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Environmental trends in the world deeply concern students who, as future leaders, are major stakeholders.

Proclamation, Declarations and protocols on the environment exists for governments, industry and young children. But not for students.

Between September 9th and 13th 1997 a global Student Environment Charter was created at Istanbul, Turkey. The charter was not conceived as merely another set of fine words but as a series of action points under guiding principles which are realistic, attainable and transferable in different national cultures and local communities for students.

The Charter was developed by VOICES (Vision for an International Charter on the Environment for Students), as an international partnership supported by UNEP. Fittingly it was created in the Silver Anniversary year of Stockholm, often seen as the first world conference on environmental issues. The Bogazici University with the help of its environmental society, the key organizer, along with Sunderland University, to commemorate the death of Professor Kriton Curi, who as the Turkish initiator never lived to see the realization of the vision.

The text of the Charter was created through the innovative group dynamic system called Syntegrity, invented by Stafford Beer, by which students consolidated their important statements into a final format from an initial opening question which was:

If the success or failure of this planet and its inhabitants depends upon how I am and what I do, what is my role?

130 students from 35 countries and from every continent of the world produced their key ststements and action points by this process. They believe that the Charter generated thus, is the first major Global Environment Statement by students for students. They recognize that it can and should be further developed.

The following principles and action points are recommended for all students and their organizations.


We as students aim to achieve harmony within ourselves and with our surroundings, and to re-evaluate the relationship between peop;e and nature. Students' roles include:

* Being encouraged to discover and experience the natural environment ant to encourage others to do likewise.

* Setting up interactive student groups using the university ad other assets accessible to students to discuss personal aims and aspirations

* Actively seeking vbalance between quantitative and qualitative education

* Encouraging universal values in honesty, integrity, loyalty and respect

* Using practical education e.g. through art to achieve their aim

* Creating a close-knit group of students to hold each other accountable by challenging each other to stay true to their beliefs and actions.


In order to protect the environment and to achieve sustainable development we as students need to change our lifestyles by setting an example. Students' roles include:

* Creating social pressure to achieve sustainability by setting universal values, and practising what we preach

* Raising awarenes from childhood via education, media and involvement in politics

* Encouraging and promoting waste reduction

* Encouraging and promoting smallscale local production

* Promoting and sponsoring "green" alternatives of consumption, transport, etc.


We as students will promote the implementations of sustainable development leading by exambple and national governments to adopt such policies. Students' roles include:

* Adopting an environmentally consistent value system and living by it

* Promoting environmental education at all levels to achieve sustainable living

* Actively involving other people in environmental actions, thorugh media and publicity

* Reflecting and taking action in our personal lives and promoting advantages of sustainable living to others, through demonstration, lobbying and actions.


We as students are aware that natural resources and ecosystems are of great importance to our planet and need to be conserved. Students' roles include:

* Increasing awareness of their value now an in the future

* Lobbying for resource inventories, monitoring and including ecological values into cost benefit analyses

* Lobbying for local legislation and eco-taxes to encourage sustainable wildland usage

* Supporting scientific research on bio-diversity and identification of endangered eco-systems and species.


We as students acknoledge that it is our own responsability to ensure that indigenous people and their knowledge are respected and supported. we believe that their culture is a valuable resource that should not be lost. Students' roles include:

* Creating information links to develop relationships and friendships

* Raising awareness and increasing pressure by contacts with and visits to indigenous societes observing their actions

* Supporting actions that help indigenous people to consume in sustainable manners

* Where possible giving indigenous people and representatives a voice at environmental conferences

* Raising awareness about cultural differences and opposing economic exploitaiton.


We as students believe that the current way of production and consumption adversely affects the environment, and that economic change is necessary. Students' roles include:

* Avoiding consuming eco-unfriendly products and rewarding eco-friendly manufactures

* Visiting schools and speaking out in the community about production and consumption practices

* Acting (where possible) and mobilizing by developinginitiatives on "green" purchasing and consumption.


To improve the environmental situation students should strive for a balanced distribution of wealth, and not impose western ideas upon developing countries. Students' roles include:

* Encouraging balanced student representation at international meetings by using a payment by means approach

* Investigating the environmental policies of multinational companies especially in developing countries

* Using consumer power to organise protests and strikes against polluting industry

* Sharing information be the e-mail network on environmetnal damage caused be western interests in developing countries.


Today's traffic systems are unsustainable; therefore, we as students should move towards more environmentally friendly forms of transport. Students' roles include:

* Setting a good example by using sustainable transport e.g., cycling and public transport

* Actively putting pressure on governments users of vehicles and companies by lobbying and protesting against environmentally damaging transport

* Using the popular media to lobby for a change in transport

* Encouraging students all over the world to rethink their travel habits.


Being aware of the growing problems of waste in our society, as students we accept the responsability for our own waste and help to reduce waste production in our society. Students' roles include:

* Changing our consumption habits and reusing materials

* Using all existing recycling systems

* Educating ourselves and the people around us about waste and recycling

* Implementing recycling systems in our institutions by local groups

* Spreading information about existing recycling projects

* Influencing governments to subsidiae research of recycling technologies

* Greening our institutions.


