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Lecture weekend includes FGCU signing of Earth Charter Affiliate Agreement

By Staff | Feb 26, 2009

In a move intended to deepen FGCU’s commitment to sustainability, University President Wilson G. Bradshaw has signed an Affiliation Agreement with Earth Charter International, establishing a formal association between the two organizations to facilitate appropriate dissemination and use of the Earth Charter.

The Agreement states that it “builds on a shared interest in the vision of the Earth Charter and (was) written in the spirit of promoting decentralized activity and the empowerment of individuals, communities and organizations.”

The signing followed the Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture Panel on Feb. 20 on the campus of FGCU, which featured a group of Earth Charter scholars from around the world, including philanthropist Steven C. Rockefeller. A second Lecture Panel was held that same evening at St. Michael and All Angel’s Church on Sanibel, featuring talks by Rockefeller and Yale University religion and ecology scholar Mary Evelyn Tucker.

Tucker mesmerized the audience with her wondrous story reminding us of humanity’s relatively short time in the broader Universe story, and our responsibility to the wider community of life. She suggested we “compost our sorrow and allow hope to grow rooted in gratitude despite grief” for the many woes facing global society today, while saying we must “celebrate the grounding of the Earth Charter at FGCU and across the curriculum in a university founded on sustainability.”

Entitled, “Working on Behalf of the Beauty and Bounty of Earth: an Earth Charter Scholars’ Panel,” the events were organized by the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education of FGCU, whose director – Dr. Peter Blaze Corcoran – is a longtime Sanibel resident. Renowned ecological writer David Orr moderated the Sanibel Panel.

The Earth Charter Affiliate Agreement is the latest move by Florida Gulf Coast University to demonstrate a tangible commitment to environmental sustainability, one that President Bradshaw indicated would be taken very seriously. Corcoran and Center Senior Advisor Dr. A. James Wohlpart said the Agreement has a two-fold significance.

It elevates the sustainability mission of FGCU and the role of the Earth Charter in the work of the University, while also expanding FGCU’s access to intellectual resources via connections with other universities worldwide and their respective work with the Earth Charter.

The Earth Charter is a blueprint of values and principles to help create a more sustainable and peaceful future. Earth Charter of Sanibel (ECOSanibel) is an island-based charitable organization that exists to promote those Earth Charter principles which are appropriate for the island communities.

For more information about the Earth Charter and the work of the Center, visit www.earthcharter.org and www.fgcu.edu/cese.