Monday, December 31, 2012

Post 2012 - A New Beginning

Now that the epic year of 2012 has passed and the noise of the first decade of the 21st Century is quieting down a bit - just a little - many folks are ready to get down to the business of serious global transformation in their local regions because lets face it...all the information is in and it is time to act.  

So as Year One - Post 2012 (or 2013) begins a new commitment is happening in the hearts and minds of people all over the planet to really anchor in new values and principles that the Earth Charter expresses so eloquently.  The Four Pillars stand strong as we move forward and those who have ears to hear and eyes to see understand how important it is to bring the Earth Charter into the basic organizational framework of their endeavors.  

Earth Charter
Local Endorsement Kit
& Activities Guidebook
How?  The Earth Charter Endorsement Kit & Activities Guidebook is a good resource to check out for ideas.  This guidebook can be downloaded from the Earth Charter Community Network and members can add their own ideas and activities to the guidebook - it is constantly updated for this purpose of sharing.

Slow Money Movement
Implementing the principles of the Earth Charter in a business plan is also another great way to ensure that your business will align with the collective values that are emerging during this time of transition.  The days of the '5 year exit plan' are numbered as more business people are recognizing the value in a more long term approach to their ventures.  The Slow Money movement is just one example of how things are slowing down and becoming more grounded in Earth Time reality.  Investing in our future is where the biggest return and profits will be seen as we go forward.  There are so many awesome business models emerging like the 'B' Corporation that allow business people to finally be able to not only run a profitable business but also contribute to the healing and preservation of our planet through socially responsible triple (or quadruple) bottom lines.

Year One provides all of us with an opportunity for a fresh new beginning...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Earth Charter for Intellectuals Only?

Someone recently said in a meeting that I attended that they felt that the Earth Charter was for 'intellectuals'...

I paused and thought about his statement and when I asked him to elaborate he said that most of the information found online about the Earth Charter catered to what he saw as 'academia' and scholastic circles.  He also said that most of those circles bled into groups of people who he felt were 'wanna-be elites'.  

I shared with him a bit about my experiences and feelings about the Earth Charter and before the meeting ended he had taken an interest in learning more.  He said that what I shared made him feel more open to the possibility that the Earth Charter could be a powerful personal tool for growth.  

What I shared with him was this:

The Earth Charter is the first document written that covers basic values and principles for sustainable living.  

The Four Pillars of the Earth Charter can be seen like the Four Directions of an Indigenous Medicine Wheel (East, South, West, & North) and also the four parts of being human...Body, Heart, Mind, & Soul.  

The Earth Charter is a document filled with principles that need to be fulfilled through our ongoing efforts as individuals and until we integrate the concepts that these principles anchor into it is hard to see how the larger collective will benefit.  

In other words as individuals we must comprehend the intrinsic value of the principles before we can effectively communicate with others about the Earth Charter.  

For example in the first pillar (Respect & Care for the Community of Life) number 2B reads:

"Affirm that with increased freedom, knowledge, and power comes increased responsibility to promote common good."

The premise of this statement is that when someone has freedom, knowledge, or power in their world then there is an obligation and responsibility to use them for 'common good'.  To affirm this an individual can take actions in their own personal world that are based on deliberations around 'common good'.  

For example:  John gets a raise at work that pushes him into a higher tax bracket and he needs to decide how to use the new resources that are available.  He can:
  • Use the extra money to upgrade some aspect of his own material world
  • Use the extra money to help a friend who needs some support
  • Use the extra money to pay down some debt
  • Invest the extra money for his future
  • Donate the money to a local project that benefits his larger community
All of the above uses of the resources are valid and hold merit singularly, but if John wants to affirm the 'power' (=energy) that the extra revenue represents and 'promote common good' (remembering to include himself into the 'commons') he would be wise to do ALL of the above.  Most people would simply choose one of the choices or choose the ones that either serve only the self or others.   By doing ALL of the above using smaller increments of the resources John is promoting 'common good' and balancing his life in ways that align with the principles of the Earth Charter.  

He can of course evolve it from there and choose to:
  • Buy organic/fair trade clothing or products in his personal material upgrade.
  • Share the Earth Charter with the friend who needs 'support'
  • Research the 'why' of debt in our economic system and learn about alternative local economies that are currently emerging everywhere.
  • Invest in socially responsible businesses.
  • Find local projects that are geared towards sustainable living to donate to.

