The World Charter for Nature was adopted by the United Nations on October 28, 1982. Its purpose is to provide “principles of conservation by which all human conduct affecting nature is to be guided and judged”. One of the main points made by this charter is that humans are essentially part of nature and that our civilization is rooted in how nature functions. I found this interesting because it blatantly contradicts the popular view that humans are superior to nature. The charter stated that nature “has shaped human culture and influenced all artistic and scientific achievement, and living in harmony with nature gives man the best opportunities for the development of his creativity,and for rest and recreation”. I thought this didn’t sound like something that would come from the UN because it puts humans below nature, and asserts that nature is really the reason why we have civilization, because economic and social development are dependent on nature’s conservation.
Another point in the charter is that “competition for scarce resources creates conflicts, whereas the conservation of nature and natural resources contributes to justice and the maintenance of peace”. Animals, just like humans, are in constant competition for nature’s resources like food and water. However, they, unlike humans, are in no way harming nature. What we are currently competing for is not part of the natural cycle of resources, and that is what can cause harm. When we let go of the fierce competition, not only is nature left unharmed and restored, it will also result in peace among humans.
An interesting fact that I found about this charter (taken from Wikipedia so I don’t know how true it is) is that the vote was 111 for, 18 abstained, and 1 against. The one country that voted against was the US.