Ombudspersoon Toekomstige Generaties komt met uitspraak Inclusief Onderwijs

Het Lab Toekomstige Generaties met de Waarnemend  Ombudspersoon Toekomstige Generaties Jan van de Venis komt met nieuwe uitspraak: Verruim je blik op het basisonderwijs.  

In Nederland heeft ieder kind recht op en toegang tot onderwijs, maar hoe inclusief is dat onderwijs eigenlijk? Versterkt het systeem en dat wat ze leren ten volle het potentieel van kinderen, met name als het gaat om het aanbieden van een inclusieve en warme samenleving? Dat is waar deze kwestie over gaat. Het LabTG heeft onderzoek gedaan en is uiteindelijk tot deze uitspraak gekomen, waarbij de impact van doen of nalaten nu op het welzijn van toekomstige generaties wordt onderzocht en beoordeeld.

Femke Lootens: Discovering the child in ourselves to heal the world


Femke Lootens: Discovering the child in ourselves to heal the world:

– an impression of the Earth Charter Youth Meet Up, 31 May 2017 in Wageningen, The Netherlands

Are you still climbing into trees sometimes? When is the last times you made something without a purpose? Can you still be astonished by a beautiful feather, a stone or a little bug? These activities might be essential for building a better world, as I experienced during the Earth Charter Youth Meet up.

On a sunny day in May, more than 40 students and professionals working in sustainability and education participated in a Meet Up organized by the Friends of the Earth Charter NL. There were presentations on education for sustainable development and the role of art in connecting us back with nature, multiple interactive games, a picnic, and a workshop outside where we build altogether a sequence of life in clay, letting us experience some big lessons rather than telling it.

From this day on, one main idea got stuck in my mind: discovering the child in ourselves will help us to build a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society. Why?

Because we need to look at the world through children’s glasses

For children, the world is a place full of wonder to discover every day. Being surprised by the beauty of nature, admiring, and appreciating it every day helps us being sane. Next to this, seeing pressing issues again in a slightly different way makes that we remember again their urgency and that they are still there. Just trying to look with new eyes to the world helps, but also art is a powerful tool to see the same things in a different light.

Participants making an organic sequence of life during the workshop. Building an interactive common sculpture taught me lessons which are difficult to express in words.

Because we need to feel what we are losing

We not only need to watch again with fresh eyes, we also need to feel again. Children can be indefinitely sad because of a dying bird, images of refugees on tv or an ill elderly person. When we grow up, we got more or less used to seeing things which can make us potentially sad. We don’t feel it so much anymore. However, in order to value the earth and the life is shelters, we need to “hear within us the sounds of the earth crying” (Tchich Nhat Hanh). We should not be afraid to embrace despair and weep as a child because of the beauty we are losing and unjust practices present in this world. It is through this despair that we can also find strength to act.

Because we need to imagine and dream as a child

How does this just, sustainable, and peaceful global society look like? Use your imagination. It is not because it is not there yet it doesn’t exist. We need to envision what the alternative is to current unsustainable practices. We don’t have to start from scratch, other visionaries have gone before us. We can walk in their steps and use existing frameworks as the Earth Charter or the Sustainable Development Goals to guide our way.

Because we need to build a better future

Seeing and feeling today’s greatest challenges is a start, but this needs to evolve in action. Action can be in our daily life’s, through political choices, putting pressure by activism or lobbying for change in your community or organization. With the MAPTING app from Earth Charter and SGI you can share your own sustainable actions and projects online.

Let’s try to reconnect with these characteristics which we can find inside ourselves. Look for your inner child, nurture it and combine it with your current skills and knowledge to make this world a better place for current and future children and grown-ups.

Education of the Heart & The Earth Charter

In September 2000, His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his confidence in the content and the relevance of the Earth Charter. In a letter to the Earth Charter Commission the Dalai Lama wrote that he was particularly happy to learn that the Earth Charter is used in schools and universities as a teaching tool. “I have always believed in the importance of education in such issues as the environment. We  all know the import role of the youth in the future.”

In 2013 the Dalai Lama called for attention in formal education for “Education of the Heart”: “Just as we take for granted the need to acquire proficiency in the basic academic subjects, I am hopeful that a time will come that we take it for granted that children will learn the indispensability of inner values such as love, justice and forgiveness. I look forward to a day when children will be more aware of their feeling and emotions and feel a greater sense of responsibility, both towards themselves and towards the wider world. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

This call was answered by a coalition of education institutes and networks in the Netherlands, by organizing a symposium for 600 people from all generations on Education of the Heart in the presence of the Dalai Lama. The symposium took place on 12 May 2014 in the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. An outcome of the symposium is a special document – soon to be published – entitled “Rotterdam Charter on Education of the Heart”. The Earth Charter is integrated in this document in the preamble. The Rotterdam Charter will be the basis for follow-up activities and dialogues in the field of education in The Netherlands. A wonderful opportunity to introduce the Earth Charter to more young people, educators and hopefully also to parents.

The Dalai Lama stated that it is clear that something is seriously lacking in the way we humans are going about things. The fundamental problem, he believes, is that at every level people are giving too much attention to the external material aspects of life while neglecting moral ethics and inner values.  By inner values the Dalai Lama means the qualities that we all appreciate in others, such as affection and warmheartedness, or in a single word, compassion. The essence of compassion, as  explained in his latest book ‘Beyond Religion’, is a desire to alleviate the suffering of others and to promote their well-being. This is the spiritual principle from which all other positive inner values emerge. Today, however, any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect of inner values can never be universal, and so will be inadequate. What we need according to the Dalai Lama today is an approach to ethics which makes no recourse to religion and can be equally acceptable to those with faith and those without: a secular ethics. This is exactly what the Earth Charter represents. The Earth Charter resulted from a decade-long, worldwide, cross cultural civil society dialogue to identify the widely shared values and principles of sustainability, and is being used as a values-based educational tool to guide humanity towards a sustainable future.

Ruud Lubbers and Dalai Lama

The Earth Charter was presented at the symposium by former prime minister and Earth Charter Commissioner Ruud Lubbers. He welcomed the Dalai Lama at the symposium with the words: “Let us focus on compassion as we are united in the Earth Charter and its call for a joyful celebration of life. (..) Erasmus, living twenty generations before us, would feel uplifted by this symposium, uniting religion and humanism aware of our responsibility for Our Common Future. Erasmus would be delighted after the Earth Charter and the Charter of Compassion now to go for the Education of the Heart.”