This was the example that I gave my associate that made him want to look deeper into the text of the Earth Charter and reconsider his previous opinion about it being for 'intellectuals only'.  

The Earth Charter is a document that can be a tool for personal growth as well as collective 'common good'. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Tool Kit I Wish I'd Had

May was spent writing, compiling, editing, and publishing a tool kit I wish I'd had when I first endorsed the Earth Charter.  Yesterday the 'Earth Charter Local Endorsement Kit & Activities Guidebook' was officially released to the Earth Charter Community Network members under 'Creative Commons' license.  The guidebook is a starting place that can be expanded, revised, and updated regularly.  It is my hope that the tools and suggestions can be easily utilized by present and future Earth Charter supporters/activists, sustainability advocates, and people in my generation.  

The founders and leaders of the Earth Charter Initiative worked hard to birth the Earth Charter and I feel it is my generation's responsibility to nurture and raise it in ways that make it accessible to a wider demographic and grow beyond the academia nursery it has flourished in so far.

I see the Earth Charter in 2020 being referenced and used as a standard backdrop to the systems, structures, and models that are currently just beginning to emerge within all sectors of society and culture.  I also see the Earth Charter in symbiotic relationship with local governments that by then may have evolved through necessity to be the ultimate authority and jurisdiction in civil society...the trends are definitely pointing in that direction.

Communities and Local Government 
The UK passed the Localization Act and is setting precedents that can be easily duplicated in all developed countries. 

Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age by Michael H. Shuman
Shuman, Michael H. 2000. Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age. New York, Routledge.
Localization: A Global Manifesto by Colin Hines
Hines, Colin. 2000. Localization: A Global Manifesto. London: Earthscan Publications Ltd.
Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth by Jim Merkel
Merkel, Jim. 2003. Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth. Gabriola Island, B.C.: New Society Publishers.
The Essential Exponential: For the Future of Our Planet by Albert A. Bartlett
Bartlett, Albert A. 2004. The Essential Exponential: For the Future of Our Planet. Lincoln, NE: Center for Science, Mathematics & Computer Education, University of Nebraska.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

- Buckminster Fuller

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Local Endorsements

What does it really mean to endorse the Earth Charter?  For me it meant becoming an Earth Charter activist - a human networking vehicle sharing the Earth Charter and inviting people to endorse.   It also meant striving to live and learn the principles found within the Earth Charter. 

As an EC activist one of the first campaigns I did was to table in front of a health food store in Taos, New Mexico collecting endorsement signatures and passing out Earth Charter brochures.  At the time I was traveling the western US establishing the nomadic 'ecoministry' that I had founded and I was staying near Taos at Peñasco and the Picuris Pueblo.

I had learned about how the U.S. Mayors Association had endorsed the Earth Charter so I wanted to see if the Mayor of Taos would add his towns signature to the list of growing townships that were endorsing.  I knew it was important to first share the Earth Charter with the citizens of the community and so my basic strategy was to collect 100 signatures while sharing and then bring the petition to the Mayor.  

For 3 days I spent time in front of the health food store talking with people and it was such an amazing experience because I had never done anything like it before and the way that the store management, customers, and citizens were so curious and friendly was a great encouragement.  

The principles of the Earth Charter open up so much possibility for meaningful dialogue about our global issues and even if I had not been collecting signatures or had any kind of a plan I still would have not missed the opportunity to learn so much from the people I spoke with.  

One major thing that kept coming up was how people so much want to see good things happen in the world but they simply are under the gun of our broken economic system and warped calendar/clock that leaves no room for most people to even have time to relax let alone take up a cause.  

After the 3 days of meaningful information sharing and signature collecting I called the Mayor and made an appointment to see him to present the petition for his consideration.  Most people don't know how easy it is to actually have direct contact with city/gov officials and they never even try.  I only had to wait a week for the appointment and I was warmly greeted by the Mayor and granted 30 minutes of his time.  

I first gave him a 5 minute overview of the Earth Charter's key points and where and how it originated.  I gave him a brochure and then the petition and asked him if he could please present it to the city council for a vote.  He was personally very intrigued and he agreed to present it and call for a vote.  I gifted him an Earth Charter poster for his office and thanked him for his time.

I had to continue on my journey to Colorado the next day (I had postponed so I could make the appointment with the Mayor) but when I left Taos I felt deeply satisfied.  

