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Islander spends Earth Day on CESE mission in Mexico

By Staff | May 5, 2010

Earth Charter Scholars gathered on the steps of the University of Guanajuato on Earth Day, April 22. They worked together last winter on Sanibel Island.

At the invitation of Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Sanibel Island resident and FGCU professor Peter Blaze Corcoran traveled to Guanajuato, Mexico for an International Earth Day celebration on April 22, 2010.

President Calderon delivered a national Earth Day address in which he reflected, “The Earth Charter is calling humanity to join forces and act collectively to protect our planet, which is definitely in danger. The Earth Charter is a global movement we should make it grow to guarantee that the world will continue to be a hospitable home, a safe place for all people and all forms of life with which we share [Earth].”

The primary focus of the event was the tenth anniversary celebration of the Earth Charter, an international declaration of shared ethical principles for creating a just, sustainable, and peaceful future.

Corcoran, who directs FGCU’s Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, spoke at an Earth Charter conference at the University of Guanajuato.

“Universities must take a much stronger leadership role indeed, they have an ethical responsibility to do so,” said Corcoran. “I believe that mainstreaming sustainability is an urgent matter.”

The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education works toward realizing the dream of a sustainable and peaceful future for Earth through scholarship, education, and action. Since its founding in 2004, the Center has sought to elevate the environmental mission of Florida Gulf Coast University.

Steven C. Rockefeller, who served as Chair of the Earth Charter drafting committee, delivered a talk on “Harmony between Human Rights and the Earth Charter.” In his speech, Rockefeller explored the relationship between the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the Earth Charter.

Rockefeller was one of several scholars who visited Sanibel Island in 2009. His talk in Mexico echoed his Rachel Carson Distinguished Lecture at Saint Michael and All Angels Church. The mayor of Guanajuato presented Rockefeller with the keys to the city at a ceremony earlier in the day.

The Center’s participation in the Guanajuato Earth Day events came shortly after its Six Annual Fundraising Celebration on Sanibel. Philanthropists Peter and Mallory Haffenreffer hosted the party and have for a fifth straight year issued a fundraising challenge.

The Center relies on these funds to continue its work at FGCU and in the Southwest Florida community. The Center is half-way to meeting its “Haffenreffer Challenge.”

If you would like to make a donation to help the Center meets its fundraising goal, contact the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education by calling 239-590-7166 or sending an e-mail to cese@fgcu.edu.