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I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address these problems.

But I was wrong! The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.” 

– Gus Speth

“When our central organizing priority becomes the well-being of all life, then what happens through us is the recovery of the world”

-Joanna Macy – Active Hope

“The world was not left to us by our parents. It is lent to us by our children”

-An African Proverb

Our Stories Describe Who We Are and How We Conduct Our Lives

Like all human cultures before us, modern humanity has created a collection of stories to explain the way that our world operates. These stories include the story of our origins and an account of our role and function in the universe. These stories are partly inaccurate and fabricated. They are partly a window on the truth of how the universe operates. Many of these stories are seen through the distortions created by our culture’s prejudices.

Author Charles Eisenstein says:

Our stories are mostly unconscious. A story paints a particular picture of how life is or should be. A story directly describes and shapes our lives and our vision of the world, often without us even being aware of its influence. Another word for story is ‘worldview’. Worldview is commonly defined as a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world that guides us.”

The worldview of a large percentage of human beings over age 35 is believing that we are separate from Nature and that our technologies have complete control over Nature. This worldview is called “The Story of Separation” – a story that is not supported by modern science. The result is that many older human adults are apathetic about Nature even though Nature is our home upon which we all depend.

We see this apathy expressed in human attitudes about the climate change crisis and a deep distrust of scientists and educators. In addition, our older adult population has actively participated in the pollution of our society’s value system resulting in an economic free-for-all that has caused the over-consumption of Nature’s resources.

I offer this question to you:

How can humans thrive within a natural world that has the ingredients necessary for our survival but, at the same time, is threatened by human destruction of that world?

In answer to this question, Earth Charter offers a challenge to we environmental educators and to all stewards of Nature.

As an environmental educator, I have grown to believe that the future welfare of my students is in jeopardy. Many of these fine young people are unaware of the world that much of the adult generation over age 25 is leaving for them — a future world that includes limited food supplies, less land available to support all life on earth, and social unrest. Many of us older adults are apathetic about Nature even though Nature is our home upon which we all depend. Much of the human adult population over age 25 harbors a worldview that humanity is not connected to Nature. We see this apathy expressed in human attitudes about the climate change crisis and a deep distrust of scientists and educators. The fact is that Nature can operate without humans but humans cannot survive without NatureIn addition, our older adult population has actively participated in the pollution of our society’s value system resulting in an economic free-for-all that has caused the over-consumption of Nature’s resources.

I have asked myself the following question:

How can humans thrive within a natural world that has the ingredients necessary for our survival but, at the same time, is threatened by human destruction of that world?

In answer to this question, Earth Charter offers a challenge to we environmental educators and to all stewards of Nature.

We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. … a future that at once holds great peril and great promise. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, 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.”

My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.

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