Plenary 4 – Education for Sustainable development
Nov 2, 2010, 9:30am – 11:30am  
Synergy between the Earth Charter and Education for Sustainable Development

Day two of the EC + 10 Conference began with a plenary session on Education for Sustainable Development.
The speakers said that the Earth Charter and Education for Sustainable Development are vital, timely and needed. They felt that a lot of obvious synergy exists between Earth Charter and Education for Sustainable Development. The panelists in the plenary session included Professor Charles Hopkins, Prof. Anil Gupta, Prof. Vinod Raina, Ms. Nandita Krishna, Dr. Ram Boojh Yadav, UNESCO Delhi, Prof. Rick Clugston, and
Mr. James Hindson.
Rick Clugston said that there were numerous examples of universities in the US that are reorienting the content and process of education by integrating the Earth Charter. He also pointed out that the failure of the Copenhagen talks on Climate Change ( COP 15) threw up a major sustainability challenge where every nation at the COP was only concerned with short term gains and not one was ready to take on additional costs or cut down high levels of consumption. This situation, according to him, brought to the fore the importance of ethics in global negotiations. The Earth Charter points to deeper issues within sustainability and can guide us in our efforts to achieve sustainable development, he said.
Dr. Anil Gupta, Professor and Coordinator at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, said that there are examples of people in our culture who have set extraordinary standards to measure our consciousness and that there should be a process for learning from various cultures. He also felt that nature will help to recalibrate our understanding of the Environment and guide our learning.

Professor Vinod Raina of Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, spoke of how Mahatma Gandhi way back in 1937, was already thinking about the kind of education that would be right for India . Mahatma Gandhi felt that education should be for the ‘head, heart and hand' and this was reflected in his' Nai Taleem' (New standards of education).

Excerpt from Vinod Raina's speech
Think positive – Think big for a better Tomorrow
Martin Luther King Jr's “I have a dream” speech is famous because it put forward an inspiring, positive vision that carried a critique of the current movement within it. Imagine how history would have turned out had King given an “I have a nightmare” speech instead.”

Dr. Ram Boojh of UNESCO informed the gathering that UNESCO recognizes the Earth Charter as an important ethical framework for Sustainable Development.
James Hindson, Director, Sense and Sustainability, UK , wondered why we are passing on the burden of taking care of the world to the children when it is us adults who are responsible for the state that it is today. However, he quoted Noam Chomsky to say that o ptimism is a strategy for making a better future. Unless one believed that the future can be better, it's unlikely that one will step up and take responsibility to work towards it.

Learning the Way to Sustainability--Vision for 2014

Dr. Ram Boojh Yadav, Programme Specialist, UNESCO Delhi .

Dr. Yadav mentioned that UNESCO recognizes the Earth Charter as an important ethical framework for Sustainable Development. He explained that the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development just crossed the mid way point in 2009 and it was marked by the UNESCO World Conference on ESD in Bonn, Germany in 2009. He highlighted the key areas of strategic action for the 2nd half of the DESD, which include the following:

  • Developing and strengthening capacities for ESD (in particular teacher education and Monitoring & Evaluation)
  • Building, sharing and applying ESD-related knowledge (in particular good practices and innovative approaches)
  • Advocating for ESD and increasing awareness and understanding of sustainability.

He also mentioned about the challenges faced during the DESD which included the need to keep the momentum alive and translate commitments into tangible action while at the same establishing structures for ESD that can go beyond the Decade.

Plenary 5 – Education for Sustainable Development - 2
Nov 2, 2010, 9:30am – 11:30am

A Ray of Hope
The plenary session in the evening began with Kartikeya Sarabhai, Director , CEE drawing the attention of participants to the need to appreciate diversity of opinions and perspectives in relation to context. Taking the example of the Indian saree which is a length of fabric that can be worn in a range of different styles according to the preference of the wearer, he pointed out that ESD has to be adapted to suit the local situation and context.
Prof. Ryokichi Hirono from SEIKEI University , Japan showcased the initiatives of universities in Japan and spoke of how the EC framework was promoted to seek value-based education in the curriculum. He appealed for more financing mechanisms and innovative approaches to promote and support ESD.

