Beginning October 2019, the Center for Earth Ethics will affiliate with the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Karenna Gore, as director of CEE, will become an ex-officio member of the EI Faculty.
The Earth Institute (EI) is comprised of nearly 2,000 professionals – including researchers, students, and academics – from across Columbia University. It is a unique gathering place for transdisciplinary conversations to advance Global Sustainability Solutions. EI understands that there is no single solution to sustainability in the time of climate change, and that only collaboration will we be able to adequately address the most pressing issues of our times
As a new partner, CEE will have the opportunity to contribute our earth ethical lens to these conversations. Our experience working with frontline, indigenous, and faith communities coupled with our comprehensive scholarship and research will be an important value add to the EI community.
It is an exciting opportunity to work with new partners to research and implement much needed solutions to the climate crisis. Look forward to future news about joint projects with EI and updates on ways to become more involved.
The Center for Earth Ethics is pleased to announce that the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations adopted the recommendation of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to grant Special Consultative status to CEE (via Union Theological Seminary).
Consultative status will enable the Center to actively engage with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, as well as with the United Nations Secretariat, programs, funds and agencies in a number of ways. CEE will now be able to participate in the work of the Council, including opportunities to consult with Member States and the United Nations system at large.
Working directly with the United Nations will advance CEEs programmatic goals of advancing conversations between frontline and Indigenous communities with policymakers, providing policy recommendations, and establishing key relationships to encourage meaningful action on the climate crisis. It is an opportunity to work with high-level actors on the world’s most pressing issues at global summits and meetings. With consultative status, the Center will be informed of the Economic and Social Council provisional agenda and have the ability to request through the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations that the Secretary General add items of special interest.
We will use this new platform to continue our mission of building a world where value is measured according to the sustained well-being of all people and our planet.
Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality: The Role of UN and Multi Faith Collaboration: July 15, 2019
“The 2030 Agenda is our roadmap and its goals and targets are tools to get there.” – United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres
The UN Interagency Task Force involves 20 UN system entities, each participating at different levels of intensity within the Task Force. The one thing these otherwise very diverse UN offices shares is their engagement with religious actors, and/or their awareness, and action, around religious intersections with their respective organizational strategic objectives. Since 2010, the UN Interagency Task Force Members have been convening policy roundtables, workshops, seminars, and joint initiatives around key UN intergovernmental fora (CSW, CPD, HLPF, and UNGA), around religion and religious engagement, and several reports, policy outcomes and initiatives are produced as a result of these consultations.
Center for Earth Ethics Director, Karenna Gore will be participating in an interactive panel at the High Level Political Forum. Union Theological Seminary, home to the Center for Earth Ethics, now has Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) status at the UN.
THE HIGH-LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM 2019 UNDER THE AUSPICES OF ECOSOC
The meeting of the high-level political forum on sustainable development in 2019 convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council, will be held from Tuesday, 9 July, to Thursday, 18 July 2019; including the three-day ministerial meeting of the forum from Tuesday, 16 July, to Thursday, 18 July 2019.
The theme will be “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. The set of goals to be reviewed in depth is the following:
• Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
• Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
• Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
• Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
• Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
• Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development For more information on Thematic SDG Reviews, click here.
1. To provide a dedicated and ‘regular’ space, during a key intergovernmental moment (in this case the HLPF) capitalizing on the unique constellation of geopolitical and socio-cultural human capital, well-versed in religion and religiously related affairs, which is capable of informing, and being informed by, UN system deliberations.
2. To uphold the importance of strategic partnerships by the UN system with faith- based and faith-inspired civil society actors, around the world for specific SDGs;
3. To present and assess the diverse range of partnerships between different faith entities and between them and the UN and its member states, as a means to realising the SDG goals;
4. To thereby showcase the multi-faith civic support for multilateralism which is dedicated to the service of human rights, sustainable development and peace and security.
Briefings on July 15 will be “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality: The Role of UN and Multi Faith Collaboration”.
Dr. Mindahi Bastida and Geraldine Ann Patrick Encina of the Center for Earth Ethics Original Caretakers Initiative joined indigenous leaders from around the world in dialogue at the United Nations Headquarters and at events throughout New York City during Earth Week. Topics included care for the environment, trade agreements and human rights.
