Online Zoom Forum: The Earth Charter: Spiritual, Social, and Policy Perspectives.

Date: Wednesday 24 July 2024.
Time: 7pm-9pm (UK time).

Event Description:

Format: There will be five talks, each of 12 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of discussion among the speakers and the chair, followed by Q & A.


Dr Michael Williams:

Bio: In 1998, Dr Michael Williams undertook a self-study storytelling apprenticeship through the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh. In 2005, he exchanged a rewarding role as an English teacher for an uncertain life as an itinerant storyteller. Despite the challenges and setbacks, Dr Williams persevered and founded a successful storytelling and coaching practice. He has worked with adults, young and old, as well as with a variety of community and corporate clients across the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and Canada. In recent years, he has focused his work on those with chronic illness and seniors suffering from loneliness and social isolation. In 2018, Dr Williams became a certified End-of-Life Planning Facilitator and Trainer for Before I Go Solutions/MyGoodbyes. He’s also a popular online workshop leader and speaker and is the 2024 Storyteller/Writer-in-Residence at the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead near St. George, Ontario. Dr Williams currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario where he is writing a collection of memoir stories.


Dr Nigel Dower:

Title: The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Earth Charter.

Description: A model of what a global ethic can be - a product of intercultural dialogue endorsed by people of all faiths and none - but significantly lacking in another important aspect of a robust global ethic, namely engagement with the real world in respect to the social, political, legal and institutional changes that are needed.

Bio: Nigel Dower is Honorary Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Aberdeen and Academic Consultant (Cosmopolitan Agendas). He joined the University of Aberdeen in 1967 where he has taught until 2004, except for three years teaching Philosophy in Zimbabwe (1983-86) and five months as Gillespie Visiting Professor, College of Wooster, Ohio in 2000. He was Head of Department from 1996-1999 and 2000-2001. In June 2004 he took early retirement in order to pursue his interests in exploring ethics in a globalise world through teaching, lectures, writing and consultancy. He was visiting Professor in the University of Akureyri, Iceland in Sept-October 2004, and will be Visiting Professor in Colorado State University, Fort Collins in January-May 2006.

His main research interests are in the field of the ethics/philosophy of development, environment and international relations. He taught for many years two special subjects relating to his research, one on the ethics of international relations, covering normative theories, war and peace, theories of justice/human rights and global citizenship, and the other on the ethics of development, environment and technology. He has also\ taught various other courses on the ethics of sustainable development. (See list of publications below.)

In 1997 he wrote World Ethics - the New Agenda for the Edinburgh University Press (1998) and is Editor of its Edinburgh Studies in World Ethics. His interest in development ethics is reflected in membership of the International Development Ethics Association (IDEA), of which he is President, and the Development Ethics Study Group of the Development Studies Association (DSA), of which he is convener. He is also a member of the Educational Advisory Board for the Earth Charter and the IUCN Ethics Specialist Group. In 1997-1999, as one of the Associate Directors of the Centre for Philosophy, Technology & Society (which operated from 1990 to 2002), he led a research project on the idea of global citizenship and how educational courses at Undergraduate level might be developed. This resulted inter alia in Global Citizenship - A Critical Reader, edited by Nigel Dower and John Williams (EUP 2002) and his latest book An Introduction to Global Citizenship (EUP 2003).

Dr Sam Crowell:

Title: Bringing the Earth Charter to Life.

Description: When the Earth Charter is given life it becomes a way to create engaged experiences toward a special human-nature connection, values, and an ethical grounding for planetary citizenship.

This is a transformative process.

It goes to the heart of belief systems, worldviews and shifts in consciousness.

But it also invites action, agency, and creative imagination to make a difference in the world.

It is the mission of the Earth Charter to bring wholeness and care into our vision of the future.

As Thomas Legrand points out in The Politics of Being (2021), “we cannot avoid [...] a change of mindsets, worldviews, and values, or, at a more fundamental level, a shift in consciousness” (p. 1).