My journey continued on from there and I had many more opportunities to network/share the Earth Charter.  Other places where I have successfully shared and got endorsements include:

  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Businesses 
  • Churches 
  • Native American reservations
  • Private schools
  • Youth groups
  • Clubs  
Local Endorsements are vital to the long term effectiveness of the Earth Charter.  It is awesome that so many cities/towns and government agencies have endorsed the Earth Charter, but most people don't know about these positive actions because the media does not pick stories like that for their headlines.  The Earth Charter Community is developing a 'Local Endorsement Kit' that will help anyone as passionate as I was to have the resources all in one place.  

Just remember that when you share information it will be your own passion and energy that creates the desired outcome of any sharing that you offer and don't be discouraged by the occasional paranoid weirdos or apathetic apes that you will inevitably encounter.  The world is built on diversity and the Earth Charter invites you to practice the principles of 'respect' for all life...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Earth Day Memories

In my not so humble opinion the Earth Charter and Earth Day go together like peanut butter and jelly.  The first Earth Day after I endorsed the Earth Charter I decided that I would go to an Earth Day street fair in Tuscon (I was staying at an EcoVillage 100 miles north of there) and share the Earth Charter.  I had never attended any major Earth Day event before but I figured it would be the best possible venue for sharing and networking the Earth Charter.

Betty McDermott
Earth Charter
Secretariat Coordinator
I contacted the Earth Charter Secretariat and began my relations with Betty McDurmott who is an awesome woman currently acting as a project coordinator for the Earth Charter Secretariat.  At the time she was based in the U.S. and was my main contact person in obtaining brochures, posters, and any information that the fledgling 'ecoministry' that I founded needed to serve as a networking vehicle.  
I ordered Earth Charter brochures and a hundred small Earth Flags.  On the way to the street fair we stopped at a hardware store and bought 6 foot 1/4 inch wood dowels, cut them into 10 inch lengths and attached the Earth Flags to them.  I also had a bunch of 'Earth Native' bumper stickers and I was confident the day would yield nothing but success.  

My first encounter was with some peers who were getting out of a vehicle next to ours when we parked.  I barked over to them to check out what was up and they came over to hear my rap about the Earth Charter which spontaneously erupted from the information I had soaked up as well as my personal views of how important I felt it was.  

"What has the Earth ever
done for MEEEE?"

Everyone was rapt except this one girl who had a pinched face and the blown out bottom lip commonly found on the spoiled princess types that consume half the worlds resources with their equally blown out consumption/shopping habits.  She looks at me dead serious after I hand out the brochures and I kid you not says, "Why should I care about the Earth...what has the Earth done for me?"  

"Yo if I launched you into space
how long would you bug out
before you realized you
need oxygen to shout"
My jaw drop lasted 3 seconds and then my mouth-brain connection managed the first obvious response of "Why don't you hold your breath for more than 3 minutes and find out b*#ch..."  Everyone laughed and moved away from her as she stormed off in a huff.  I was able to engage in more info swapping with them before I moved onto streets and despite their enthusiasm I was vexed by her words.  How could any human being be so stupid as to make such a remark. 

By the end of the day I was asking how there could be so many human beings so disconnected from the ground they walk on!  Sure it was Earth Day but all I saw was massive commercial capitalism at its best.  Hardly no one on the street wanted to give me the time of day and the vendors simply waived me off after I gave them a brochure.  More people were interested in buying a 10 dollar mini Earth Flag then hearing what I had to say about the Earth Charter.  I was disheartened by the end of the day and on the drive back to the community I was staying at I pondered the interactions and reactions of the people I had encountered.  

It is difficult when faced with the realities of our species disconnection not only from the planet we live on that gives us life, but also each other.  I realized that I was at a cross road that probably everyone who has decided to become an advocate for any meaningful cause most likely has stood at.  One direction with a sign that reads "It's No Use" and the other direction has a sign that reads "Go Forward Regardless".  I made the following entry in my road journal:

"Better to bash myself upon the shores of my dreams than drown in mediocrity" 

I felt my 'gizzard' stir as I re-committed myself to the collective vision that I knew existed for a sustainable future.  10 Earth Days have passed since then and each year I re-commit myself on April 22nd.  I have witnessed a massive shift since then in the interest and awareness of sustainable living among people everywhere.  