The Mapuche Nation and Likanantay were present at the opening of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Delegates representatives of communities and organizations of the Mapuche and Lickanantay Nations, arrived today at the United Nations building in New York to participate in the Permanent United Nations Forum on indigenous issues (UNPFII) with the aim of denouncing the Chilean State in front of The violation of their human rights and the lack of indigenous consultation in the process of processing and ratification of the international treaty TPP11 that a week ago was voted in the chamber of deputies and is in process of processing in the high chamber.
It also marks an important precedent as the event participates delegations from Peru and Mexico affected by the same situation, who will work together in front of the involvement of their rights by having scheduled participation in the events of the international system of the United Nations and hearings with the Body of rapporteurs and treaty systems.
These delegates participate as members of the indigenous council for the protection of the territory, traditions, languages and seeds, (Ciproter) of which are members of the United States of America, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and Chile; in addition to that they traveled in a self-managed way supported by their own communities and social movements with technical advice by ECOSOC agencies to the United Nations.
They participated in the opening of the session where the president of the 73th General Assembly of the United Nations, Ms. Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, recognized and greeted all indigenous peoples, emphasizing the need to strengthen collective rights and generate inclusion processes that allow self-determination of peoples.
They finally expressed the need to recognize the broad right of indigenous peoples to lands, territories and resources, in addition to setting out the main problems affecting their traditional forms of life. This is based on the United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and the international Labour Organization Convention 169
Please enjoy the following videos capturing the work of the panels during #EarthWeek
April 24th, 2019: Strengthening Territorial Resilience with Knowledge and Traditional Practices
Side event “Fortaleciendo la Resilencia Territorial con el Conocimiento y las Prácticas Tradicionales. Experiencias Zapoteca, Sápara, Ashuar, Likanantay y Mapuche” en el marco del 18vo Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cuestiones Indígenas, Nueva York.
Side event ” Strengthening Territorial Resilience with Knowledge and Traditional Practices. Experiences Zapotec, Sapara, Ashuar, Likanantay and Mapuche ” within the framework of the 18th Permanent Forum of the United Nations on Indigenous Issues, New York.
Side event "Fortaleciendo la Resilencia Territorial con el Conocimiento y las Prácticas Tradicionales. Experiencias Zapoteca, Sápara, Ashuar, Likanantay y Mapuche" en el marco del 18vo Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cuestiones Indígenas, Nueva York.
April 26th, 2019: The Involvement of TPP11 and other Treaties that Violate Indigenous Rights
Side event “La afectación del TPP11 y otros tratados que vulnera derechos indígenas. Casos de México, Ecuador y Chile” con líderes Zapoteca, Hñahñu, Sápara, Ashuar, Likanantay, Mapuche Lafkenche, Mapuche Pewenche y Mapuche Nagche en el marco del 18vo Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cuestiones Indígenas, Nueva York.
Side event ” the involvement of TPP11 and other treaties that violate indigenous rights. Cases of Mexico, Ecuador and Chile ” with leaders Zapotec, Hñahñu, Sapara, Ashuar, Likanantay, Mapuche Lafkenche, Mapuche Pewenche and Mapuche Nagche within the framework of the 18th Permanent Forum of the United Uations on Indigenous Issues, New York.
Side event "La afectación del TPP11 y otros tratados que vulnera derechos indígenas. Casos de México, Ecuador y Chile" con líderes Zapoteca, Hñahñu, Sápara, Ashuar, Likanantay, Mapuche Lafkenche, Mapuche Pewenche y Mapuche Nagche en el marco del 18vo Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cuestiones Indígenas, Nueva York.
Beyond GDP: Lessons from Indigenous Cultures and Faith Traditions, SU 190 – KA1
Presented by The Center for Earth Ethics & Karenna Gore Friday, February 2, 1:00 – 6:00 pm; Saturday, February 3, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Course Description: This class will focus on the flaws of current economic measurements such as Gross Domestic Product and the ways in which Indigenous cultures — along with voices from faith communities— are contributing to alternative ways of measuring the success and well-being of a society. Topics to be covered include the UN Sustainable Development Agenda, the impact of colonization on the bio-cultural heritage of Indigenous peoples, the conflict at Standing Rock, the Pope’s encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, and the role of religion in development policy.
