The Declaration, Volume 2, Number 1 : Winter 1998 [Feature]
In a move that enhances ULSF’s benefits and services and provides greater organizational strength, ULSF merged with the Center for Respect of Life and Environment (CRLE) on July 1, 1997.
CRLE, located in Washington, DC, is an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. Its mission is to foster earth ethics and sustainable practices in international development and higher education.
“Joining forces with CRLE marks an exciting new phase in ULSF’s growth,” says Thomas Kelly, Ph.D., former ULSF director. “CRLE and ULSF have always had a mutual commitment to sustainable development through higher education. I am thrilled that we have been able to enhance ULSF’s effectiveness through such an ideal marriage of common vision, goals and resources.”
Strength through union
“We are now in a much stronger position to address the complex issues facing colleges and universities as they strive to achieve global environmental literacy,” explains Richard Clugston, Ph.D., executive director of CRLE and the new head of ULSF. “This union provides a more stable financial and administrative base of operations for ULSF while expanding CRLE’s international outreach to colleges and universities.”
By merging resources and programs, ULSF can enrich its membership services to include CRLE publications, conference discounts, and other valuable resources. In addition, the combined networks of the two organizations provide greater opportunity to increase the number of signatories to the Talloires Declaration.
CRLE was established in 1986 to awaken people’s ecological sensibilities and to transform life-styles, institutional practices, and social policies to support the whole Earth community. CRLE’s major programs identify approaches to economic and social development that recognize the links between ecology, spirituality, and sustainability.
These programs focus on the greening of higher education, with an emphasis on theological education (see Spotlight article on page 2), and on the ethics and practices of sustainable development. Since 1992 the Center has assisted colleges and universities in designing academic curricula, campus institutional practices, and outreach services that are ecologically sound, socially just, and humane.
Since 1990 CRLE has been actively involved in international efforts to establish a new global ethic and to establish those policies and practices which would ensure a sustainable future. CRLE is collaborating with the Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions on five events which deal with critical issues in Religion and Ecology. The Center also cosponsors with St. Thomas University, in Miami, Florida, the annual “Spirituality and Sustainability” conference held in Assisi, Italy.
The Earth Charter process is a major CRLE focus (see “Research” article). The Center is gathering input from key constituencies on the Earth Charter Benchmark Draft, as well as acting as the Secretariat for the US Earth Charter Process. Center staff also serve on the National Steering Committee of the Citizen’s Network for Sustainable Development. As an NGO in Consultative Status with the United Nations, CRLE is intensely involved in NGO activities (such as policy advocacy and NGO organizing) during the annual meetings of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).
Following 12 years as a faculty member and administrator at the University of Minnesota, Richard Clugston, Ph.D., became the executive director of CRLE seven years ago. He now assumes the leadership of ULSF as well. Dr. Kelly has taken a new position as Director of Sustainability Programs at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). However, he will remain an integral member of the ULSF team as a senior consultant and he will continue to oversee the Environmental Literacy Institutes (ELIs), which will now be held annually in June at UNH.
Thomas Rogers, Associate Director of CRLE, has assumed the same role with ULSF. Wynn Calder is the new Coordinator of Outreach & Membership for ULSF. Julie Newman continues as the Coordinator of Education & Training. She and Dr. Kelly, working out of their offices at UNH, are already planning the 1998 Environmental Literacy Institute (ELI), which is scheduled for June 8-19.
The New ULSF
The current priority for ULSF is a smooth transition for its members. “Once all our communication systems are functioning effectively, we will introduce our updated member services and benefits. These will continue to be improved and expanded over time,” says Calder.
Immediate new benefits include a subscription to Earth Ethics, (the CRLE quarterly journal) and discounts on CRLE publications and conferences. In addition, ULSF will continue CRLE’s work with “lead institutions.” These are colleges and universities which demonstrate sustainability in their curricula, research, operations, and outreach. CRLE will continue to host conferences and workshops on critical issues in reforming higher education and to form working groups on faculty development as well as on indicators for sustainability.