Gaia Foundation advocates for the UN Charter for Ecological Justice

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The wording for the proposed UN Charter for Ecological Justice is provided in section 4 of the Roadmap to Ecological Justice and is reproduced below:

This ‘Charter for Ecological Justice’ seeks to inspire a new emotional maturity within the human race. This new era will be characterised by increasingly selfless behaviour both individually and collectively in the face of escalating existential threats. To this end, it recognises that our environmental impact is a product of our population size and the way that we utilise our affluence and technology. Henceforth we shall collectively and individually aspire to combine our free-choice, affluence and technology to redress the ecological imbalance, which is escalating the sixth mass extinction. All nations will collectively aspire to reduce their ecological footprint to less than half of the biocapacity available within their borders, as determined by the Global Footprint Network data. Globally, education and empowerment goals will prioritise the symbiotic relationships between ecological footprint, ecological balance, and the urgent need to release more than half of the biocapacity of the planet to sustain the needs of wildlife and biodiversity. Human intervention in wildlife populations will be discouraged unless an invasive species is deemed to be a serious threat to either local or global eco-systems. The Charter recommends that communities work towards living within the biocapacity of their borders. The ecological footprint of 2.14gha per capita is a guide for a fulfilled life within a healthy ecosystem. Local targets for average footprint will need regular reviews to equitably reflect changing global and local circumstances.

The ‘Charter for Ecological Justice’ is intended to provide a formal expression of the aspiration for humanity to voluntarily and peacefully begin to shrink our global ecological footprint until it is less than half the biocapacity of our planet.  It sets measurable objectives. There is a two-page summary and a three-page summary available, the latter is aimed at Heads of State and includes the steps from the roadmap. The concept has been submitted to the 2023 UN SDG Action Awards.

The proposed wording is inspired by several insights from the field of environmental science; these are listed below:

  • The key drivers of environmental damage as identified in I=PAT.
  • Data about the global ecological footprint and overshoot which available from the Global Footprint Network.
  • Research by Lucia Tamburino which models an even distribution of our global ecological footprint, assuming average per capita footprint is 2.14 global hectares.
  • The suggestion from E O Wilson that at least half the Earth’s biocapacity needs to be freed up in order for biodiversity to re-establish itself.  Also relevant is the 2021 paper entitled ‘Protecting Half the Planet and Transforming Human Systems Are Complementary Goals’.

Projects that allow this far reaching concept to be considered, and the principles that underpin the wording, are most welcome.

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