- Our ecological and social systems are in crisis
- “SUSTAINABLE HUMAN COMMUNITIES” need to be developed in order to rebuild the ecological and cultural fabric of our world.
- Problems are best solved for the long-term instead of working on band-aid solutions.
- The problems we face require radical cultural change and therefore need to be solved at the paradigm level - through catalyzing a paradigm shift (a shift in thinking, consciousness, values, worldview, mental models). Intergenerational and cross-cultural work enable us to break out of our regular ways of seeing/being/believing. Intergenerational relationships are transformative.
- Youth are a visionary/idealistic, hopeful, bold, courageous, catalyzing force and are willing to challenge the status quo and imagine new possibilities. Thinking about and listening to young people shifts our orientation from the short-term to the long-term. It also helps us move beyond current paradigms to recognize that change is not only necessary but totally within our reach.
- Youth leadership and an approach to systemic change by adults that considers our children and youth’s needs, concerns, participation are therefore the key to cultural change.
UNPACKING THE EARTH CARE THEORY OF CHANGE:
- Youth leadership as practiced by Earth Care recognizes that youth must be part of the decision-making processes that affect their lives and therefore space for youth voices, leadership, and decision-making cannot be assumed but needs to be actively created and facilitated by our staff.
Sustainability education as practiced by Earth Care includes:
- developing knowledge and skills of ecological literacy and environmental stewardship,
- changing the way we think about the world and our relationship to it: questioning assumptions, mental models and worldviews,
- practicing cultural competency through anti-oppression and decolonization,
- practical and visionary action: learning by doing.
- Community Action as practiced by Earth Care develops young people’s awareness of social change theory and practice, builds their capacity and skills to engage with sustainability issues and decision-making bodies in their community, and focuses on their ability to develop solutions. Methodologies vary for program contexts but include: service-learning, civic engagement, community development, and community organizing.
Sustainable communities have the following characteristics:
- EQUITY – equal access to resources and opportunities for community members. The success of some members does not come at the expense of others. The success of the community does not come at the expense of other communities or the natural environment.
- ECONOMIC VIABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY– the economic systems are designed to respect, operate within, and regenerate natural systems. The economic system meets all community members’ basic needs.
- CULTURAL DEMOCRACY – all members of the community are represented in decision-making and community development efforts
- ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP – the human and natural systems are understood and designed as interdependent and mutually beneficial.