Who owns the Earth?
We all do. Or more correctly, none of us does.
The Voice Of The World’s Future
Who owns the Earth?
We all do. Or more correctly, none of us does. All life depends on Earth’s life-supporting systems. Our legal system operates in a way as if there is no need for the sustainability and integrity of the Earth system. Laws protect and serve the well-being of people – some more than others -, but has little regard for the well-being of future generations, non-humans and the Earth as a whole.
Lack of listening
Governance is largely organised and performed through sovereign states that compete rather than cooperate and, in this way, concern themselves with achieving short-term national goals. Earth is taken for granted and – like future generations – has no voice in either national or international decision-making. The world’s legal system is not geared for listening to Earth (who of course speaks to us in her own voice).
Give Earth a voice
Yet, many people have become aware of this kind of deafness for our life support. They want to give Earth a voice and hence see themselves as guardians or trustees of Earth. Earth Trusteeship is a reflection of responsible citizenship. It is time to bring this caring for Earth to the level of legal significance and to the attention of governance.
Trusteeship is a form of governance that requires a person or entity to act (as ‘trustee’) on behalf and for the benefit of another person or entity (‘beneficiary’). Arguably, the very institutions that act on behalf of and for citizens, i.e. states and governments, have trusteeship responsibilities.
Humanity’s common destiny depends on the validity and effectiveness of human rights and Earth Trusteeship. To be effective, citizens and their institutions will have to act as trustees of Human Rights and Earth. That is trusteeship of what generically can be referred to as the ‘common good’.
INITIATIVE & FORUM
Heart of the Earth Trusteeship Initiative
The inextricable connections between rights, responsibilities and trusteeship are at the heart of the Earth Trusteeship Initiative. Its first objective has been achieved now, a joint declaration on trusteeship responsibilities for both, human rights and sustainability called the “The Hague Principles for a Universal Declaration on Responsibilities for Human Rights and Earth Trusteeship”.
Earth Trusteeship Forum
The “Hague Principles” will be presented at the Earth Trusteeship Forum in the Peace Palace, The Hague, on 10 December 2018 to mark the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to launch a global initiative towards Earth trusteeship.
The Hague Principles
The Hague Principles are the result of a collaboration between representatives of a wide spectrum of environmental, indigenous and human rights organisations under the auspices of the Earth Trusteeship Initiative.
The collaboration started with an Earth Trusteeship Symposium at Utrecht University in June 2017. This was followed by various consultations and drafts around human rights and responsibilities and eventually led to an Earth Trusteeship Gathering of 80 delegates in The Hague in June 2018. Following further consultations, the text of the The Hague Principles was finalised in September.
ENDORSE & ATTEND
Endorse the The Hague Principles & attend the Earth Trusteeship Forum
The objective now is to garner world-wide support. The impact of the 10 December Forum and subsequent events and activities will be substantially increased, if the The Hague Principles are endorsed by a significant spectrum of global civil society.
The invitation has been made by the Earth Trusteeship Initiative in partnership with Earth Charter International, WWF, the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, the Ecological Law and Governance Association, the World Future Council and thirtheen other co-sponsoring organisations.
at the University of Auckland;
• Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law Ethics Specialist Group
• Chair of the Ecological Law and Governance Association
• Co-Chair of the Global Ecological Integrity Group.
Hans van Willenswaard
of Wellbeing, Bangkok Metropolitan Area, Thailand. He is a social entrepreneur, social developer and coach for action research towards sustainability.
Leo van der Vlist
Leo is a lawyer by training. He works at the Dutch Center for Indigenous Peoples (NCIV) and the Embassy of the Earth and is a member of the international board of the Forest Stewardship Council.
Wallapa van Willenswaard
Bert de Graaff
Bert is chair of the Dutch branch of the International Friends of Sekem organisation. Bert is retired vice president of the Dutch National Investment Bank. Formerly he coordinated, what is yet known as the Elizabeth Vreedehuis of the Antroposophical Society in the Netherlands.
Rembrandt works on cultural change towards sustainabilty. He is a member of Climate Psychology Alliance, International Environmental Communication Association (IECA) and the Dutch foundation for the Mediation of Public Space Planning (MRO). He publishes on leadership and relating to nature.