“We must join together to bring forth a sustainable society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace. Towards this end it is imperative that we, the people of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life and to future generations.”
— The Earth Charter, a United Nations-inspired initiative
The preamble to the Earth Charter is a clarion call to action by concerned citizens, to rethink and reset the current direction in which people and our planet are heading. It calls for fresh thinking and action for new development possibilities which deliberately focus on building resilient, inclusive, just, sustainable and peaceful societies that promote environmental awareness and protection for the benefit of future generations.
The Earth Charter comprises four pillars, namely respect and care for community of life, ecological integrity, social and economic justice and democracy, non-violence and peace.
Inspired by the Earth Charter, the Earthrise Trust was founded as a not-for-profit social activist initiative, dedicated to building a new development paradigm that advances the ideals and principles enshrined in the Charter.
The Trust was founded and is dedicated to:
1) Creating a foundation for transformative initiatives to promote new ways of thinking and action that highlights the indivisibility between environmental protection and human development in the transition towards a just, sustainable and peaceful world;
2) Understanding and addressing the structural causes of growing inequality, poverty and marginalisation and in the process cultivating capacity and building momentum for a new community-inspired and community-based development paradigm;
3) Attracting a community of “socially conscious supporters’ committed to becoming an active part of a local and global learning movement working to build a positive legacy for future generations;
4) Rebuilding and guardianship of the historic Rustlers Valley Farm in Ficksburg as a pilot “collaborative development space” to take the ideals of the Earth Charter forward.
These four pillars are integral to and underpin the vision of the Rustlers Valley Farm Initiative.
In August 2013, following a decision by the shareholders to sell the farm, shareholders unanimously considered the Earthrise Trust the preferred buyer due to the vision outlined by trustees to use the land to build sustainable rural communities.
Since September 2013, members of the Earthrise Trust organised and hosted a series of conversations with key individuals to listen, learn and understand the farm’s history, the relationships that exist amongst residents, and to gain feedback on Earthrise’s ideas, and the possibility of implementing these ideas and objectives at the farm. Working together to reach consensus on how best to reinvigorate Rustlers Valley Farm, the Trust had begun forging relationships with residents based on mutual trust and respect.
Arising from these discussions are four goals, each carrying a set of achievable objectives:
- Reconstructing the built environment – injecting new life
- Building a Cooperative Small Holder Eco Farming Programme
- Building a Partnership for Rural Development with Naledi Village
- Building a Retreat and Hub for Development Innovation
They are aligned, interconnected and phased broadly in sequence of the unfolding Earthrise Vision of “building rural livelihoods and wellbeing for a just, sustainable and peaceful world”. Goals 2 and 3 are the primary flagship developmental goals to achieve the vision. Goals 1 and 4 are complimentary, supportive and lay the basis for the built environment and people to achieve and sustain the flagship developmental goals.
Click here to meet our trustees.