Issues like peak oil and global warming have shifted peoples perspectives and I bet that big lipped princess is buying the latest in high dollar organic clothes made from bamboo!  Maybe the consumer collective has a role to play after all in making this shift?  I learned since then that everyone really does have a role to play and I am content with mine.  Happy Earth Day and don't forget to re-commit your own endorsement of the Earth Charter and if you have not yet then visit the Earth Charter Community to read and get your endorsement certificate today! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

20 Year Old EC

If you are 20 years old and reading this then it won't be hard to imagine how it feels to have grown up being bombarded with messages of total planetary destruction and doom caused by human folly.  If you are not 20 years old then imagine being 20 again (elders who may be reading this will relate in terms of the nuclear threat that had them doing bomb drills at school) and as most people at that age looking for any signs of hope for the future - a 20 year old Earth Child - lost...yet seeking.  

That is how it was for me the day I was sitting in front of a computer at a developing EcoVillage in Arizona and the Earth Charter Initiative came up on a search I was doing for allied organizations for the ecoministry I was at that beginning stages of founding.

Those who have read the Earth Charter and had the same understanding hit them know of the experience that I had when I finished reading the 'Way Forward' heart had swelled in my chest to the point of bursting as my mind and will came into alignment.  

My mind instantly absorbed the myriad of possibilities that could emerge and manifest through the global agreement and endorsement of the values and principles found within the Earth Charter.  

My will awakened and I felt a deep urgency to take action in the direction of assisting the spread of the Earth Charter to all corners of the Earth.  

And my heart felt a surge of hope that unleashed within me what I can only describe as 'care' that had been forced into a suppressed state since childhood when despair over the state of the world had taken hold and began its numbing effect upon my emotional body.  

Since that fateful day now 12 years past I have had to do battle with crusty, cynical, and pessimistic minds that have insisted that I simply have a bad case of 'youthful idealism' or I was sporting a nice pair of rose colored glasses in my pursuit of the vision of a healthy, just, and sustainable world.  I have prevailed to this point in thwarting those who would attempt to infect me with their own mental illness that came upon them as a result of their short-sighted instant gratification agendas for global change.  

I was able to accomplish this through delving as deeply as I possibly could into a subject that an elder whom I had met in Colorado inspired me to study.  This man was a traveler and I had met him at a park near the famous 'True Grit' café & restaurant dedicated to John Wayne and the movie.  

I don't remember how the conversation even began but being a social person I often end up in conversations with people wherever my nomadic life led me.  After speaking with this man for just 10 minutes I became acutely aware that I had the good fortune of meeting one of those legendary wise men who disguise themselves as normal humans (often unknown even to themselves) and I did what any true seeker would do and began asking him all kinds of questions about life, death, religion, politics etc.  Four hours later our meeting had to end with the setting of the sun and I asked him what has since become a trademark question of mine to elders I meet who seem to actually have something of value to give to my generation:  "If there was one message you would want to give to young people what would it be?"  

Like most wise-guys his answer was one simple sentence:  "Learn your 5,000 year history"

I asked him why five thousand - why not ten or twenty or 100.  He said the last five thousand will suffice to know what is needed for what we need to do to change things and he said that once I begin to research history I would find that the history that we are taught and accept as the true story is merely a version told by those who prevailed.  I was intrigued by these words from that day I committed myself to his mandate.  

I never saw this man again and have since been blessed to meet a few more on my journey who became to me the standard of humans who were older than me that I respectfully call my 'elders'.  I immersed myself completely in studying all realms of history - even the history of 'historians'.  I came to realize that the man whom I met in Colorado 'words to pass on' were in fact probably the single most valuable advice that young people could have next to be sure to brush your teeth regularly.  

History is simply 'context' that allows us to shape our world views and role of how we interpret the stories we are told within any given 'context' determines our behaviors, choices, actions, identities, and ultimately the quality of our lives.  

The 20 year old EC - Earth Child - is still alive in me and has never had to succumb to the dictates of my particular culture because from what I learned from history, and still continue to learn, I discovered that every human has a choice of what kind of context and story they wish to live their lives by.  

The Earth Charter outlines 'values and principles for a sustainable future' and another more famous elder whom I have never met but have read his works once suggested that when you wish to map a life mission for yourself you should begin with the 'end' in mind.  

The exercise he recommends is to simply project yourself to your death-bed and look back on a life you would want to have been your own.  

When I did this I saw a life spent 'living' those values and principles that are in the Earth Charter not just through lip service but through every choice and action I made.  

I made a choice then that my 'endorsement' of the Earth Charter, and I believe this is true for many people who have also endorsed it, I was choosing to become an Earth Child - or Earth Conscious - for the rest of my life.  I also choose to believe that this made me a part of a very big family of Earth Children all over the planet - who although I may never meet in person - will impact the future in ways that Earth Children of the future will harvest the benefits of.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 - The Beginning of the .ORG free Earth Charter Initiative

It is springtime 2012 and this first post is dedicated to humans all over the planet who have committed themselves to the successful transition to a sustainable future! 

