Sanitizing The Earth Charter
Under the guise of needing to
protect the earth from destruction, the Earth
Charter originally started as a dream to create a pantheistic society for the entire
world. The original charter was so pantheistic, however, that it was not accepted at the
Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio in 1992. Maurice Strong (Earth Council) and Michail Gorbachev (Green Cross) have undertaken the job to sanitize the charter
in a way that keeps its pantheistic goals, but looks benign to most people, especially
Christians. The following is the progressive versions of the Earth Charter to illustrate
the how the sanitization was done.
1992 NGO Earth Charter:
THE EARTH CHARTER
PREPARED BY THE NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS GATHERED TOGETHER
IN RIO DE JANEIRO
JUNE 3-14, 1992
We are the Earth, the people, plants and animals rains and
oceans breath of the forest and flow of the sea.
We honour Earth as the home of all living things.
We cherish Earth's beauty and diversity of life.
We welcome Earth's ability to renew as being the basis of all
We recognize the special place of Earth's Indigenous Peoples,
their territories, their customs and the unique relationship to
We are appalled at the human suffering, poverty and damage to
Earth caused by inequality of power.
We accept a shared responsibility to protect and restore Earth
and to allow wise and equitable use of resources so as to
achieve an ecological balance and new social, economic and
In all our diversity we are one. Our common home is
increasingly threatened. We thus commit ourselves to the
following principles, noting at all times the particular needs
of women, indigenous peoples, the South, the disabled
and all those who are disadvantaged:
1. We agree to respect, encourage, protect and restore
Earth's ecosystems to ensure biological and cultural diversity.
2. We recognize our diversity and our common partnership. We
respect all cultures and affirm the rights of all people to
basic environmental needs.
3. Poverty affect us all. We agree to alter unsustainable
patterns of production and consumption to ensure the eradication
of poverty and to end the abuse of Earth. This must include a
recognition of the role of debt and financial flows from the
South to the North and opulence and corruption as primary
causes. We shall emphasize and improve the endogenous capacity
for technology creation and development. Attempts to eradicate
poverty should not be a mandate to abuse the environment and
attempts to protect or restore the environment should not ignore
basic human needs.
4. We recognize that national barriers do not generally
conform to Earth's ecological realities. National sovereignty
does not mean sanctuary from our collective responsibility
to protect and restore Earth's ecosystems. Trade practices
and transnational corporations must not cause environmental
degradation and should be controlled in order to achieve
social justice, equitable trade solidary with ecological
5. We reject the build up and use military force and the
use of economic pressure as means of resolving conflict. We
commit ourselves to pursue genuine peace, which is not merely
the absence of war but includes the eradication of poverty, the
promotion of social justice and economic, spiritual,
cultural and ecological well-being.
6. We agree to ensure that decision-making processes and
their criteria are clearly defined, transparent, explicit,
accessible and equitable. Those whose decisions or activities
may affect the environment must first prove the absence of
harm. Those likely to be affected, particularly populations
in the South and those in subjugation within existing
States, should have free access to information and
effectively participate in the decision-making processes.
7. States, institutions, corporations and peoples are unequal
in their contribution to environmental harm, experience of
ecological degradation and ability to respond to environmental
destruction. While all are responsible for improving
environmental quality, those who have expropriated or consumed
the majority of Earth's resources or who continue to do so must
cease such expropriation or reduce such consumption and must bear
the costs of ecological restoration and protection by providing
the majority of financial and technological resources.
8. Women constitute over half of Earth's human population. They
are a powerful source for change. They contribute more than half
the effort to human welfare. Men and women agree that women's
status indecision-making and social processes must equitably
reflect their contribution. We must shift from a society
dominated by men to one which more accurately reflects the valued
contributions of men and women to human and ecological welfare.
We have come to realise that the threats to the biosphere
which sustains all live on Earth have increased in rate,
magnitude and scale to such extent that inaction would be
EARTH CHARTER ACTION PLAN
1. We shall adopt the spirit and principles of the Earth Charter
at the individual level and through concrete actions within our
2. We will use existing mechanisms and/or create an
international network of the signatories here to disseminate
the Earth Charter as principles for action at the local,
national and global level.
