Picturing our Success as Global Citizens

Blue Marble (Planet Earth)

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What does it mean to be a ‘Global Citizen’?

In 2000, a set of guidelines called The Earth Charter  was launched in The Hague. It was the result of worldwide, cross-cultural discussions to elicit common goals and shared values. Since then, it has been used as a guiding framework by governments and civil society organisations around the world. More recently, it has started to become better known amongst companies and other organisations in the UK.

Whether we as individuals are influential in business or not, the aim of The Earth Charter is to inspire in all of us towards a new sense of shared responsibility for the well-being of the human family, the greater community of life and future generations.

Here are the core commitments and principles. See how many of these resonate:

  1. Respect Earth and life in all its diversity
  2. Rights come with responsibilities
  3. Justice, freedom and peace are human rights
  4. Recognise present and future generations

Ecological Integrity

  1. Protect and restore earth’s ecosystems
  2. Adhere to the precautionary principle
  3. Adopt sustainable consumption and production
  4. Advance the study of ecological sustainability

Social and Economic Justice

  1. Eradicate poverty
  2. Ensure equity and transparency
  3. Affirm gender equality
  4. Uphold human rights

Democracy, Non-violence and Peace

  1. Strengthen democratic institutions
  2. Integrate sustainability into education and learning
  3. Treat all beings with respect
  4. Promote tolerance and peace

What a wonderful ideal! And before we descend into despondency about how little of this we actually see happening even 13 years later, do take a look at the Pictures of Success website. This is a heartening resource for those in search of inspiration for sustainable living and livelihood. Each image on the website is linked to one of the principles of The Earth Charter (move your mouse over the image) and each tells a story (click on the image and then scroll down) of a UK business venture or NGO making a difference in addressing some of the big issues in the world such as poverty, hunger, climate change and environmental degradation. There are some amazing examples of fundamental, ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society that have already sprung into action.



4 Responses to Picturing our Success as Global Citizens

  1. Jamie June 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Wow. The Pictures of Success site is incredible – thanks for posting the article and that link. I just shared it with 42 long-range planners on the front page of our agency intranet FYI.

    Sally, you have an impact even over here in the US :)

  2. Sally June 12, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    Thanks for sharing this incredible resource, Jamie. I find it so uplifting reading the accounts and hope that they will inspire many people, especially businesses, wherever they might be based.

  3. Claire Harrison June 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Have just spent time reading back stories and looking at pictures from the Pictures of Success website. I feel uplifted and encouraged to witness the range of positive initiatives and imaginative projects represented. Image of acorns growing to mature oaks comes to mind and I appreciate you and your blog reminding me of the existence of the Earth Charter. It’s one heck of a precious resource to cherish.

  4. Sally June 14, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    Good to read of the encouraging feelings, Claire. The acorn -> oak metaphor seems very fitting. It never ceases to amaze me how much intelligence nature manages to store in seeds of all kinds. It brings to mind, for me, the importance of being ok with ourselves when focussed on small but ‘truth-embodying’ projects. The potential is enormous.

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