet.
The Earth Charter concludes with a challenge called "The Way Forward": "Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life."
We invite you to join us in this effort.