PURPOSE & PRINCIPLES
The Earth Junkies Project creates the space and process in which children from all over the world can build on their existing imaginative capacities to explore their relationships with Nature and distil their own values for the planet. The goal is to provide children and young people with a new social space in which to deepen their connection to Nature through practices that encourage imagination, listening and empathy that inspire personal and social transformation.
The Earth Junkies Project recognizes that environmental degradation, due to irresponsible practices and policies and the associated effects on critical environmental resources, is one of the most pressing problems facing humanity today. We believe that a huge part of our current environmental problem is due to the growing disconnection between people and their natural environment. Particularly with the lack of imagination and empathy in how we relate with nature and each other, which in turn leads to a lack of ecological citizenship in contemporary society. It is the view of the Earth Junkies Project that our loving connection to the planet is one of the most important relationships to consider in an attempt to counteract apathy towards environmental health. Further, despite all the focus and energy on international agreements and protocols on environmental issues, the voices of children are seldom heard or considered. If we fail to include these voices, we are diminishing the rights of future generations to determine their relationship to their environment and also its health.
The Earth Junkies recognizes that each person has an intuitive connection to Mother Earth, and children specifically are inherently affectionate and devoted to understanding and relating to nature. As we grow older, and as contemporary society values logic over imagination, values speaking over listening, and values sympathy over empathy, these inherent abilities fade. The Earth Junkie’s vision is to create a new social space that encourages the further development of children’s existing capacities, those that enable them to connect with nature and with each other. To be a citizen means to be an individual who has a home that she shares with others. Our home is Mother Earth and we are a part of her, we share her with a rich and extraordinary array of living creatures and plants and dwell within an intricately complex network of natural processes and phenomena.
The Earth Junkies Project creates a space for each person’s capacities to be developed in their own way, that contributes to something greater that the sum of its parts. Each child (or older person) who comes into contact with Earth Junkies is able to uncover their own values and concerns, their own hopes and desires and is able to progress through transforming the conditions that govern their own communities. It awakens rather than educates, it builds upon rather than teaches, it creates rather than controls and it strengthens existing relationships rather than inventing new, unfamiliar ones.
Finally, by offering children an enriching, imaginative ecological experience at a young age, and sharing this experience globally with other children, this project plants a seed that grows a new field of awareness and hopefully encourages a well-balanced relationship between Nature and her custodians.
THE FIRST GLOBAL CHILDREN'S CHARTER FOR THE RIGHTS OF NATURE
The Children's Charter is an attempt to create a positive vision for the future in a common visual and emotional language, and acts as a vessel for our current and future relationship with nature. It is an imaginative and empathetic exchange that encourages different ways of knowing. It seeks to connect children and adults alike to progressive transformations in the Rights of Nature movement around the world, while building a movement for solidarity, cooperation and capacity development to enrich and enable children and their communities to safeguard their natural communities from unethical and unsustainable practices.
The Children’s Charter recognizes that the destruction of nature is reaching critical thresholds, brought about by the disconnected relationship between humans and nature, and so its purpose is also to create a framework to foster an ability to act decisively to remedy the root causes of the crisis and to re-imagine, redefine and reconnect our place in the ecological system.
The intention is to encourage deep, systemic changes by promoting new ways of thinking about our natural communities and re-establishing our connection with nature and with each other through the inspiring realm of children’s imagination and devotion to the tasks at hand. The project aims for immediate transformation in the present, as children are not caught up in the past, and are able to confront the future with fearless freedom and creativity. The Children’s Charter recognizes other forms of knowledge and values based on an integrated relationship between nature and people, and accommodates creative freedom of expression and communication. The basis for the Children’s Charter implies a people-process which would build a movement through practical interventions and the shaping of inclusive values that unites mankind with its natural communities, laying the basis for more holistic and inclusive ’community’ and ‘communing’.
The Earth Forum has created a new social space in which any citizen (or group of citizens) is be able to reflect upon their own values and how they might embrace the intrinsic rights of Natyre, from the personal level to the collective and the political, evoking the strengths of a deliberative and participatory democracy. This Process was developed from the work of Professor Shelley Sacks, at the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University, and forms part of the University of the Trees Project she established as a mobile university that recognizes the multiple forms of knowing and learning that can be experienced when working socially with nature. In Collaboration with Dylan McGarry who focused his doctoral Research on Shelley's over 30 years experience in Social Sculpture, they have offered advice and support for the Earth Junkies methodological development.