Official Logo given
to org's by Earth Charter

The Earth Charter has been predominately governed and implemented by the .org world (NGO's, non-profits etc.) since its inception yet the Earth Charter is a document of the people of Earth written by civil society and cannot be 'owned' by any singular entity.    

The Earth Charter - Actions & Perspectives of an Earth Child is a testimony/record of a 21st Century Earth Child's efforts and experiences to uphold the official 'endorsement' that was made when the Earth Charter Initiative launched in the year 2000.  This site is also a web portal to Earth Charter projects that do not fall under the dictates of the .org control or ownership issues that many still deny exist.  

Ultimately this site is dedicated to the yet UnBorn - the children of the future who will organically embody the values and principles found within the Earth Charter.  Yet special acknowledgments are due to those alive today who have had a powerful role in articulating and anchoring those principles amidst a climate of massive social change that required intense navigation of the inherent difficulties/challenges which are a natural part of such evolutionary processes.  Those people will be highlighted in future articles on this site.  

As primary author I choose to be called 'Earth Child' because in reality the actions, experiences, and perspectives that will be shared were born from a solidarity with Earth Children all over the planet who comprise my generation.  The intentions behind all of my efforts was to uphold the 'endorsement' that was made when I first discovered and read the Earth Charter.  However those efforts and actions were on behalf of those whom I was ultimately accountable to - my generation and future generations.  So as 'Earth Child' I speak from a pluralistic perspective and a view point that comes from the symbolic convergence of my generation.  

A note on the word 'authority' - I have always translated that word to mean 'Author of Reality'...we ALL author our own realities because a reality is based on 'story' of who and what we are.  Using that definition I place myself in an 'authority' position in relation to the Earth Charter and its birth into the 21st century - not just as a witness but an active participant that did not give away my power or grant automatic authority to those within the Earth Charter movement just because they had a résumé or 'years of experience'.  These days experience can be a liability if it is always used as the main reference for choices that demand a new way of thinking.  

The meaning of 'The Beginning of the .ORG free Earth Charter' title of this post is just that - the birth and nurturance of projects and efforts to uphold individual or group endorsement of the Earth Charter without having to answer to organizations or individuals who have made ownership claims through copyright websites, logos, and databases.  

Many of these .org entities have proved to undermine the efforts of thousands of 'endorsers' by simply refusing appropriately acknowledge and empower their efforts unless they either had kissed ass through the self-important hierarchies that are always present in the non-profit world (though mostly denied) AND/OR they made a significant enough financial contribution to warrant some highlight spot in their newsletters/websites AND/OR their efforts were exploited to make the .ORG entity look good for their own reputation/gain. 

The unhealthy social behaviors and outdated hierarchies of our elders who have been at the helm of the Earth Charter Initiative need to be addressed so that the torch can be passed between generations without toxic residue dripping down the handle and burning the hands of the receiving generation. The passing of the torch between generations in a healthy and celebratory way has been obscured by generations of denial and control of 'resources'.  

The people of the 22nd Century will look back on the 21st Century as when the whole 'non-profit' and 'for-profit (subtext 'good'/'evil') structures underwent the necessary (critical) evolutionary transformation that allowed the landscape of civil society (and the inequitable economies that polluted the environment they lived in) to change in ways that finally liberated mankind from the yokes/chains that the human species had been dragging around through centuries of dualistic systems, models, and structures.  The key ingredients to that transformation was the power of the 'word' and right use of technology.  

This is the time that will be remembered as the 'Information Age' and the time of the 'Great Transition'...and the Earth Charter will not only be alive 150 years from now (7 generations) but will be embraced globally as the first charter of the people of Earth and no one is going to give a rats ass about the 'Who's Who' sick social hierarchies that unfortunately are still being pandered to at the beginning of this century - due mostly to the fact that the previous generations whose lives revolved around guru worship and inappropriate power displacement are still currently alive on the planet.  Unfortunately their social system shadows still influence and linger in the social spheres of my generation but they are getting older and their imprints will not hold sway beyond 2020.  

2012 is the 'End of the 13th Baktun' and my generation is the 13th generation since the inquisition ravaged European refugees landed on the shores of the pristine North American continent.  Time for new beginnings...