Bernard Holland from International Eco Schools, spoke about eco-school networks across the globe. Mr. Manuel Obrigon, Minister of Culture, Costa Rica , shared his thoughts on culture, heritage, education and the environment. He asked participants to recognize culture as an important value that was central to promoting the cause of ESD.
Mr. Hemant Sahai from VIT university representing the youth spoke about their roles and responsibilities in taking ESD forward. He said that youth believed in moving forward and practicing viable actions. He said youth are prepared to walk the path of hardships if they felt it was justified. “ It is not difficult to do the right things , but important to know what those right things are”.
The plenary concluded with the presentation of a film clip on ‘Journey of the Universe' by Mary Evelyn Tucker.

Workshop 3
Non Formal Education (NFE) - Creative and Innovative Communication about Sustainability, Peace and Justice for All
The first session of the second day of the Non Formal Education workshop focused on grassroots activism that has resulted in remarkable social change.

Moderators: Jaana Laitinen, ECI Secretariat

The experience and wisdom of seasoned campaigners such as Mr Rajendra Singh and Mr Sandeep Pandey proved inspirational. Mr Singh, of the well known Tarun Bharat Sangh of Rajasthan , India , has received the Magsaysay Award for his work on revitalizing water storage systems in a dry state. Mr Sandeep Pandey is also a Magsaysay Award winner. His work on organising rural people in Uttar Pradesh , India , to claim their entitlements and protect their cultivation rights, has served as an exemplary model for a successful campaign around the right to information.
The importance of Non Formal Education in conflict and disaster conditions was brought home by a presentation from Ms. Beena Raza, of Lahore , Pakistan , with the video clip of musicians playing for a group of children in the flood-affected region of Northern Pakistan .
Ms. Alicia Constable spoke of community development through bridging cultures and finding the linkages between religions in her presentation on the work of her organisation in China . Finally, the importance of the inclusion of humane education into Earth Charter objectives was highlighted in Ms. Vasanthi Kumar's presentation.
The discussions following the presentations underscored the fact that a deep understanding of how communities work lies at the heart of all learning related to sustainable development.
Music and a game enlivened the later session of the workshop as composer and musician Enrique Rodriguez-Pastor played his guitar, sang and got participants to join in. The Earth Charter board game made an appearance on the presentation screen that said much about a learning strategy involving entertainment.

Launch Pad
A Special issue of JESD launched
A special issue of the Journal of ESD focusing on Earth Charter, published by SAGE Publications and the Centre for Environment Education was launched during the Education for Sustainable Development Plenary on Day 2 of the Conference. Dr Kiran Chhokar informed the gathering that many articles had been received from Latin American countries and thanked Ms Mirian Vilela for her excellent translations of them. Dr. Chhokar said that it was really nice to have voices from all over the world and Latin America in particular.

Want to be part of Paryavaran Mitra ?

The Paryavaran Mitra (Friends of the Earth) initiative was launched in the evening of Day 2. Dignitaries present at this event included Mr. Ritesh Sinha of ArcellorMittal, Mr. BMS Rathore, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, Ms. Satwant Kaur, UNEP, Ms. Mirian Vilela, ED Earth Charter, Mr A. Parasuramen, Director UNESCO Delhi, Vinod Raina, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti and Kartikeya Sarabhai, Director CEE. Children from schools that were involved in action projects were also present along with their teachers.