3. The Earth Charter shall be translated into all the
languages of Earth.
4. We shall commit ourselves to preparation of "OBJECTIVE
1995" by which the United Nations will celebrate its 50th
anniversary at which time we want them to adopt this Earth
5. Non-Governmental Organisations world wide shall initiate a
combined campaign "WE ARE EARTH" through to 1995 and the
adoption of this Earth Charter by the United Nations.
6. Every individual, organization, corporation and state shall
dedicate a percentage of their operating budget and their
profit as an "Earth Percentage" dedicated to the restoration,
protection and management of Earth's ecosystems and promotion
of equitable development.
7. We call for a second Global Forum to be held n 1999 to
evaluate and reaffirm our commitment to the relationships
made, the accomplishments achieved and the goals sought at this
"1992 Global Forum".
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Rio + 5 Benchmark Draft I, March, 1997
The Earth Charter Benchmark
Reviewed and Presented during the Rio+5 Forum - March 18, 1997
Earth is our home and home to all living beings. Earth itself is alive. We are part
of an evolving universe. Human beings are members of an interdependent community of life
with a magnificent diversity of life forms and cultures. We are humbled before the beauty
of Earth and share a reverence for life and the sources of our being. We give thanks for
the heritage that we have received from past generations and embrace our responsibilities
to present and future generations.
The Earth Community stands at a defining moment. The
biosphere is governed by laws that we ignore at our own peril. Human beings have acquired
the ability to radically alter the environment and evolutionary processes. Lack of
foresight and misuse of knowledge and power threaten the fabric of life and the
foundations of local and global security. There is great violence, poverty, and suffering
in our world. A fundamental change of course is needed.
The choice is before us: to care for Earth or to
participate in the destruction of ourselves and the diversity of life. We must reinvent
industrial-technological civilization, finding new ways to balance self and community,
having and being, diversity and unity, short-term and long-term, using and nurturing.
In the midst of all our diversity, we are one humanity and
one Earth family with a shared destiny. The challenges before us require an inclusive
ethical vision. Partnerships must be forged and cooperation fostered at local,
bioregional, national and international levels. In solidarity with one another and the
community of life, we the peoples of the world commit ourselves to action guided by the
following interrelated principles:
- Respect Earth and all life. Earth, each life form, and all
living beings possess intrinsic value and warrant respect independently of their
utilitarian value to humanity.
- Care for Earth, protecting and restoring the diversity,
integrity, and beauty of the planet's ecosystems. Where there is risk of irreversible or
serious damage to the environment, precautionary action must be taken to prevent harm.
- Live sustainably, promoting and adopting modes of
consumption, production and reproduction that respect and safeguard human rights and the
regenerative capacities of Earth.
- Establish justice, and defend without discrimination the
right of all people to life, liberty, and security of person within an environment
adequate for human health and spiritual well-being. People have a right to potable water,
clean air, uncontaminated soil, and food security.
- Share equitably the benefits of natural resource use and a
healthy environment among the nations, between rich and poor, between males and females,
between present and future generations, and internalize all environmental, social and
- Promote social development and financial systems that
create and maintain sustainable livelihoods, eradicate poverty, and strengthen local
- Practice non-violence, recognizing that peace is the
wholeness created by harmonious and balanced relationships with oneself, other persons,
other life forms, and Earth.
- Strengthen processes that empower people to participate
effectively in decision-making and ensure transparency and accountability in governance
and administration in all sectors of society.
- Reaffirm that Indigenous and Tribal Peoples have a vital
role in the care and protection of Mother Earth. They have the right to retain their
spirituality, knowledge, lands, territories and resources.
- .Affirm that gender equality is a prerequisite for
- .Secure the right to sexual and reproductive health, with
special concern for women and girls.
- .Promote the participation of youth as accountable agents
of change for local, bioregional and global sustainability.
- .Advance and put to use scientific and other types of
knowledge and technologies that promote sustainable living and protect the environment.
