On a warm summer day some 65 people from all parts of the Netherlands gathered in Doorn at Landgoed Zonheuvel. Since the Earth Charter+15 event we have been celebrating Earth Charter Day here. Participants were friends of the Earth Charter – including members of the Worldconnectors network – and special guest, among them family members of late Earth Charter Commissioner Ruud Lubbers and Shamaan and Elder Angangaaq from Greenland.

This Earth Charter anniversary was closely tied to the commitment and long standing contribution of Ruud Lubbers to the Earth Charter Initiative. At the gathering we remembered him in a few ways, to begin with by way of a dialogue on the meaning of harmonious leadership. A kind of leadership Ruud Lubbers showed to be possible. Harmonious Leadership includes the holistic vision of the Earth Charter, to summarize with the first 4 principles: 1. Respect Earth and life in all its diversity. 2. Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion and love. 3. Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable and peaceful. 4. Secure Earth’s bounty and beauty for present and future generations.

n the gathering Elders and upcoming young leaders engaged in an intergenerational dialogue on the question: what it means to step up and show leadership in the face of the urgent matters of today? And what it means to embrace a sustainable lifestyle (the global Earth Charter theme for this year), inspired by the Earth Charter. The dialogue was introduced with reflections by Herman Wijffels (Worldconnector and emeritus professor Sustainability and Societal Change) and Angangaaq.

We payed tribute to Ruud Lubbers with a ceremony at the maple tree he helped planting at the occasion of 15 years Earth Charter, 3 years ago. And with the presentation of a special book with personal memories of 34 friends of the Earth Charter of Ruud Lubbers. Among them a few contributions in English by Mirian Vilela, Steven Rockefeller, Herman Mulder and Ama van Dantzig and Lynn Zebeda. The book starts with an overview of the history of the Earth Charter until today. It continues with a visionary article written by Ruud Lubbers himself in 2002 on the relevance of the Earth Charter as inspiration for global governance. The book includes the full text of the Earth Charter document (in Dutch) and the 17 SDGs, guided by a fragment from a blog by Ruud Lubbers in which he stated that The Earth Charter is the ethical foundation for the implementation of the SDGs.

Paul Lubbers, Ruud Lubbers’ oldest son, received the first copy of the book. He responded in a short speech in which he expressed the energy he witnessed among friends of the Earth Charter to continue the ideals of his father and work towards  better future. He also said that The Earth Charter deserves to become much more known to inspire and guide many more people worldwide.

The celebration of Earth Charter Day in the Netherlands was organised by Earth Charter Friends Netherland, in partnership with SBI Landgoed Zonheuvel, Inner Sense and Worldconnectors.

This short film, made by Ayla van Kessel, provides an impression of the special way Earth Charter Day was celebrated in The Netherlands. It all happened outdoors surrounded with trees and birds at Landgoed Zonheuvel in Doorn. The celebration included an intergenerational dialogue on harmonious leadership, a ceremony at the tree which was planted at the occasion of the Earth Charter +15 event, an interactive dinner and the presentation of a special book in memory of late Earth Charter Commissioner Ruud Lubbers.

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