Credits:
Editing:
Prithi Nambiar

Contributions:
Shailaja Ravindranath, Mamta Pandya, Rajeshwari Namagari Gorana, Kiran Chhokar, Dr. MJ Ravindranath and Preeti Rawat, Simanta Kalita and Ishwar Poojar, R. Gopichandran ,Praveen Prakash,Meena Nareshwar, Aparna Nahar, Sangeeta Rane, Shekhar Kanagali, Shriji Kurup, Shraddha Ganwani, Geetarthi Sharma, Abdhesh Gangwar, Rashmi Gangwar

Design & Layout:
Jogendra Singh Rajora,Sangeeta Rane, Biji Nair

Photographs:
Mahendra Khalasa, Nimisha Misra, Chehek Bilgi, Sangeeta Rane, Shekher Kanagali

Tete-a-tete with Guests
Steven Rockefeller
Chair, Earth Charter International Council

What was your main motivation during the challenging Earth Charter drafting process?
My deepest interest, concern and passion was to identify shared values across all cultures nations and religions. This is what excited me about drafting process. We got a chance to conduct dialogues all over the world and to identify values and respect people everywhere shared because we live in increasingly interdependent world. If we cooperate, we are going to have common goals and shared values and what I found in Earth Charter's drafting process is there are many shared values.

What are your major lessons that you would like to share to inspire people?
I think it is very important to give people a positive vision in the future. If you just tell them about all the dangers and bad things that are going to happen, they get scared. We need to tell them that there is a real possibility and encourage people and believe that they can make a difference.

What do you think of the response that Earth Charter has gathered from the conference?
It is very positive and people who were discovering Earth Charter for the first time, talk to me and find it very helpful in understanding the vision and mission of the Earth Charter. In my talk yesterday, I tried explaining some of the issues the Earth Charter conference and the reaction that I received are very constructive. Just seeing so many people signed up for this conference itself is extremely encouraging. We have got a big turnout and particularly there are a lot of young people here because their support is going to make all the difference as time goes on.

What are your recommendations for the next 10 years in EC?
One of our major goals will be to seek recognition from the Rio + 20 summit which comes 20 years after the Rio Earth Summit of 1992. Earth Charter was proposed in 1992 but only came into being in 2000. The Earth Charter is people's treaty and not a government document and the biggest step that we wish to take is that of recognition by the United Nations. Already the subsidiaries of UN like UNESCO have acknowledged the Charter.
Second goal would be to promote Education for Sustainable Development. It is a valuable tool that gives people choices of sustainable lifestyles and an ethical framework to work with.

Youth - the leaders of tomorrow!
As the pace of the conference picks up, the workshops and the plenary sessions are becoming more interesting and absorbing. With the energy and enthusiasm brought in by the youth participants, the “Youth Corner” is buzzing with activity. Collage making, games and other activities are being undertaken by the youth under the umbrella theme of “Sustainable lifestyles and consumption”. The youth has been playing an integral role in all the workshops and the plenary sessions ; acting as rapporteurs at various workshops, as participants accessing platforms for video-conferencing, helping with photography and the conference newsletter while spreading good cheer and adding positive vibes and smiles to the conference.
The conference is clearly proving to be a platform where the youth are being provided information in a comprehensive manner and not just about ecology and the environment. The Earth Charter document, as we have now come to understand, is a lot more profound and inspirational than just that.
Doing their bit, the youth is working on conveying strong messages of how consumption choices can make a difference and help us in living a more sustainable lifestyle. New media, a popular tool with the youth, is being used to the fullest. They are engaged in various discussions and deliberations on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and websites of the conference giving out live feeds on the proceedings of the workshops and the plenary sessions. Hemant Sahal represented the youth, conveying their opinions in the plenary on “Education of sustainable development”. He talked about values and principles being communicated through education, saying “It is not difficult to do the right thing, but to understand what is right”.
When asked to summarize their opinions of the workshops they attended in one word, the answers were: Informative, different, interesting, thought-provoking or too comprehensive. Overall the youth seem to have been able to learn a lot from these workshops besides contributing to them by sharing their opinions. The enthusiasm of the young participants was also on show when they spoke out and interacted during the virtual conference that took place in the evening with the alumni, e-glo administrators, volunteers, EC members and youth participants from different corners of the world.

