DDMBA and its partners gathered 30 emerging youth ecologists from Latin America, the Caribbean and North America from January 18 to 23, 2017 in Costa Rica. This was the second regional dialogue for the “Inner Dimensions of Climate Change” retreat series.
The opening day of the program was coordinated by the Earth Charter International (ECI) office at the University for Peace campus in Ciudad Colon in San Jose. The ECI Youth Program Coordinator led participants in interactive discussions on the foundational pillars of the Earth Charter, a global declaration that was created with input from over one million people on the fundamental values and principles for a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society. The Earth Charter parallels the values expressed in the Inner Dimensions of Climate Change program, and served as an introduction to the five day dialogue focused on regional and local responses to climate change in the Americas and small island states in the Caribbean.
Youth participants identified challenging regional, national and local issues such as biodiversity loss, increased chemical use in agriculture and highlighted the importance of traditional indigenous knowledge and cultivating personal relationships with nature.
The youth delegates, diverse in background, were in agreement that reviving and strengthening indigenous cultural practices that support a balanced relationship between humanity and the Earth as a living system is essential. Participants from the Mayan and Quechua indigenous communities shared personal stories that highlighted the transformative impact of embodying their spiritual and cultural heritage and stated that their traditions serve as a guide to address life’s inner and outer challenges. Case studies were shared on community efforts to reawaken the use of ancestral wisdom among a new generation of young leaders.
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