The Earth Charter is a widely recognized, global consensus statement on ethics and values for a sustainable future. Its development began in 1987, in what has been called the most extensive global consultation process ever associated with an international declaration. The Earth Charter has been formally endorsed by over 2,500 organizations, including global institutions such as UNESCO and the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
The introduction to the Earth Charter explains:
“At a time when major changes in how we think and live are urgently needed, the Earth Charter challenges us to examine our values and to choose a better way. It calls us to search for common ground in the midst of our diversity and to embrace a new ethical vision that is shared by growing numbers of people in many nations and cultures throughout the world.”
The impact of these words was not lost on the delegates to our General Assembly in February, 2003. Our Sisters endorsed the Earth Charter, seeing it as a context out of which we could respond to the question which expressed the theme of our Assembly – “At this moment in time, to what does the Charity of Christ impel us?” The endorsement also indicates solidarity with other Congregations of women religious, in particular the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) which endorsed the Earth Charter at their annual meeting in August 2002. For more information on the Earth Charter, including suggestions for theological education visit: www.earthcharterusa.org.
To date, our committee charged with organizing the implementation of this Assembly enactment has:
- Continued educating itself and our general membership in the principles of the Earth Charter
- Identified some of the efforts already in place
- Invited all to reflect prayerfully on at least one of the principles of the Earth Charter
- Exhibited at the yearly Archdiocesan Teachers and Catechetical Institutes. In 2006, the theme was Water; in 2007, it was Global Climate Change. In 2008, it was TBD
Currently our focus is on issues related to water. We are coordinating our efforts with those of other congregations in the Sisters of Charity Federation.
In the final analysis, the Earth Charter is about change, which was clearly expressed in the Preamble to the Earth Charter – “Fundamental changes are needed in our values, institutions and ways of living.” This is the challenge we all face.
Click to visit the Earth Charter web site: www.earthcharter.org »