The mission of the Earth Charter Initiative is to promote the transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. Its goals are:
1. To raise awareness worldwide of the Earth Charter and to promote understanding of its inclusive ethical vision.
2. To seek recognition and endorsement of the Earth Charter by individuals, organizations, and the United Nations.
3. To promote the use of the Earth Charter as an ethical guide and the implementation of its principles by civil society, business, and government.
4. To encourage and support the educational use of the Earth Charter in schools, universities, religious communities, local communities, and many other settings.
5. To promote recognition and use of the Earth Charter as a soft law document.
The Earth Charter Initiative provides a range of resources to assist individuals and organizations in making the transition to sustainable ways of living (see www.earthcharter.org). Many of the activities to realize the goals of the Earth Charter Initiative are being conducted through self-organizing task forces focused on youth, business, the United Nations, education, media and religion, spirituality and ethics.
The Earth Charter Task Force on Religion, Spirituality, and Ethics aims to engage a broad range of individuals, institutions, and organizations concerned with religion, spirituality, ethics, and the Earth Charter. It intends to assist such individuals and groups in integrating the EC with their efforts toward creating a just, peaceful, and sustainable future for the Earth Community.
In particular, the Task Force is reaching out to:
1. Leaders of religious institutions and communities
2. Scholars and theologians of the world’s religions as well as ethicists
3. Individuals and organizations interested in linking religion, spirituality, and ethics to issues of sustainability
There is a widespread recognition that along with science, economics, and policy the world’s religions, spiritual perspectives, and ethical values can play a catalyzing role in moving the human community toward a sustainable future. The vast majority of the world’s peoples draw inspiration and guidance from their religious beliefs and practices while many outside of formal religious institutions rely on particular spiritual paths.
For millennia the world’s religious, spiritual and ethical traditions have provided ethical grounding for the shaping of various cultures throughout the world. From the indigenous traditions to the Axial age religions arising in the last 3.000 years, humans have oriented themselves to the mystery of existence, to relations with other humans, and to nature itself.
The Earth Charter recognizes the immense contributions that have been made by religious, spiritual, and ethical traditions. Indeed, the Earth Charter affirms the rich multicultural and multireligious expressions present in the human community. While respecting this remarkable diversity, it also invites the world’s religious, spiritual, and ethical traditions into dialogue with the emerging global ethics represented in the Earth Charter.
The Charter was drafted with a spirit that calls individuals and institutions to help create the foundations for a common future. Thus, there is a recognition of shared although differentiated responsibilities for the flourishing of the Earth Community. During the drafting process of the Charter, scholars and leaders of the world’s religious and indigenous traditions were able to give comments on the drafts of the Charter in various venues around the world.
During the 3 year conference series on world religions and ecology at Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions, over 800 scholars and representatives of the world’s religions gave feedback on the various drafts of the Earth Charter. In the global Earth Charter consultation, theologians, experts and religious organizations from Bahá’i, Buddhist, Christian, Confucian, Hindu, Indigenous, Islamic, Jain, Jewish, and Shinto traditions shared their visions for a just, sustainable and peaceful world. Apart from these inputs, a broad range of religious and interreligious texts, statements and declarations were reviewed and used as a basis for the Earth Charter’s inclusive global vision of shared values and common goals for sustainable living.
The Harvard conference series led to the formation of the Forum on Religion and
Ecology now based at Yale University. The Forum is serving as one of the co-chairs of the Religion, Spirituality and Ethics Task Force.
The Task Force is building on this collaborative work to further engage the religious, spiritual, and ethical communities in realizing the aspirations of the Earth Charter. To this end it is foregrounding research, education, and outreach.
For more information about the Earth Charter Task Force on Religion, Spirituality and Ethics, contact:
For activities regarding the Earth Charter and the world's religions, please visit: http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/content/categories/Religion/
For more information about the Earth Charter, contact:
Earth Charter International Secretariat
c/o University for Peace
P.O. Box138 6100
San Jose, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2205-9060
Fax: +506 2249-1929
Three commentary papers on the Earth Charter have been provided for your review:
|Douglas Sturm||Identity and Otherness: Summons to a New Axial Age|
|Mary Evelyn Tucker||Reflections on the Earth Charter|
|Learning to See the Stars: The Earth Charter as a Compass for the New Century|
Database of the endorsed universities and youth networks