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FGCU Professor and Nobel Laureate Address Climate Change Education Conference in Nairobi, Kenya
9/17/2009

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University faculty member Peter Blaze Corcoran recently spoke alongside Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Their keynote address was to an invited audience of one hundred diplomats, United Nations officials, local dignitaries, and academics from African universities gathered for a "Symposium on Climate Change Education and Sustainable Cities." The symposium was part of the annual meeting of the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) which manages the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD).

The occasion represented an opportunity to elevate the role of the Earth Charter within the Decade and within UNEP. Maathai and Corcoran challenged UNEP and the IAC to adopt the Earth Charter as an organizing principle for the remainder of the Decade. The Earth Charter is an international people’s declaration of 16 ethical principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society.

Maathai urged that we bridge the gap between ethical principles and practice, saying, "We know what to do. Why aren't we doing it?" Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, which for nearly 30 years has worked to improve the lives of poor women through a holistic approach to sustainable development. In 2004, she became the first woman from Africa to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Corcoran, who is also the director of FGCU's Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, described the Earth Charter's development and recognized Maathai's great contribution to a better future for Africa. "She touches our hearts and minds with her courage, with her commitments to environmental education and self-determination for Africa, and her stubborn hope that governments and intergovernmental agencies will bring about the people's desire for peace through environmental sustainability."

The Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education at FGCU works toward realizing the dream of a sustainable and peaceful future for Earth through scholarship, education, and action. Florida Gulf Coast University is an Affiliate of Earth Charter International.

For further information on the Center and its initiatives contact (239) 590-7166.

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