- .Ensure that people throughout their lives have
opportunities to acquire the knowledge, values, and practical skills needed to build
- .Treat all creatures with compassion and protect them from
cruelty and wanton destruction.
- .Do not do to the environment of others what you do not
want done to your environment.
- .Protect and restore places of outstanding ecological,
cultural, aesthetic, spiritual, and scientific significance.
- .Cultivate and act with a sense of shared responsibility
for the well-being of the Earth Community. Every person, institutions and government has a
duty to advance the indivisible goals of justice for all, sustainability, world peace, and
respect and care for the larger community of life.
Embracing the values in this Charter, we can grow into a
family of cultures that allows the potential of all persons to unfold in harmony with the
Earth Community. We must preserve a strong faith in the possibilities of the human spirit
and a deep sense of belonging to the universe. Our best actions will embody the
integration of knowledge with compassion.
* * *In order to develop and implement the
principles in this Charter, the nations of the world should adopt as a first step an
international convention that provides an integrated legal framework for existing and
future environmental and sustainable development law and policy.
The Earth Charter Campaign, International Secretariat
The Earth Council | Apdo. 2323-1002 | San Josť, Costa Rica
Tel: +506-256-1611 | Fax: +506-255-2197 | e-mail: email@example.com
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Draft II, April, 1999
Benchmark Draft II, April 1999
View the abbreviated version of the
Benchmark Draft document.
In our diverse yet increasingly interdependent world, it
is imperative that we, the people of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to
the greater community of life, and to future generations. We are one human family and one
Earth community with a common destiny.
Humanity is part of a vast evolving universe. Earth, our
home, is alive with a unique community of life. The well-being of people and the biosphere
depends upon preserving clean air, pure waters, fertile soils, and a rich variety of
plants, animals and ecosystems. The global environment with its finite resources is a
primary common concern of all humanity. The protection of Earth's vitality, diversity, and
beauty is a sacred trust.
The Earth community stands at a defining moment. With
science and technology have come great benefits and also great harm. The dominant patterns
of production and consumption are altering climate, degrading the environment, depleting
resources, and causing a massive extinction of species. A dramatic rise in population has
increased the pressures on ecological systems and has overburdened social systems.
Injustice, poverty, ignorance, corruption, crime and violence, and armed conflict deepen
the world's suffering. Fundamental changes in our attitudes, values, and ways of living
The choice is ours: to care for Earth and one another or
to participate in the destruction of ourselves and the diversity of life.
As a global civilization comes into being, we can choose
to build a truly democratic world, securing the rule of law and the human rights of all
women, men, and children. We can respect the integrity of different cultures. We can treat
Earth with respect, rejecting the idea that nature is merely a collection of resources to
be used. We can realize that our social, economic, environmental, and spiritual problems
are interconnected and cooperate in developing integrated strategies to address them. We
can resolve to balance and harmonize individual interests with the common good, freedom
with responsibility, diversity with unity, short term objectives with long term goals,
economic progress with the flourishing of ecological systems.
To fulfill these aspirations, we must recognize that human
development is not just about having more, but also about being more. The challenges
humanity faces can only be met if people everywhere acquire an awareness of global
interdependence, identify themselves with the larger world, and decide to live with a
sense of universal responsibility. The spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all
life will be strengthened if we live with reverence for the sources of our being,
gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in the larger
scheme of things.
Having reflected on these considerations, we recognize the
urgent need for a shared vision of basic values that will provide an ethical foundation
for the emerging world community. We, therefore, affirm the following principles for
sustainable development. We commit ourselves as individuals, organizations, business
enterprises, communities, and nations to implement these interrelated principles and to
create a global partnership in support of their fulfillment.
Together in hope, we pledge to:
1. Respect Earth and all life,
recognizing the interdependence and intrinsic value of all
affirming respect for the inherent dignity of every person
and faith in the intellectual, ethical, and spiritual potential of humanity.
2. Care for the community of life in all its
accepting that responsibility for Earth is shared by
affirming that this common responsibility takes different
forms for different individuals, groups, and nations, depending on their contribution to
existing problems and the resources at hand.
