What is

Sustainable Business Coalition

Our Mission Statement

To serve as the foremost organization in the Tampa Bay Region for the facilitation of communication among business leaders that embrace the Triple Bottom Line—People (Employee & Community Wellbeing), Planet (Environmental Health) and Profit (Economic Viability).


Earth Champs History

On September 29, 2001 Earth Charter US (ECUS) was launched from Pepin Rood Stadium in Tampa,Florida. Twelve cities participated in the simultaneous Earth Charter Community Summits and connected with one another via satellite broadcast. It was a momentous day that generated collective energy to make the Earth Charter: A Declaration of Interdependence a reality around the country.

Earth Champs – An Initial Dream: In early 2002, while giving a talk in Tampa, ECUS Founder Janet Roberts dreamed out loud about starting Earth Champs (formerly known as Earth Scouts) for children and youth using the Earth Charter’s principles as a foundation for badges. There was an immediate positive reaction from members of the audience including Rob Serenbetz, an active Earth Charter volunteer, who became very excited about the idea. He supported Roberts to bring community members and children together to grow the Earth Champs.

Initial Planning Group: Roberts invited a group of about 8 adults and 4 children to meet at her home for planning discussions. They spent the next six months identifying key ingredients for the Earth Champs. Roberts recalls, “I remember the first meeting when we all went around the room and gave one or two sentences about what we thought the mission statement of the Earth Champs should be. I was writing people’s ideas on the flip chart so we could link the key ideas into a mission statement when a voice interrupted me. Ten year-old Kyle Hunt had come to the meeting with his mom Sandi Hunt, and he wanted to know, “Are we doing this in adult talk or kid talk?” I had to laugh because sure enough I had been furiously writing jargon like “Empower youth to act. Empower people to stewardship – responsible care-taking roles.”

“Kid Talk” Led To the Slogan: Kyle’s question put the focus on the kids present and their ideas. After an energizing discussion they came up with “Changing the World One Fun Badge at a Time.” The adults added the subtext: “Youth working together to make the Earth Charter a reality at home and in the community.” Over the course of monthly meetings, they drew up guidelines for Earth Earth Champs that included points like it would be open to boys and girls; adults and older youth would serve as mentors and guides rather than leaders; badge guidelines would be open-ended; the emphasis would be on cooperation rather than competition; and there would be no dues but local groups could raise funds for their activities.

Earth Champs First Activities At Earth Charter Community Summits: Amy Moran-Moberg, an Earth Charter volunteer with experience in manual writing, wrote a brief Earth Champs facilitators guide to be used as a basis for training interested adults at the 2002 Earth Charter Community Summit in St. Petersburg, Florida. Partners included the National Conference on Community & Justice Camp Anytown youth and University of South Florida Oceanography Camp for Girls among others to assure that youth had key roles in the Summit. The activities were webcast to library locations where other youth gathered to participate in Earth Charter discussions. Mike Trepper, Youth Director at the National Conference for Community & Justice, helped get the Earth Champs portion of the Summit funded by the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County. Although there was strong interest in Earth Champs, the feeling among the interested adults was that they needed more detailed instructions in our guide.

Earth Champs Festival at Earth Charter Community Summits: Roberts went back to the “drawing board” to see how to move forth with little funds but lots of enthusiasm. Katie Templin Culbert, a student at University of South Florida, came to one of our Earth Charter meetings and jumped in with both feet to have an Earth Champs Festival at the 2003 Earth Charter Community Summit inTampa. Katie took the lead for the festival and along with Barbara Cloud Weisman, a curricula developer for Hillsborough County Schools, designed the terrific hands-on activities that demonstrated Earth Charter principles. Terry Willingham in nearby Ocala,Florida, had been running an Earth Champs Group for a few months and her scouts, including her children Elizabeth, Andrew and Christopher, were very helpful as hosts for the festival activities. As Katie says, “It was a rockin’ festival”.

Development of Initial Earth Champs Guides: Following the festival, Culbert did a wonderful job of connecting folks who were interested in Earth Champs. She facilitated a list serv and conference calls among parents and other community members around the country over the following months.

During 2003, Sue Carter, a former curricula developer in Sanibel, Florida, offered her help in writing badge guidelines for Earth Scouts. Carter did extensive work with writing lesson plans that served as a basis for the Earth Champs group in Portland, Oregon and others. Other volunteers from around the country who sent in their ideas supplemented her work. 

Kelli Lopardo, a former middle school science teacher and mother of two, came to an Earth Charter meeting following the 2003 Earth Scouts Festival. Kelli had taken her daughter to the festival and she was “wowed” by how organized and fun it was. She was a surprised when she found out that Earth Champs at that time was not a fully established organization. Lopardo took on the task of organizing the 2004 Earth Champs Festival. The 2004 festival was another resounding success with adults and kids giving it rave reviews.

It was clear to Roberts that Earth Champs would not really grow without detailed instruction for parents and interested community members to use. It was hoped that volunteers would take the Earth Charter, create badge activities, and share their work with us. However, most people wanted a completed guide to use. Roberts requested and received from The Children’s Board of Hillsborough County $10,000 to fund Lopardo, to write the Earth Champs Guide. 

Roberts believes that the Earth Champs Community is central to the on-going organic process of the development of  badge activities  to inspire and empower children and youth to make the Earth Champs principles a reality in their lives and communities. She knows that their input and feedback will enrich and soar the Earth Champs to heights yet unimagined.