Thematic Recommendations; The Ethical Imperative to Protect the Earth


The Ethical Imperative to Protect the Earth

Recommendations from Thematic Group Session
GNRC Third Forum
24-26 May, 2008, Hiroshima


  • Empowering children through ethics education to protect the planet
  •  Rallying faith communities to protect the environment

Guidance advice for the Forum Declaration:

This should be powerful but modest and apologetic to young and future generations. Also it should stress the desire for a simple life style and use the language of stewardship/trusteeship/ partnership; mottainai -awareness of the preciousness of everything. The Outcome document should reinforce and draw on the objectives of Learning to Live Together (Toolkit).

Also the document should reflect the paradigm shift in our understanding of our interdependency with the world. Suggest the concept of “earth community” be emphasised rather than environment. (Recognising the need of definitions for clarity, to include global.)

Voices of Children and Young People:

Concern that we are going to need more from the earth and stabilising the world is not enough. Eg plant forests, clean air, and consider animal rights.

What has the environment given us and what do we do in return?
It has given us life yet we have responded with pollution, deforestation and weapons.
We need to stop the development and proliferation of weapons.

How do we apply the new technologies? Aware that people are afraid to change but we should be courageous and change even small aspects of our lives.

Our daily lives are affected now but we can change this. We can not ignore the problems but must consider them. Awareness that this love for the earth needs to be shared with others and this network will continue this work.

There is a heartfelt belief that people can change their attitudes and much optimism amongst Children and Young People.

We must not stereotype all people in some countries like India, USA, and China as greedy in their use of fuel etc. There are many that are committed to caring for the earth.

How to involve Children and Young People?

  • Promote Children and Young People involvement in direct action; and develop the necessary skills needed through the wider dissemination of the Toolkit.
  • Provide opportunities for Children and Young People to engage in a spiritual experience with Creation.
  • Continue to support local, national and international dialogue between Children and Young People and to encourage CYP to inform government and religious policies.
  • Develop networks between Children and Young People and Older people, inter-generational dialogue.
  • Research and map out the provision for environmental studies and education for sustainable development in schools. Encourage sharing of good practice within and between Regional Networks. Run Children and Young People workshops with a focus on peace and protecting the planet.
  • Prepare resources in multi media format.
  • Encourage the use of the media to promote the actions of religious communities in addressing the environmental issues.
  • Address the educational issue between corporation/business needs and values compared to collaboration/cooperation.
  • Connect with other environmental projects eg “Eco-heroes” and “Global 500” which provide role models for children and young people.
  • Network sharing of good practice and ideas through use of the internet.
  • Support conscious consumerism, eg buying local food, fair trade products.
  • Mobilise funds to further encourage Young People involvement in leading their own projects on a regional basis.
  • Call for the days of action eg Wet Lands Day, to be universally celebrated.

How to mobilize the religious communities?

  • Need to further understand who we are and our place within the universe drawing from the religious traditions their stories and values.
  • Plan for a story telling workshop at the next Forum.
  • Consider a pilgrimage to planet earth.
  • Problems come from greed, hatred and ignorance; what do the religions say about these and demand that these are overcome? Need action as individuals and communities to clarify and then give up or “akirameru”; otherwise we are discriminating against those without. Need to reflect the shift in our understanding to take account the needs and rights of victims.
  • Call for a statement and declaration about care of the environment during a time of conflict and war. To be promoted world wide in the form of an International Treaty.
  • Construct a peace bell in many parts of the world, similar to that in Hiroshima, on an interfaith partnership basis.
  • Need to link to the Declaration of Global Ethic and the religious statements and the approach in the Tool Kit. Also map out other initiatives on environment and sustainable development to make links and become more powerful. Eg make links to the Earth Charter Teachers’ book. And others WWF.
  • Religious communities to mobilise governments at all levels to take responsible action with regard to the action drawing on the international instruments like the Earth Charter, Kyoto Protocol….
  • Religious leaders to emphasise to world leaders the impact on mothers and children caused by environmental factors, both spiritual and physical health including high infant child mortality.
  • Sang Saeng, a NE Asian concept meaning mutually beneficial living. This portrays the intention of the meeting of how to live together.

Need large number of simple things to bring about change.
Need to encourage corporate and political change.
Need more education on sustainable development and environmental issues and teacher training to allow this.
Need to work with people who do not express their faith or beliefs through organised religions. People of faith and people of good conscience.
Need to include NGO’s besides religious communities.

Day of Prayer and Action for Children and Young People

  • Support for the proposal of the Day of Prayer and Action for Children and Young People.
  • Promote prayer for earth during the day of prayer and action for Children and Young People.
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