Sustainable Development

Back to listMay 16, 2008

SGI-Iceland Hosts the "Seeds of Change" Exhibition in Reykjavík

"Seeds of Change" exhibition shows in Reykjavík

On April 25-26, 2008, "Seeds of Change: The Earth Charter and Human Potential," an exhibition created by the SGI and the Earth Charter Initiative about taking action for change, was held at the Perlan exhibition hall in Reykjavík, Iceland.

The Environment Ministry invited SGI-Iceland, together with 20 other NGOs and corporations, to participate in this major exhibition on environmentally sound living. Among the visitors were former Icelandic President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, Minister for the Environment Þórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir and Hafnarfjördur Mayor Ludvik Geirsson. Minister Sveinbjarnardóttir expressed her appreciation to the SGI members for introducing the public to the important work of the Earth Charter. Former President Finnbogadóttir remarked that the exhibition enabled her to "feel" the infinite potential of a single human being and that the Earth Charter might soon become as important as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Municipal representatives from Seltjarnarnes City and the Vestman Islands expressed their wish to hold the exhibition in their communities.

SGI-Iceland General Director Eygló Jónsdóttir (left) welcomes former President of Iceland Vigdís Finnbogadóttir
Environment Minister Þórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir (left) and SGI-Iceland young women's leader Eyrún Ósk Jónsdóttir

The exhibition was also shown on May 16 at an educational conference for sustainable development held at the Iceland University of Education. Some 100 teachers and members of local councils from throughout the country attended the event. Guðjón Ingi Eggertsson, chairman of Local Agenda 21, a local committee on sustainable issues based on Agenda 21 from the 1992 United Nations Rio Earth Summit, attended from Hafnarfjördur where the "Seeds of Change" exhibition was shown in September 2007. He described how the Local Agenda 21 committee worked together with SGI-Iceland and local school authorities to involve all the schools on a project about the Earth Charter and sustainable development. Many participants showed interest in bringing the exhibition to their cities. The exhibition was displayed at the University until June 3 and was subsequently viewed by participants in several other conferences related to education and youth studies.

Exterior view of Perlan

[Officially opened in 1991, Perlan ("The Pearl") is one of the city's best known landmarks, situated on the top of Öskjuhlíð Hill overlooking Reykjavík. It is an innovative structure combining utilitarian and recreational features. It supplies naturally heated water to the city and provides public space that includes exhibition halls, shops and a restaurant. A hollow steel framework supports the glass dome and walls that link six aluminum-sided tanks, each of which can contain four million liters of water averaging 85°C (185°F). As part of its heating system, hot water is pumped through the metal framework in winter, while cold water flows during summer, thereby producing a comfortable year-round environment.]

[Adapted from a report by Steinunn Geirdal of SGI-Iceland and an article in the May 17, 2008 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of SGI-Iceland]