SGI-USA Las Vegas Celebrates Earth Charter Day
"Seeds of Change: The Earth Charter & Human Potential," the exhibition created by the SGI and the Earth Charter Initiative about taking action for change that has toured more than 20 countries, was at the center of Earth Charter Day festivities and celebrations at the Las Vegas Community Center on April 19. Over 300 local SGI-USA members and visitors attended. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman proclaimed April 19 "Earth Charter Day" in the city, and Fox and CBS television affiliates and a local newspaper provided media coverage.
The event featured multiple screenings of "A Quiet Revolution" and community dialogues based on this documentary produced by the Earth Council and supported by the SGI that shows real-life examples of individuals around the world making committed efforts to protect the environment in their communities.
A slide-show presentation and community dialogue concerning "An Inconvenient Truth," the Academy Award-winning film about global warming and climate change made by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, was another popular attraction at the Earth Charter Day event. The presentation was led by Reinhard Haase, one of the original 1,000 worldwide slide-show presenters selected by Gore. SGI-USA facilitators participated with Haase in a follow-up discussion with audience members.
Creative "What Can I Do" booth exhibits, focusing on caring for the environment on a daily basis, adorned the community center. Elementary schoolchildren performed live skits, showed artwork, recited poetry and sang songs to teach adults how to better preserve and protect Earth's natural resources. The environmental documentary "The 11th Hour," narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, was also screened continuously throughout the day in one of the center's conference rooms.
Guests Evan and Lara Hunt said, "We were really impressed with the event. It highlighted intricate environmental issues as part of a complex world picture that shows how interconnected we human beings are as a species."
"I wish I had arrived sooner, there was so much to see and experience," observed Maria Castillo-Couch, a representative from the Neighborhood Services Division of the City of Las Vegas and the Mayor's liaison to the Community Interfaith Council. "The Earth Charter promotes the kind of community-based dialogue we need to be having with one another about global issues with local impact."
Youth took the lead at the monthly SGI-USA discussion meetings at the 45 local groups in SGI-USA's Las Vegas Region during the month of April 2008. Meetings included screenings of "A Quiet Revolution" and follow-up dialogue sessions initiated by the youth members around the global issues raised by the film and how people could "think globally and act locally"--for example, in response to the critical local concerns of the need to practice water conservation and make more consistent recycling efforts.
"I don't do as much as I should. It reminded me how much I could do--and confirms my belief that one person really does make a difference," observed Kelly Gurdison.
[Adapted from a report by Stan L. Friedman of SGI-USA Las Vegas Region; photos courtesy of Audrey Dempsey of SGI-USA Las Vegas Region]