We as students believe that to solve the problem of non-renewable energy sources, the use of energy should be reduced and there should be a move towards more sustainable forms of energy. Students' roles include:

* Using sustainable energy wherever possible

* Using sustainable transport

* Reducing their use of energy

* Campaigning and lobbying those in authority about alternative energy

* Lobbying for more research into alternative technology and helping to transfr this technology to develping countries

* Lobbying for the increase in legislation and incentives to reduce energy usage and increase green energy use through subsidies and eco-taxes

* Increasing education and advertising of environmental issues related to energy


As student, aware of the present environmental problems, we inend to educate ourselves and society to become fully aware of the importance of sustainable development. Students'roles include:

* Encouraging confidence in the future by promoting indipendent thinking and showing the success of environmental project through case studies

* Learning from history by collecting information worldwide, showing the environmental effects of past decisions

* Educating from an early age by including environmental studies curricula and creating groups/organisations for children for outdoor education

* Raising public awareness by learning from other students/peoples experiences, by using media and university resources to disseminate universal values, and by lobbying for public services and institutions for environmental, social and scientific research

* Encouraging confidence and faith in the possibility of change.


We as students believe education in universities is essential for improving the consciousness of people on environmental issues. Students should have knoledge of environmental problems relaed to their field of study and be able to work into an interdisciplinary and practical setting. Students'roles include:

* Showing an interest in environmental concern and asking teachers to give lectures on environmental issues

* Having a basic understandings of the environment ourselvesand implementing our thought in actions

* Actively raising awareness by talking to others, organising lectures and estabilishing worfing groups

* Promoting and lobbying for compulsory environmental courses and integration of environmental issues in all subjects

* Encouraging an interdisciplinary approach between industry and academics

* Campaigning for the removal of barriers between faclties organising joint projects and removing competitiveness for funding

* Making program themselves that can be thaught at primary and higher schools

* Involving local deciison makers and influencing government to teach environmental education

* Influencing teachers and professors to research ways of implementing environmental education in their existing programmes

* Pressuring universities to be open about their aims of research and education.


We as students believe that to be more globally relevent, economics should involve a deeper understanding of the environmental, social and cultural effects of human actions. Students' roles include:

* Defining our role in this process, as providing alternatives to present economic models

* Encouraging our universities to take part in relevant research

* Developing environmental economic societes within our institutions

* Using the results of relevant research and action programmes, in order to inform institutions and NGOs

* Pressuring local and global government and multinational companies to increase the use of environmental economic models.


In order to protect the environment more effectively, students will incorporate the values of traditional environmental knowledge with science, through raising awareness and using sustainable development programmes based on equality. Students'roles include:

* Organising special workshops for students

* Building more eco-villages

* Integrating traditional environmental knowledge into study programmes

* together withthat on sustainable development for all students

* Supporting capacity building


Universities and colleges should provide a good example to promote sustainable practce with us as students taking initiative to provide environmentally sound campuses. Students' roles include:

* Using recycled paper, saving energy, separating and reducing waste

* Exchanging ideas with other students to advance good "greening" practice

* Lobbying for "green" housekeeping at the universities e.g. recycling facilities, waste management, sustainable energy etc...


Students environmental orgnisations shuld work together and encourage their collaboration and interaction. Students' roles include:

* Creating a well structured global student environment network

* Facilitating the exchange of information and knowledge on this network vie e-mail web sites etc.

* Organising conferenc, meetings and eschanges by sharing database, ideas and linked strategies

* Exploring resource, financial and technical support to student groups in developing countries

* Organising cross cultural festivals and promoting world environmental celebration days

* Spreading information about world environmental issues globally, telematically or via newsletters and publications

* Encouraging the formation of students organisations in countries where they do not exist

* Stimulating the foundaton of natural student platforms.


Governmental environmental policies shoud be a major student interest. Students' roles include:

* Influencing the public thought the use of media and organising meetings, campaigns, demonstration etc.

* Lobbying local and national governments about environmental issues

* Supporting scientific research to suggest alternatives for a better environment

* Forming strong student unions and groups to help stuents in this task.


We as students, especially those concerned with environmental issues, should encourage sponsorship of events by environmentally sensitives organisations. Students' roles include:

* Creating guide lines for sponsoring

* Researching into potential candidates for sponsorship and sharing information gathered about future sponsors through the network

* Making detailed environmental information about sponsor available.


We as students strongly believe that we should actively increase awareness on environmental issues and strengthen the voices of young people and studentsthrough the use of all available media. Students' roles include:

* Appraching the media with our aims and actions and asking for their support

* Having educational programs on the television and radio

* Starting national student media groups.


Students believe their involvement in environmetnal work and their actions for sustainable development should be enjoyable and fun. Students' roles include:

* Promoting environmental awareness through fun events e.g. street raves, recycling parties and nature camps

* Putting emphasis on sociable and enjoyable activities

* Developing a Web site to store humorous thoughts and fun ideas about the environment

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This document is maintained by Daniel Russolillo
Last update: 1998 May 20th