Sustainable Development

Back to listDec 7, 2008

Netherlands Earth Charter Activities

On December 1 and 2, 2008, SGI representatives attended a conference of the international Earth Charter Network in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

On the first day, the newly-formed thematic Task Forces on Youth, Education, Religion, Business, UN and Media met. The second day focused on investigating synergism between the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Earth Charter, as well as ways the Earth Charter can assist with efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

081207x_netherlands_exh.jpg Earth Charter Commissioner Mohamed Sahnoun views the display of children's paintings inspired by the Earth Charter

On display at the venue were panels in Dutch from the "Seeds of Change: The Earth Charter and the Human Potential" exhibition created by SGI and the Earth Charter Initiative, which had been adapted for a project of the Netherlands National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (NCDO) and Communication on Progress (COP). The project included schoolchildren expressing their hopes and fears about the future in paintings and words. The activity was inspired by the “Youth Earth Charter Forums” that SGI has coordinated and held at schools in Italy.

Various NGOs and faith-based groups in the Netherlands have been utilizing the Seeds of Change exhibition to introduce the Earth Charter as a vision of a sustainable world.

The exhibition was shown on April 20, 2008, to commemorate Earth Day at Bernrode Abbey in Heeswijk, in the south of the Netherlands. Frank Kazenbroot, a monk living in the abbey, organized the day's activities centered on respecting the Earth. In the morning, a Catholic mass was held in the abbey's church, where five of the panels were on display. The afternoon program featured a lecture on the Seeds of Change exhibition and SGI’s activities and philosophy by Johan van Kreij, young men's leader of SGI-NL.

During July and August, Green Cross Netherlands displayed the exhibition at a church in the town of Eindhoven. Throughout September the exhibition was installed at a public library in Rotterdam. Huis van Erasmus (Erasmus’ House) initiated the showing. Thousands visit the library on a daily basis.

On December 7 in an Amsterdam cafe, several panels from the exhibition were on display at the first meeting of the Voltaire Society. Sjef Teuns, an experienced activist in the fields of human rights and child rights, organized the meeting. Mr. Henri van Rijn from ATD Fourth World spoke about the struggle against poverty and SGI-NL Young Women's Leader Akiko Kotera gave a brief explanation of SGI's activities.

[Adapted from reports by Johan van Kreji of SGI-Netherlands and Joan Anderson, SGI Office of Public Information, Japan; photo courtesy of Joan Anderson]