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:
- Respect Earth and life in all its diversity
- Rights come with responsibilities
- Justice, freedom and peace are human rights
- Recognise present and future generations
- Protect and restore earth’s ecosystems
- Adhere to the precautionary principle
- Adopt sustainable consumption and production
- Advance the study of ecological sustainability
Social and Economic Justice
- Eradicate poverty
- Ensure equity and transparency
- Affirm gender equality
- Uphold human rights
Democracy, Non-violence and Peace
- Strengthen democratic institutions
- Integrate sustainability into education and learning
- Treat all beings with respect
- 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.