EARTH CHILD INSTITUTE

Today's generation of young people is the largest in human history. Nearly half the world's population- more than 3 billion people-are under the age of 25. Eighty-five per cent of youth live in developing countries. United Nations. 2004. World Youth Report 2005: Report of the Secretary General (A/60/61 - E/2005/7), p. 1. New York: United Nations All over the world, children, adolescents and young people, representing nearly one-third of the global population, are concerned with the increasing threat posed by rising global carbon emissions, the changing climate, water scarcity, environmental degradation and increasing natural disasters. Many are already experiencing some or all of these impacts and are being forced to leave their homes and/or to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. Our work at the international level is intended to advocate for consideration for and inclusion of the rights and unique needs of children in emerging frameworks, declarations, protocols, work programmes and the like, and likewise to work toward provisions which will support both formal and non-formal education as well as the participation and local actions of children and young people in their communities.

The global challenges of water scarcity, climate change and children’s environmental health are largely dealt with by individual countries and are ultimately felt at community-levels. Hands-on/minds-on consultation leads to experiential support to policy­makers and programme partners is designed to facilitate development of culturally (and environmentally) appropriate, participatory and inter-sectoral plans for action which take into account the rights and capacities of children and young people to be part of any sustainable solution. Our holistic methodologies are designed to strengthen confidence, motivation and problem-solving abilities in order to uncover the infinite possibilities in what can appear to be a finite and challenging world.

Intergenerational dialogue and participatory planning supports interpersonal understanding and can often breathe new life and measurable results into previously stagnant policies, projects or programmes. The integration of science, literacy and mathematics with indigenous wisdom and practical environmental action are contextualized within critically urgent issues of very basic human rights, health and development challenges facing many of the Earth's children. Our intention is to create a very unique and important learning experience in a developmentally appropriate way for all ages.

We accomplish our goals within a framework of three guiding principles that are woven throughout all that we do, these are: 1. Children are holistic and heart centered: All policies and programmes must mirror these essential core values. A heart filled with love and connection to the living Earth will nurture and honor every tree, drop of water and form of life. These values cannot grow and thrive within a consciousness of pollution, degradation and excess. 2. The life systems of Mother Earth are interconnected, interdependent and transparent in their complexity: The word “heart” is comprised of the same letters as “earth.” The Earth is inherently giving and abundant with more than enough renewable resources for all. Yet, her degradation is so similar to the challenges facing modern families today, where essential values of respect, cooperation, accountability and trust have been lost in the industrial rush. 3. A human rights-based approach necessitates inclusion of children’s issues in all international and national efforts, most notably as a programmatic response to the UNFCCC New Delhi Work Programme and policy frameworks for implementation of Millennium Development Goal 7 on environmental sustainability. Inclusion of and consideration for the rights, needs, education and capacities of children in NAPAs, Disaster Risk Reduction plans and poverty reduction strategies is key to future sustainability. http://www.earthchildinstitute.org/