3. Strive to build free, just, participatory,
sustainable, and peaceful societies,
affirming that with freedom, knowledge, and power goes
responsibility and the need for moral self-restraint;
recognizing that a decent standard of living for all and
the quality of relations among people and with nature are the true measure of progress.
4. Secure Earth's abundance and beauty for present and
accepting the challenge before each generation to
conserve, improve, and expand their natural and cultural heritage and to transmit it
safely to future generations;
acknowledging that the benefits and burdens of caring for
Earth should be shared fairly between present and future generations.
5. Protect and restore the integrity of Earth's
ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity and the natural
processes that sustain and renew life.
1 Make ecological conservation an integral part
of all development planning and implementation.
2 Establish representative and viable nature
and biosphere reserves, including wild lands, sufficient to maintain Earth's biological
diversity and life-support systems.
3 Manage the extraction of renewable resources
such as food, water, and wood in ways that do not harm the resilience and productivity of
ecological systems or threaten the viability of individual species.
4 Promote the recovery of endangered species
and populations through in situ conservation involving habitat protection and restoration.
5 Take all reasonable measures to prevent the
human-mediated introduction of alien species into the environment.
6. Prevent harm to the environment as the best
method of ecological protection and, when knowledge is limited, take the path of caution.
1 Give special attention in decision making to
the cumulative, long-term, and global consequences of individual and local actions.
2 Stop activities that threaten irreversible or
serious harm even when scientific information is incomplete or inconclusive.
3 Establish environmental protection standards
and monitoring systems with the power to detect significant human environmental impacts,
and require environmental impact assessments and reporting.
4 Mandate that the polluter must bear the full
cost of pollution.
5 Ensure that measures taken to prevent or
control natural disasters, infestations, and diseases are directed to the relevant causes
and avoid harmful side effects.
6 Uphold the international obligation of states
to take all reasonable precautionary measures to prevent transboundary environmental harm.
7. Treat all living beings with compassion, and
protect them from cruelty and wanton destruction.
JUST AND SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC ORDER
8. Adopt patterns of consumption, production, and
reproduction that respect and safeguard Earth's regenerative capacities, human rights, and
1 Eliminate harmful waste, and work to ensure
that all waste can be either consumed by biological systems or used over the long-term in
industrial and technological systems.
2 Act with restraint and efficiency when using
energy and other resources, and reduce, reuse, and recycle materials.
3 Rely increasingly on renewable energy sources
such as the sun, the wind, biomass, and hydrogen.
4 Establish market prices and economic
indicators that reflect the full environmental and social costs of human activities,
taking into account the economic value of the services provided by ecological systems.
5 Empower consumers to choose sustainable
products over unsustainable ones by creating mechanisms such as certification and
6 Provide universal access to health care that
fosters reproductive health and responsible reproduction.
9. Ensure that economic activities support and
promote human development in an equitable and sustainable manner.
1 Promote the equitable distribution of wealth.
2 Assist all communities and nations in
developing the intellectual, financial, and technical resources to meet their basic needs,
protect the environment, and improve the quality of life.
10. Eradicate poverty, as an ethical, social,
economic, and ecological imperative.
1 Establish fair and just access to land,
natural resources, training, knowledge, and credit, empowering every person to attain a
secure and sustainable livelihood.
2 Generate opportunities for productive and
3 Make clean affordable energy available to
4 Recognize the ignored, protect the
vulnerable, serve those who suffer, and respect their right to develop their capacities
and to pursue their aspirations.
5 Relieve developing nations of onerous
international debts that impede their progress in meeting basic human needs through
11. Honor and defend the right of all persons,
without discrimination, to an environment supportive of their dignity, bodily health, and
1 Secure the human right to potable water,
clean air, uncontaminated soil, food security, and safe sanitation in urban , rural, and
2 Establish racial, religious, ethnic, and
3 Affirm the right of indigenous peoples to
their spirituality, knowledge, lands and resources and to their related practice of
traditional sustainable livelihoods.
4 Institute effective and efficient access to
administrative and judicial procedures, including redress and remedy, that enable all
persons to enforce their environmental rights.
