PROGRAMS

ETHICS & ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

NEW !!!!!

Greetings,

Hope this finds you well. Please excuse the form letter.
 
I am contacting you today on behalf of John Feeney and Population Institute -- we are all working together this year to run another successful Global Population Speak Out (in February 2010).
 
Last year you provided important credibility and leadership to John’s idea: Global Population Speak Out (GPSO), by signing the letter he sent to prominent people all over the world.
This letter asked its recipients to pledge to “Speak Out” in some way on the problems related to the size and growth of the human population in February 2009. The response was impressive.
 
We would very much value your support in this year’s GPSO as well.
 
The version of the GPSO 2010 letter you see below is essentially the final draft, though some very minor revisions might still be made.
 
Please look the letter over and then, if you're willing to have your name among the signers again, just reply to this email with "I'll sign". If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact me.
 
Thank you so much,
 
Joe Bish
GPSO 2010 Coordinator
Population Institute
Home Office: 603-283-6686
 
Invitation to Join a Historic Gathering of Voices
 
Dear Friend and Colleague,
 
We, the undersigned, invite you to be a part of the Global Population Speak Out — 2010. It’s a simple idea in response to one of humanity’s greatest challenges.
 
You are one of a group of important voices we believe can make a difference.
Our mission? To deliver the international sustainability movement a critical gift – the ability to talk about human population openly, honestly and effectively.
 
We ask you to please review our formal invitation, below, and then reply to this email with the simple phrase, “I pledge.”
 
Sincerely,
 
The GPSO Endorsers & Population Institute (Names and affiliations of endorsers will be listed below in full)
 
What This is About
 
Our global ecological plight is worsening rapidly. Arguably, a planetary ecological collapse is already underway. Witness the Sixth Mass Extinction, melting ice caps and glaciers, dying coral reefs and an array of other severe, interrelated problems.
 
Despite valiant efforts from countless international sustainability advocates, many agree we are already well into overshoot of Earth’s capacity to sustain us. This imperils not only other species and ecosystems, but humanity’s own sustainable future.
 
Coverage is Lacking

Media coverage of these problems is terribly insufficient.
Particularly under-reported is the fundamental link between the size and growth of the human population and environmental degradation. It is no comfort that the rate of global population growth has slowed in recent years; both our sheer numbers and the scale of our activity are already far beyond Earth’s sustainable limits.
 
We must act. Now. Change does not spring from silence. Without getting overpopulation to the center of the public discussion on sustainability, we literally have no chance to end the global environmental crisis.
 
Unfortunately, most modern media are pro-expansion, and public calls to address overpopulation often meet criticism and resistance from groups with vested interests in continued population growth. Writers and commentators fear such groups trying to discredit them. Is it any wonder so few want to discuss population issues under those conditions?
 
Power in Numbers
 
Last year, though, we asked an important question of ourselves – “What if a large number of authoritative voices, many of whom may not have emphasized the topic previously, were to speak up all at once about the fundamental role population has to play in planetary sustainability?”
 
We realized opponents couldn’t discredit everyone simultaneously! And we were right.
 
The first annual GPSO, conducted in February 2009, was supported by over 200 prominent people, like yourself, who took the GPSO Pledge. That month, we documented 185 individual acts of bravery and determination. Even better, the international media began to awaken from their long population amnesia. We had articles and mentions in Science Magazine, The London Times Online and The Christian Science Monitor. We also conducted radio interviews all over the United States. Not to mention the 28 blog articles, 46 letters-to-the-editors, and 20 scholarly articles that were produced by GPSO’s 2009 participants.
 
Click here to see the list of pledgers from GPSO 2009
 
Click here to see the catalog of all actions they took in GPSO 2009.
 
We had fun. We made a difference. We are doing it again.
 
 
A New Leader, A New Friend
 
For GPSO 2010, we decided to get even more hands on deck. So, we’ve partnered with a leading international population advocacy organization, The Population Institute.
As world leaders in educating policymakers, administrators, news media and the international public about population issues, they will help ensure that the GPSO message reaches far and wide.
 
To Make the GPSO 2010 Pledge
 
You need only reply to this email with the phrase, “I pledge.”
Our website will add the names of every participant as they submit their pledges, so please include your title and any details to help us in listing your name.
 
Population Institute will keep in touch with you up to February 2010, and then, when you do “Speak Out”, Population Institute will post a link, description, or other indication of what you did on their website. The email address is gpso@populationinstitute.org
 
Please join us. Your speaking out will pave the way for others in future GPSO campaigns, helping to permanently weaken the taboo against public mention of this pivotal issue. After February 2010, the global discussion of overpopulation will come a little more easily. And the future will finally be here.
Click here for suggestions on how you can Speak Out.
 
Finally, please take this opportunity to sign up for a daily email distributed by Population Institute President William Ryerson. Ryerson, who also serves as President of the Population Media Center, distributes this email to a network of over 1000 people around the world. Topics always relate to population and sustainability, and often include important news stories, editorials and related academic research.
 
Thank you,
 
Signers names and affiliations.

One of the main Assisi Nature Council’s objective is to expand the understanding of Environmental Ethics .


ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS

Broadly speaking Environmental Ethics is an extension of applied ethics. It is the practical application of philosophically-based moral norms to the relation man-environment.
It emerged as an academic discipline in the Anglosaxon intellectual and emotional climate of the 1970s. Its social roots were in a world of higher standard of living that included the search for environmental quality of life.

The old -style “Love of Nature” sang by poets and glorified by painters has acquired a new name: Sustainability.
During the transition from Conservation to Environmentalism and its mantra.
Sustainability, we have gained in pragmatism and realism, but we have lost something precious, the romantic core of our view of the universe and we have substituted it with a firm man-centred outlook. It is our intention to restore the spirit of Nature Conservation, with its emphasis on love , sensuous perception and emotional feeling, to the Ethics of Sustainability.

"By their works ye shall know them " St.Matthew 7.13-23
The Strategy for Sustainable Living "Caring for the Earth” of 1991 states:
"To adopt the ethic for living sustainably, people must re-examine their values and alter their behaviour.”

This is a tall order , especially as this new ethic calls for a complete reversal of our most cherished consumer practices and lifestyle. The most used definition of Sustainability is found in Our Common Future (also known as the Brundtland Report) of 1987 :

" Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. "

This message has engendered various interpretations to suit different worldviews and human contingent needs, which really do not demand an overhaul of our behaviour of values. As prof. Albert Bartlett and other eminent environmentalists notice, the term reveals contradictions when is seen from political leaders and interest groups, which do not have sustainability as their objectives.

Living sustainabily means limiting our aggregate ecological footprint – less People And less Consumption , in order to adapt to the finite size of resources and the environment, as a whole and its carrying capacity. And these two notion have changed and given scientific justification to environmental economics and politics.
The Sustainable Life should relate and adapt to the finite size of resources, ecosystems, the environment, as a whole and its capacity to support all its inhabitants.




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The EARTH CHARTER

An ethically-inspired international initiative the Earth Charter is a synthesis of values, principles, and aspirations that reflect extensive international consultations conducted over a period of many years.

These principles are also based upon contemporary science, international law, and the insights of philosophy and religion.
The President of the Assisi Nature Council Maria Luisa Cohen has been involved in the drafting of the Earth Charter, as part of an open process of participatory consultation ever conducted in connection with an international document.

It was presented in Assisi on the 11th December 1999, with the title " Italians and the Earth Charter : A new lifestyle for a new Millennium " .

The Assisi Nature Council has pledged that the following purposes be guiding the association’s support of the Charter:

:: To link the EC with efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
:: To promote the use of the Earth Charter in spheres of activity,
--- such as the fields of education, the arts and the media
:: To educate, inform and initiate programmes on chosen objectives of the EC


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ISSUES OF ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS

OVERPOPULATION

World population increases 138 people per minute!

"To bring about destruction by overcrowding, mass starvation, anarchy, the destruction of our most cherished values, there is no need to do anything. We need only do nothing except what comes naturally and breed. "
Isaac Asimov, Scientist and Author


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A big obstacle to understanding the interplay of environmental degradation and population growth is the role of politics with its pursuit of the latest fads in environmental issues, which ignore the real problem of too many people in a finite planet.

The Assisi Nature Council has lately decided to make this crucial issue part of its Programme of Environmental Ethics, as assessed dramatically by the Worldwatch Institute in 2002:

The projected growth in population over the next half-century may more directly affect economic progress than any other single trend, exacerbating nearly all other environmental and social problems....the trend that will most affect the human prospect is an irreversible one.

Our objective is to demonstrate through documentation and access to population links, to publicize through conferences, seminars, letters and articles, urging the attention of politicians and the media, that a world of reduced population is not only desirable but necessary and that its realization, though difficult in a short time, has developmental benefits and is the only way out of a human and ecological catastrophe.

Our Major links on the subject are
The Optimum Population Trust (Opt)
Population Media Center
The Dieoff

The subject of overpopulation and its consequences on the environment and on our lives are confined to the rarified sphere of academia , research institutes , world institutions and the internet, while its wider dissemination in the public media and therefore in the people’s consciousness, is missing.
We aim at correcting such mysterious absence from the public debate, presenting here
some articles and documentation regarding what we consider one of the most important issues of our time, overpopulation
.


OTHER ETHICALLY-RELATED ISSUES

The Eco-Tradition, its historical and religious roots and its present day manifestations (action and philosophy);

Environmental perception
, values and attitudes, studies in environmental psychology, including the Aesthetic dimension and theory related to landscape meaning, beauty, transcendence, creativity.

Aesthetic judgment
springs from a deep social imperative, that invites us to live within a community of people and landscape.

Sustainable Tourism, also known as Eco-Tourism, which has to reverse the destructive responsibility of much of modern mass tourism, for the destruction of natural resources and cultural traditions.

All these issues are addressed through Education and demonstrative Projects


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ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

Ethics as foundation for Environmental education


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Approaches

Environmental education concerns values and behaviour, promotes research skills (critical observation, documentation, analysis, etc...) and knowledge through active involvement in environmental planning and change in support of a sustainable environment.

It is not confined to formal schooling, but extended to non-formal education settings.
The ecological teaching in schools, for ex., still concentrates on the necessity of fighting pollution, as the most important task.
But very few teachers are engaged in showing that what happens is the inevitable consequence of our way of thinking and that we have responsibility for our individual actions.


Drawings from the kids in Assisi
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