Whilst Earth Forum practice encourages the fresh appraisal of man’s future relationship with nature, it also offers an immediate opportunity for dramatic thought transformation on a personal level, a change in the way we view ourselves in the world using carefully honed practices which encourage imagination and active listening, both of which are vital for building and developing on existing empathetic capacities. The Earth Forum evokes all the strengths of democratic practice, particularly deliberative, participatory processes, direct action and representative democracy focusing specifically on the strength of empathetic deliberation.
Based on an understanding that humanity is indivisible from the rest of its Earth Community, Earth Junkies is an open, public process for empathetic sharing. It assembles an authentic and legitimate exchange between children, their peers and adults across the world.
Earth Junkies is a process that embraces diverse understandings and articulations of the relationship between humankind and nature, aimed at fostering a common language based on the values that underpin these relationships among children. It does not contain any artificial barriers to participation, and it aims to ensuring its translation into as many languages and media as possible. Developing the notion of ‘language’ beyond its conventional understanding, the Earth Junkies Project uses the language of our imagination (art, social sculpture, storytelling, theatre, workshops, music, filmmaking) as instruments for social change and building eco-consciousness. What is important is that these instruments are not valued for the products/objects they produce but for the role they play in expanding our imaginative capacities and consciousness.
All Earth Junkies processes are transparent. In other words, it is clear how decisions are made, and all activities will be publicly visible.
The Earth Junkies Foundation practitioners are accountable to the individuals who participate in the process. Members will ensure that there is substantial, sincere and clear feedback provided to all those who participate.
The Earth Junkies Foundation is applied in an integrated way, which does not just take into account human interest but the idea that we are part of an Earth community. Implied in the process is the opportunity for citizens to speak on behalf of their land, their rivers, mountains or the species living within their local ecosystems,
The Earth Junkies Foundation is aimed at empathetic deliberation that not only builds a form of understanding among children and adults alike on how we value our natural communities, but also catalyzes a wide variety of activities in various spaces as well as the democratic practice of its principles, building towards an Earth Democracy movement. This principle is honed on the concept of a ’living democracy’, which is built from the ground up, as articulated by the Indian environmental philosopher, Vandana Shiva, and expressed by Earth Democracy movements across the globe.
Based on concepts of solidarity, sharing and cooperation – applying the principles in practice among its members/affiliated groups means that everyone, including children of all ages have the right to participate equally. Given the emphasis on local knowledge and relationships, particular sensitivity will be given to locally specific and appropriate views, knowledge and visions.
Earth Junkies Foundation is a non-partisan project that is not affiliated to any political party or accountable to any government. It would seek to influence decision-making in all spheres of society through its methodological instruments and as an active participant in civil society and local government forums. It is independent and autonomous from any power formation in society.
The Earth Junkies Foundation, the Children’s Charter and Earth Forum are inherently expressions of ethical bases for and calls to action to bridge the normative and conceptual divisions between environmental and social justice concerns. Ecological justice is understood as a move away from anthropocentric views of nature to one underpinned by a recognition of an equal relationship between humans and their environment (the Earth), where the long-term interests of both ecosystems and society converge. This understanding highlights the need for equity and equal application of justice in decisions affecting the present and future of both. This primarily finds expression in citizen participation at local levels, where they are directly connected to and dependent on natural communities and ecosystems.
The Earth Junkies project acknowledges that we value nature and the capabilities of people over and above market capital. Earth Junkies invests its resources in expanding the range of capacities among the citizens of Earth in order to create an equitable and respectful society and ecological community. While working with existing market forces to develop international recognition as a Foundation and legal entity, Earth Junkies is raising financial capital and resources, not for commercial purposes, but to further its own cause. Earth Junkies does not agree with carbon trading or the commodification of nature in the traditional concept of Green Economy. It invests in the growth and development of a human-nature relationship by encouraging an understanding and ethos of reciprocity that extends beyond human society to include a more holistic notion of ecological community.
ETHICAL & FAIR TRADE