12. Advance worldwide the cooperative study of
ecological systems, the dissemination and application of knowledge, and the development,
adoption, and transfer of clean technologies.
1 Support scientific research in the public
2 Value the traditional knowledge of indigenous
peoples and local communities.
3 Assess and regulate emerging technologies,
such as biotechnology, regarding their environmental, health, and socioeconomic impacts.
4 Ensure that the exploration and use of
orbital and outer space supports peace and sustainable development
DEMOCRACY AND PEACE
13. Establish access to information, inclusive
participation in decision making, and transparency, truthfulness, and accountability in
1 Secure the right of all persons to be
informed about ecological, economic, and social developments that affect the quality of
2 Establish and protect the freedom of
association and the right to dissent on matters of environmental, economic, and social
3 Ensure that knowledge resources vital to
people's basic needs and development remain accessible and in the public domain.
4 Enable local communities to care for their
own environments, and assign responsibilities for environmental protection to the levels
of government where they can be carried out most effectively.
5 Create mechanisms that hold governments,
international organizations, and business enterprises accountable to the public for the
consequences of their activities.
14. Affirm and promote gender equality as a
prerequisite to sustainable development.
1 Provide, on the basis of gender equality,
universal access to education, health care, and employment in order to support the full
development of every person's human dignity and potential.
2 Establish the full and equal participation of
women in civil, cultural, economic, political, and social life.
15. Make the knowledge, values, and skills needed to
build just and sustainable communities an integral part of formal education and lifelong
learning for all.
1 Provide youth with the training and resources
required to participate effectively in civil society and political affairs.
2 Encourage the contribution of the artistic
imagination and the humanities as well as the sciences in environmental education and
3 Engage the media in the challenge of fully
educating the public on sustainable development , and take advantage of the educational
opportunities provided by advanced information technologies.
16. Create a culture of peace and cooperation.
1 Seek wisdom and inner peace.
2 Practice nonviolence, implement comprehensive
strategies to prevent violent conflict, and use collaborative problem solving to manage
and resolve conflict.
3 Teach tolerance and forgiveness, and promote
cross cultural and interreligious dialogue and collaboration.
4 Eliminate weapons of mass destruction,
promote disarmament, secure the environment against severe damage caused by military
activities, and convert military resources toward peaceful purposes.
5 Recognize that peace is the wholeness created
by balanced and harmonious relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures,
other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which all are a part
A New Beginning
As never before in human history, common destiny beckons
us to redefine our priorities and to seek a new beginning. Such renewal is the promise of
these Earth Charter principles, which are the outcome of a worldwide dialogue in search of
common ground and shared values. Fulfillment of this promise depends upon our expanding
and deepening the global dialogue. It requires an inner change--a change of heart and
mind. It requires that we take decisive action to adopt, apply, and develop the vision of
the Earth Charter locally, nationally, regionally, and globally. Different cultures and
communities will find their own distinctive ways to express the vision, and we will have
much to learn from each other.
Every individual, family, organization, corporation, and
government has a critical role to play. Youth are fundamental actors for change.
Partnerships must be forged at all levels. Our best thought and action will flow from the
integration of knowledge with love and compassion.
In order to build a sustainable global community, the
nations of the world must renew their commitment to the United Nations and develop and
implement the Earth Charter principles by negotiating for adoption a binding agreement
based on the IUCN Draft International Covenant on Environment and Development. Adoption of
the Covenant will provide an integrated legal framework for environmental and sustainable
development law and policy.
We can, if we will, take advantage of the creative
possibilities before us and inaugurate an era of fresh hope. Let ours be a time that is
remembered for an awakening to a new reverence for life, a firm commitment to restoration
of Earth's ecological integrity, a quickening of the struggle for justice and empowerment
of the people, cooperative engagement of global problems, peaceful management of change,
and joyful celebration of life. We will succeed because we must.
The Earth Charter Campaign, International Secretariat
The Earth Council | Apdo. 2323-1002 | San Josť, Costa Rica
Tel: +506-256-1611 | Fax: +506-255-2197 | e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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