Preparing for Sustainable Action

Prof. Anil Gupta
Over two thousand years ago when there was no shortage of water or resources, a teacher asked his disciple to fetch him a glass of water. The teacher drank the water and returned the nearly empty glass to his disciple. The disciple emptied the remaining drops from the glass before he carried it back. The teacher called the disciple and asked what he just did. He replied,” you asked for water and I brought it to you”, “you drank it and I took back the empty glass”. The teacher asked his disciple to recollect the sequence of his actions. That was the Zen moment. Exactly at that moment the disciple realized what he had done. He had wasted two drops of water. The message in this story is that we have to equip ourselves through sensible practice well ahead and not after a crisis.

Exemplary actions
There was a king who went into the jungle. He was thirsty and went to a spring to drink some water. On returning he saw a nilotpal creeper entwined in his chariot wheel. He did not want to try and remove the creeper for fear that he might, in the process, damage it and cause it to wither. So he left his chariot in the forest and walked back to his palace.
Culture is replete with stories of people who set extraordinary standards to measure our consciousness. Sustainability can be drawn from all our cultures.

Mahatma Gandhi's Nai Taleem
Giving a example of a similar dilemma in 1937 that Mahatma Gandhi confronted on how to approach education in India in a way that would promote more sustainable development which resulted in the formulation of the “Nai Taleem”. The Nai Taleem or the Wardha Scheme involves an educational approach that places values education at the heart of learning. Anil Gupta said that Gandhiji considered education that appealed to the ‘Heart, Head and Hand' and that this approach could be a driving force for ethical education and education for Sustainable Development.
Prof. Gupta also felt that education must include issues relating to governance and local production along with Nai Taleem. He expressed his agreement with Gandhiji's belief that centralized production is violent by nature and that we can't heal it with socialism.He said that we need to encourage local level production systems and participation in local governance.

Story of the Plasticot bags
The plastic pollution caused by the non-judicious use of plastic polybags and their subsequent disposal into water bodies, land and waste incinerators, is creating a mounting environmental problem while presenting severe health related hazards for human beings and animals. Plastic recycling is an alternative method designed to prevent plastic from entering our environment and polluting it.

However, the process of heating plastics to melt them and re-mould them, or extrude them into granules, or press them to make sheets, happens to release toxic fumes. As part of our efforts to make plastic recycling more environmentally friendly, we at CEE have found an innovative way to reuse/recycle plastic carry bags by cleaning them and weaving them into plasticot fabric, which can then be used to make bags, mats and various other products.
The EC+10 conference bags are made from plasticot fabric with each bag using up 80 polythene bags of the dimensions of 16 by 20 inches and approximately 20µ in thickness. The products are designed keeping in view the current trends in terms of consumer preferences.
The plastic weaving concept is based on the fact that plastic bags which are thin and flimsy (be it 20µ or less) have an average life-span of 2 to 3 hours after which they are discarded. They end up in gutters, dumpsites or on mountain sides and even in the stomachs of animals; they are responsible for clogging, choking, flooding, asphyxiation, landslides, death and destruction. Instead, if they are collected, even from roads, they can be washed, cleaned, dried, cut into strips and woven into the basic plastic textile fabric, which can then be stitched into various products like mats, folders, hand bags and purses. In this manner, both the plastic and paper waste becomes more manageable and less destructive.
Centre for Environment Education (CEE) was awarded the ‘Plasticon 2005 Award' on 1st October 2005 in Mumbai by the PlastIndia Foundation in the category of ‘Innovation in Recycling Technology' for its innovation of a ‘Polyloom'. The Polyloom is a plastic weaving handloom that helps the reuse and recycling of discarded plastic bags (polybags).

Yatra Gurjar
A Performance by Mallika Sarabhai and Artists of Darpana

The audience sat at the plenary ground, not quite prepared for the cascade of sounds and lights and emotions that the Darpana artistes with Mallika Sarabhai as the story-teller were about to shower them with. The stage set darkened as the audience was transported into a different dimension, all the way back to 500 B.C, to witness the artistic portrayal of Gujarat 's long journey through the years

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