The ultimate goal of YOU 177 is a powerful, collective living legacy – inspired lives, stronger communities, and a sustainable world.
Inspired lives are lives that are purposeful and meaningful. That means meeting not only physical needs but also the psychosocial dimensions that people of all ages need to overcome adversity and thrive. It gets to the heart of the matter.
Stronger communities are communities that are equitable, connected, and resilient. That means ensuring all ages have opportunities to build a positive future, are secure and productive, and can depend on each other.
And a sustainable world means taking into account not only environmental concerns but also interrelated economic and social issues so that we can coexist in harmony with the natural world and with each other far into the future.
"Sustainable" is a word we hear a lot today. It's very much a legacy word. Sustainability is about, in the classic United Nations Brundtland Commission definition, "Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
What might more inspired lives, stronger communities, and a sustainable world look like? The international Earth Charter offers a vision. It seeks to inspire in all people – young and old – a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations. It is a vision of hope and a call to action.
Although in the Earth Charter there is a special emphasis on the world's environmental challenges, the charter is centrally concerned with the transition to sustainable ways of living and sustainable human development. The document's inclusive ethical vision recognizes that environmental protection, human rights, equitable human development, and peace are interdependent and indivisible. It provides a new framework for thinking about and addressing these issues. The result is a broad conception of what constitutes a sustainable community and sustainable development.
The Earth Charter is a product of a decade-long, worldwide, cross-cultural dialogue on common goals and shared values. The drafting of the Earth Charter involved the most open and participatory consultation process ever conducted in connection with an international document. Thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations from all regions of the world, different cultures, and diverse sectors of society have participated. The Earth Charter has been shaped by both experts and representatives of grassroots communities. It is a people's treaty that sets forth an important expression of the hopes and aspirations of the emerging global civil society. After years of consultation, the Earth Charter was launched in June, 2000.
Here are some legacy-related excerpts from the Earth Charter:
We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future.
It is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.
The choice is ours: form a global partnership to care for Earth and one another or risk the destruction of ourselves and the diversity of life. Fundamental changes are needed in our values, institutions, and ways of living. We must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more. We have the knowledge and technology to provide for all and to reduce our impacts on the environment. The emergence of a global civil society is creating new opportunities to build a democratic and humane world. Our environmental, economic, political, social, and spiritual challenges are interconnected, and together we can forge inclusive solutions.
Everyone shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of the human family and the larger living world. The spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature.
Transmit to future generations values, traditions, and institutions that support the long-term flourishing of Earth's human and ecological communities… Recognize that peace is the wholeness created by right relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which all are a part.
Life often involves tensions between important values. This can mean difficult choices. However, we must find ways to harmonize diversity with unity, the exercise of freedom with the common good, short-term objectives with long-term goals. Every individual, family, organization, and community has a vital role to play.
The world is sending out an SOS. Will you answer the challenge?
Dream Bigger, Create Legacy
return to YOU 177 Big Picture