I don’t believe that there is a single person on this planet who isn’t aware of the climate system’s change. I fully include so called climate deniers in this as well because even they have to go outside and wonder why they can leave their homes, on many a winter day, in nothing more that a light jacket. Most are aware that something is just not right, that the coming days will bring forth even more uncertainty in weather patterns. For a majority of the world, however, this uncertainty is something they are already living with every day-this is the reality of the most vulnerable in our society: the poor For it is the capitalist project which has brought us to this crisis, and it is through its exploitative and violent nature human suffering has increased alongside Mother Earth’s ecological degradation.
The course went by the name, Beyond GDP: Lessons from Indigenous Cultures and Faith Traditions. Prior to attending the class, participants were sent a short reading list which included excerpts from “Laudato Si”, an article from the acclaimed scholar and activist Vandana Shiva, and a beautiful collection of articles and testimonials written from the perspective of Indigenous people advocating for their rights, as well as sharing the great Original Wisdom which still guides them today.
With around 30 participants, the class was a great mixture of students, religious leaders, professors, activists, farmers and herbalists, and lawyers. We were also blessed and honored by the presence of members from the Ramapough Lenape Nation- Chief Dwaine Perry and Owl Smith. Upon opening the class with a ritual presenting the four elements, C.E.E. Director, Karenna Gore, invited us all to introduce ourselves and ask that we share our names, a product which we depend on most, as well as, something within greater creation which we feel most connected to. It was incredibly powerful to witness the palpable feelings of joy and wonder we all associated with our non-human family.
Just as powerful, were the presentations. Karenna started the discussion by bringing forth the idea that capitalism and our globalized obsession with the gross national product index is greatly failing us all. The next presenter was economist and professor Bipasha Chatterjee who was able to pass on to us a great deal of information about how our global economic system works. For me, however, the most inspiring part of her presentation had to do with introducing us to the many alternatives uses of measuring value. My favorite definitely had to be the Gross Happiness Index used in Bhutan. Dr. Chatterjee explained that with this new system, Bhutan may be one of the poorer nations of the world monetarily, but it was also the happiest country in the world.
Ken Kitatani gave the following presentation, in which he introduced the UN Sustainable Development Goals emphasizing how the global community is coming together to create a better future. We were asked to take into consideration the people who might feel excluded by such an agenda-particularly indigenous communities who have no interest in developing within the capitalistic confines which very much inform the SDGs.
Dr. Geraldine Patrick Encina offered the final presentation of the day, bringing to the forefront Indigenous People of the Americas and the wisdom of original peoples, highlighting their cosmology, traditional way of life, and deeply rooted connection with all of creation. It was moving to hear her reflecting on the to groups of people she is connected to, the Mapuche of Chile, and the Otomi of Mexico. It was wonderful to hear about these tribes both maintaining their traditions, as well as, the challenge they have had in having to reclaim and relearn customs and practices which had been lost upon the “first contact”.
On day two, Roberto “Mukaro” Borrero was the first to present, and spoke about Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Being a member of the Taino Tribal Nation, Dr. Borrero brought forth the perspective of Indigenous people who continue to resist settler colonialism, and its predatory ways. One highlight of this presentation, I believe, was the time taken to talk about the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and the struggles they endured against the Dakota Access Pipeline. That moment, Dr. Borrero argued, could serve as the perfect reason Indigenous people are so in need of their rights. What happened at Standing Rock was not only about a building a pipeline, it was about protecting the water and land which, to the Standing Rock Sioux, was sacred and worth protecting at all costs. To add, Standing Rock was a moment in which, twenty-first century Americans had to grapple with the reality of what it means to disregard and dehumanize Indigenous Peoples. Granting rights to indigenous people is not only a matter of symbolism, it is necessary in order to save lives.
Next, Catherine Flowers gave a presentation on what was happening in her community in Lowndes County, Alabama. She talked about the terrible sewage conditions so many residents are dealing with in addition to other ecological crises affecting the health of residents there. Into this conversation, Catherine also challenged the participants to think about what other factors, beyond capitalism, might have caused this reality for the people of Lowndes County. Racism was also an incredibly powerful force in this oppression which allowed politicians and public servants to ignore the demands for help by the people of Lowndes County, and other similar communities dealing with public health crises. The G.D.P. index does not help these people, and worse, it requires, and only benefits from, their continued suffering.
