Two Cities in Italy Host "Seeds of Change" Exhibition
"Seeds of Change: The Earth Charter and Human Potential," an exhibition on sustainable development, the role of education and the Earth Charter Initiative, was shown from April 16-30, 2008, in Vicenza, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Veneto region of northern Italy. Some 1,100 visited the exhibition, including teachers and students from elementary and high schools.
A related symposium took place on April 22. Speakers included Gaetano Callegaro, president of the Vicenza Branch of Legambiente, Italy's largest environmental protection organization, and Giovanna Lodi, founder of the environmental education organization Terrabase. Participants discussed "The Earth Charter and the Challenges of Communication and Education."
The main question raised by moderator Alberto Belloni was how to face and solve environmental problems as we move into the 21st century. SGI-Italy representative Gianni Castoldi stressed the need to find ways of living that hold all forms of life in greater respect. The close connection between human beings and the environment reminds us of our personal responsibility for the kind of world we live in. Participants agreed that the real problem is how to change our attitudes. The discussion focused on the central role of education in forming environmental awareness, the first step toward ensuring real and lasting change.
The exhibition was also shown from May 9-18 in Sondrio, located in the Lombardia region in northern Italy. Situated in the southern Alps, Sondrio is a city with a rich natural environment. Some 1,200 came to see the show, including local elementary and high school students. Comments made by teachers and students viewing the exhibition included: "In order to save the Earth, humanity must discard arrogance." and "If we work together, we can save the Earth."
[Adapted from an article in the June 3, 2008 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]