The mystery of being and our sacred response to it is within us waiting to be unleashed in our lives and actions.

Bio: Dr Crowell is senior researcher and faculty for the Education Center of Earth Charter International located on the campus of the UN University for Peace.

He is a consulting member of the Collaborative for Spirituality in Education at Columbia University and teaches special courses for the Transformative Learning Foundation and The Institute for Educational Studies.

He is Professor Emeritus from California State University, San Bernardino where he founded and co-directed the MA in Holistic and Integrative Education.

As an Earth Charter advocate and consultant, he writes, teaches, and speaks on ways to integrate holistic perspectives of science, learning, and sustainable culture into schools and organizations.

Sam received an Outstanding Teacher award for his inspirited approach to teaching. His latest book is The Tao of Spiritual Development.

Dr Grian Cutanda:

Title: Community of Life:  A Deep Perception for a Necessary Worldview Shift.
Description: Unlike other supposedly ecological and sustainable documents and initiatives developed by international agencies, the Earth Charter is the only document that conveys the worldview that can lead us away from the climate and extinction quagmire into which, according to the French philosopher Bruno Latour, the modernist, anthropocentric, mechanistic and materialistic worldview has plunged us. An example of this much-needed systemic worldview is found in one of the paradigmatic concepts of the Earth Charter: the Community of Life on Earth.

Bio: Grian Cutanda is a Spanish bestselling author, social sciences researcher and environmental activist. As a result of his research, his project The Earth Stories Collection, backed by the Earth Charter Secretariat and the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, is having a major international educational impact. Grian has been co-founder of Extinction Rebellion in Spain and Spanish-speaking countries and now he has just launched a new social and environmental movement named Rainbow Warriors 3.5, which bases its approach on his research into the Myths of the Future.

Kirsten Leask:

Title: Hearts, Hands and Heads: Scotland’s Journey Towards Learning for a Better Future.

Description: Learning for Sustainability has been an entitlement for Scottish learners since 2013.

What is it, and how does it align with the ambitions of the Earth Charter?

Bio: Kirsten Leask is Project Manager for Learning for Sustainability Scotland: Scotland’s UN University-recognised Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development.

She is a former secondary teacher with many years of classroom experience and has been involved in the design and delivery of national education and sustainability-related initiatives and resources; the provision of advice to policy-makers; and facilitating learning for a wide range of learners - across the public and third sectors - for the past 20 years.

Mirian Vilela:

Tile: The Earth Charter as an Instrument for Ecological, Ethical and Systems Literacy.

Bio: Mirian Vilela is the Executive Director of the Earth Charter International Secretariat and the Center for Education for Sustainable Development at UPEACE. Mirian has been working with the Earth Charter Initiative since early 1996. She coordinates the UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter and served as a member of the UNESCO Expert Reference Group for the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). Over the years she has led and facilitated numerous international workshops, courses and seminars on values and principles for sustainability. Prior to her work with the Earth Charter, Mirian worked for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) for two years in preparation of the 1992 UN Earth Summit and a year at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). She actively participated in the 2002 World Summit of Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, and the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development/Rio+20. Mirian holds a PhD. in Education from LaSalle University and a Master´s Degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she was an Edward Mason Fellow. She is originally from Brazil.


The Earth Charter


An archive recording will be made for the EICSP archive.

NB: There will be no refund if you cancel your booking.

Cost: By Donation:
Contact: Neill Walker, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


There seems to be a new issue with Paypal and hopefully it will be resolved.

If you are having a difficulty paying by Paypal, then you can pay by bank transfer instead.

NB: you must also email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can send you the Zoom sign-in details.

Here are the bank transfer details:

Account Name: Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace
Bank Address: Edinburgh Royal Mile Branch
Account Number: 06131159
Sort Code: 802000

Some international transfers also ask for an IBAN number:

The IBAN number is as follows:

GB70 BOFS 8020 0006 1311 59

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