Published on 1 May 2010
Translations available in:

The USA Charter: Youth Charter of Responsibilities

by Nina GREGG
Associated Central Topics: Environment and responsibility .
Associated General Topics: Children . Youth .

Charting the Future: Youth Take on Climate Change is the community-based project in the US associated with the upcoming Children and Youth International Conference on the Environment: Let’s Take Care of the Planet .

On April 9-11, 2010, the Peer Learning Exchange was held on the campus of Regis University in Denver, Colorado. The Exchange was hosted by the FrontRange office of Earth Force, a national environmental education NGO. FrontRange staff provided homestays for all the youth and their adult chaperones.

Youth participants in Charting the Future met at the Peer Learning Exchange to share their research and action projects, present their local charters, discuss global environmental changes, and write the National Charter. Along with all the work, the young people expressed their hopes for the International Conference and their intentions for continuing their efforts in the months ahead. They also went on an environmental audit tour of the Regis University campus and visited Red Rocks, a natural rock formation amphitheatre outside Denver. To conclude the Peer Learning Exchange, the youth presented the National Charter to Deborah Parsons, aide to US Congresswoman Diane DeGette.

This national process has been entirely non-governmental, and possible only because of enormous amounts of donated time, space, and materials. We are grateful for the generosity and commitment of many people at Earth Force and Regis University and teachers in the participating communities. We appreciate our sponsors who provided one-fourth (25%) of the total cost of the national process:

- Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind
- Aveda’s Earth Fund
- Disney’s Planet Challenge
- Make Yourself Foundation
- Staples
- Namaste Solar
- Earth Protect

Everything else was donated. As a result we completed a pilot project that will become the foundation for a more extensive project in the future, if we can secure funding.

April 11, 2010

The National Youth Charter of Responsibilities
from the United States:

The National Charter: Youth Charter of Responsibilities
Let’s Take Care of the United States of America

We are youth from the United States of America,
involved in Charting the Future: Young People Act on Climate Change.

We recognize the view of people in our community and country who do not see it necessary to change their own lifestyle for the better of the environment and others. We take responsibility for these people’s inaction and have decided to take the responsibility of completing the mandate they have failed to accomplish.

We are therefore assuming the following responsibilities:

1. We take responsibility for finding ways to solve environmental problems because we see our world changing before our eyes.

2. We take responsibility for reducing waste.
- We will cut down on litter in our local community
- We will practice the 5 R’s: rethink, refuse, reduce, re-use, recycle

3. We will educate fellow students, powerful people, and all people in our communities because this world will change slowly but surely.
- We will re-educate others by correcting their actions that hurt the environment.
- We will work to encourage the passage of policies of environmental responsibility in our communities and country.

4. We promise to practice what we preach.
- We will tell others to take action as well as taking action ourselves.
- We will never tell someone to do something that we are not comfortable with ourselves.

5. We take responsibility to ensure as much energy as possible is conserved.
- We take action for being energy efficient in our homes, schools, public buildings and businesses in order to preserve the resources used to power homes and cities.
- We are committed to using CFL or LED lights and Energy Star or other certified energy efficient appliances. Also, we are committed to being more energy efficient in our transportation.

6. We take responsibility for water quality. Water quality is one of the more important factors in a healthy global environment because it connects us to one another. Although parts of the United States have impeccable water quality, there is room for improvement. We take responsibility to raise awareness about the impact of storm water on our inland and marine waterways.
- We will research and educate the community to protect our water.
- We will take action by not dumping foreign debris in the waterways and storm drains and participating in beach sweeps and community clean-ups.

7. We have responsibility to understand how socio-economic factors play a role in the previous six responsibilities. We recognize that there is vast inequity in the environmental quality of different communities in the United States.
- We will do everything in our power to ensure the government upholds its responsibilities regardless of socio-economic status, race, gender or geographic region in regard to environmental justice.

We must fulfill all of the responsibilities listed. If we choose to be inactive, changes will not be made to address problems with the environment. Consequences of inaction would include energy/fuel depletion, high water levels due to melted ice caps, the endangerment and possible extinction of many species due to environmental changes, drought, famine, and the displacement of people.

We invite you to help us take care of our country and communities.

- Documents

The National Youth Charter of Responsibilities from the USA (pdf)



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