What is

Earth Charter US

Our Mission Statement

The Earth Charter US (ECUS) mission is to inspire, educate, and engage people in the United States to implement The Earth Charter's vision and principles in their personal lifestyles, institutional policies/practices, educational policies/curricula, and community initiatives.




What is the Earth Charter?

The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire in all people a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations. It is a vision of hope and a call to action. The Earth Charter is a product of a decade-long, worldwide, cross cultural dialogue on common goals and shared values.


What is the Earth Charter US?

Earth Charter US is a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to mainstream the Earth Charter’s vision and principles in the United States. It is the national office for Earth Charter and headquartered in Tampa, Florida.


Why is the Earth Charter important?

At a time when major changes in how we think and live are urgently needed, the Earth Charter challenges us to examine our values and to choose a better way. It calls on us to search for common ground in the midst of our diversity and to embrace a new ethical vision that is shared by growing numbers of people in many nations and cultures throughout the world.


What are the origin and history of the Earth Charter?

In 1987, the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development issued a call for creation of a new charter that would set forth fundamental principles for sustainable development. The drafting of an Earth Charter was part of the unfinished business of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. In 1994, Maurice Strong, the secretary general of the Earth Summit and chairman of the Earth Council, and Mikhail Gorbachev, president of Green Cross International, launched a new Earth Charter Initiative with support from the Dutch government. An Earth Charter Commission was formed in 1997 to oversee the project. After years of consultation and drafting process the Earth Charter was launched in June 2000.


By what process was the Earth Charter created?

The Earth Charter is the product of a decade long, worldwide, cross-cultural conversation about common goals and shared values. The drafting of the Earth Charter has involved the most open and participatory consultation process ever conducted in connection with an international document. Thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations from all regions of the world, different cultures, and diverse sectors of society have participated. The Charter has been shaped by both experts and representatives of grassroots communities. It is a people’s treaty that sets forth an important expression of the hopes and aspirations of the emerging global civil society.


Who wrote the Earth Charter?

Early in 1997, the Earth Charter Commission formed an international drafting committee. The drafting committee helped to conduct the international consultation process, and the evolution and development of the document reflects the progress of the worldwide dialogue on the Earth Charter. Beginning with the Benchmark Draft issued by the Commission following the Rio+5 Forum in Rio de Janeiro, drafts of the Earth Charter were circulated internationally as part of the consultation process. Meeting at the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Headquarters in Paris in March 2000, the Commission approved a final version of the Earth Charter.


What are the sources of Earth Charter values?

Together with the Earth Charter consultation process, the most important influences shaping the ideas and values in the Earth Charter are contemporary science, international law, the wisdom of the world’s great religions and philosophical traditions, the declarations and reports of the seven UN summit conferences held during the 1990s, the global ethics movement, numerous nongovernmental declarations and people’s treaties issued over the past thirty years, and best practices for building sustainable communities.


Is the Earth Charter primarily concerned about the environment?

Although in the Earth Charter there is a special emphasis on the world’s environmental challenges, the Charter is centrally concerned with the transition to sustainable ways of living and sustainable human development. The document’s inclusive ethical vision recognizes that environmental protection, human rights, equitable human development, and peace are interdependent and indivisible. It provides a new framework for thinking about and addressing these issues. The result is a fresh, broad conception of what constitutes a sustainable community and sustainable development.


What is the mission of Earth Charter US?

Earth Charter U.S. (ECUS) mission is to inspire, educate and engage people in the United States to implement the Earth Charter’s vision and principles in their personal lifestyles, institutional policies and practices, educational policies and curricula and community initiatives.


What are the goals of Earth Charter US?

Earth Charter US goals are to:

  • Promote and increase visibility of the Earth Charter locally and nationally.
  • Build community among Earth Charter endorsers and users through the website and on the ground activities including community summits and local gatherings.
  • Provide resources to assist individuals with implementing the Earth Charter principles in their lives and organizations.
  • Develop prototype programs that can be replicated across the US.
  • Partner with Earth Charter Endorser Organizations to make a caring, sustainable and peaceful world possible.
  • Collaborate with Earth Charter International on worldwide initiatives including the RIO+10 events and projects.


How can the Earth Charter be used?

Many organizations and communities are finding that there are a variety of interrelated ways to utilize the Earth Charter and to implement its values. The Earth Charter can be used as:

  • an educational tool for developing understanding of the critical choices facing humanity and the urgent need for commitment to a sustainable way of life
  • an invitation to individuals, institutions, and communities for internal reflection on fundamental attitudes and ethical values governing behavior
  • a call to action and guide to a sustainable way of life that can inspire commitment, cooperation, and change
  • an integrated ethical framework for creating sustainable development policies and plans at all levels
  • a values framework for assessing progress towards sustainability and for designing professional codes of conduct and accountability systems
  • a catalyst for multi-sectoral, cross-cultural, and interfaith dialogue on global ethics and the direction of globalization
  • a soft law instrument that provides an ethical foundation for the ongoing development of environmental and sustainable development law


How can I participate in the Earth Charter?

  • Endorse the Earth Charter and translate it into action in your daily life, work, and community.
  • Join the Earth Charter Community Leadership group to connect and learn about ways that others have been integrating the Earth Charter into their lives and work.
  • Use the EC Handprint to take a measure of how EC principles are being addressed in your organization and strategize and commit to making it larger.
  • Replicate ECUS activities in your community including: Earth Scouts Group, Faith Community Dialogues, Sustainable Business Awards and Coalition, and Local endorsement campaigns.
  • Engage your school or university in using the Earth Charter as a framework for sustainability in its governance, curricula and campus activities.
  • Become an ECUS Institutional Partner to promote and integrate EC into policies and practices.
  • Make financial contributions or provide other resources and needed services in support of Earth Charter US.


How is Earth Charter US funded?

Earth Charter US is funded by:

  • Foundation grants including Allegheny Franciscan Foundation and New York Philanthropic Group
  • Grants from Children’s Board of Hillsborough and Renaissance Center
  • Corporation Sponsorships
  • ECUS Board of Director Members
  • Individual Donors