The last presentation was given by Adam and Shaily Gupta Barnes. Sharing reflections about their time in the Peace Corps, the two talked about the rural farming community they worked with in Niger, West Africa, and the sustainable farming being practiced despite such vicinity to the desert. Additionally, the two presented on the work they are engaged with in the Poor People’s Campaign. Led by Rev. Dr. William Barber II, the movement was highlighted as a moral revival for America. An opportunity to this nation to reflect upon ourselves, especially after the 2016 election, and commit ourselves to a way of being less focused on greed and power, and more focused on the Revolutionary Love Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was so passionate about.
It was a jam packed two days, with so much to take away and reflect upon. For myself, the biggest take away was the realization that we must divorce ourselves from capitalism as well as the greed and over consumption that comes with it. We must be willing to recognize the rights of Indigenous people, and more importantly, we must be willing to learn their earth centered practices we have forgotten as we have attempted to perfect civilization. With scientists constantly reminding us of how dire everything is, I am very appreciative of this class for making me be self reflective on the ways in which I am complacent within this system. The urgency is very real, and I am so very grateful for the space this class opened up for us to become aware of solutions which have already been working on a small scale, and must be adopted – for the fate of all of creation.
Original Caretakers Program – Center for Earth Ethics participation at the Ninth Session of the World Urban Forum. Kuala Lumpur, 7-13 February 2018
Mindahi Bastida-Munoz participated in the Stakeholders’ Roundtable – Indigenous Peoples Session, which focused on the problems that indigenous peoples face as migrants and as citizens in the cities. Discrimination and lack of political representation are the main problematics that Indigenous Peoples are facing. Issues about land tenure, particularly for women, were also addressed. As most of the roundtable was composed of women (see picture below), their concerns for women’s rights were amply exposed. Indigenous youth were also present and they talked about the importance of including indigenous peoples’ representatives in decision making processes. Mindahi’s presentation is in Spanish. Watch it here:
My speech in the Indigenous Peoples Roundtable. Feb 11, 2018.
Mindahi Bastida-Munoz spoke at the Indigenous Peoples Round Table at the WUF9.
The following are the recommendations given by Mindahi Bastida-Munoz for an effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda resulting from the discussions, to inform the WUF9 Declaration:
To include youth, children, elders and women in the capacity building and the decision taking processes.
To impulse new curriculum around ancestral wisdom and spiritual values of Indigenous Peoples
To acknowledge Indigenous Peoples wisdom around the relationship humans-nature. Cities cannot live without nature and rural areas.
To work and pull together with local, national and international stakeholders and governments in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
Indigenous peoples need sustainable development financial support specially for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda among indigenous peoples territories and those who live or interact with the cities.
There was also a Special Session of Civil Engagement and Participation of the Ninth Session of the World Urban Forum, where Mindahi Bastida-Munoz delivered a message about the importance of indigenous peoples’ participation in the public agenda of UN-Habitat. He asked the leaders of the world, in reference to the New Urban Agenda, to acknowledge indigenous peoples’ participation in the decision-making processes. Additionally, he noted that a new relationship between the urban and rural is needed. Modern cities cannot live without the rural areas, from where water, oxygen, food, materials come from. Also, rural areas are sinks for carbon dioxide and liquid and solid wastes.
Civic engagement and participation from all actors is key: governments cannot achieve the New Urban Agenda on their own. We need all, and we need that no one is left behind in this inclusive process when talking about cities.
As was stressed in the Special Session, “Civil engagement has been emphasized in the New Urban Agenda as part of the vision for cities and human settlements as the participation of urban dwellers fosters social cohesion, inclusion and safety in peaceful and pluralistic societies.”
During the forum, we distributed the Indigenous Peoples and the City Declaration in the Civic Engagement Session, the Indigenous Peoples’ Round Table and the Children and Youth Round Sessions.
The Indigenous Peoples and the City Declaration was produced last year by indigenous representatives from different peoples, including Mapuche, Kichua and Otomi, most of whom were young. We were invited to explore means to emphasize the importance of the recognition of indigenous peoples and communities in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the New Urban Agenda, adopted in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016 during the UN Forum Habitat III.
Mindahi Bastida-Munoz had previously participated in two side events on Indigenous Cities organized by UN-Habitat Youth during the regional meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development Habitat III held in the city of Toluca, Mexico, on April 19, 2016 and during the 15th Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held in New York City on May 13, 2016. He was the coordinator of this declaration. For more information, click here: Indigenous Peoples and the City.