Statement of Principles

Statement of Principles of Quercus - National Association for Nature Conservation – approved in the reunion of the Association's General Meeting, held in Aveiro on 10 October 1992.


PREAMBLE

 

I

The Humanity lives a decisive turning point in its History.


For the first time it is legitimate to talk about a future that is common to all men and women of the humankind. Unlike what has always happened in previous historical times, today technical, scientific, political and economic transformations didn't take millenniums or centuries to manifest themselves on a global scale. The main mutations of our time became planetary, in its positive and negative consequences, almost in real-time.


This is a time of a vertiginous and accelerated transition. A change crossed by the presence of strongly contradictory forces and tendencies.


Knowledge has never reached such vast horizons. However the obstacles to manage its technical-practical applications with wisdom and equity were never so arduous.


The plural and complex development of civilization factors never seemed to be so close to allowing the emancipation of men, taking into consideration the scourge of hunger, disease and compulsive work. But there were never as many millions of human beings as today suffering so painfully from these or other problems, whose origin is related to the perpetuation of old and the creation of new ways of injustice.


II


It has become clear that, since the 20th century, these are times when hope and danger unite, due to the emergence of scientific, civic and political movements and organizations, to protest against the struggle for the preservation of the balance of the ecosystems of the biosphere, on which the viability of the human civilization depends.


The main danger consists precisely in the systematic destruction of the environment, carried out by the exponential growth model, which was consolidated over the last two centuries and founded in an irrational exploitation of the renewable and non-renewable resources, as well as in the intensive consumption of energy – derived from highly polluting fossil fuels, or new still insufficiently controlled sources, with high risks, as is the case of the nuclear case.


A lot of signs of the galloping process of degradation of the environment are more and more clear: the confirmation of the global effects of causes, which were accumulated over centuries and decades, as are the cases of the greenhouse effect and the ozone layer depletion; the uncontrolled population growth, turning cities into inhuman hells and transforming poverty into a vicious circle for the majority of the countries of the so-called Third World; the destruction of arable lands and the consequent increase of the desertification and the transformation of millions of human beings into environmental refugees; the suppression or degradation of valuable habitats, with the irreversible daily loss of tens of species as it currently happens in the humid tropical forest 'belt'; the contamination of the surface and subterranean water resources, as well as the increasing pressure on estuaries and coastal areas, etc.


All types of actions that have been developed at local, regional, national and international scale have been 'attacked' by all these shady hypothecs produced over our common future. The two conferences about the state of the environment at a global scale, carried out by the UN – first in Stockholm, in 1972, and later in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992 – deserve a particular emphasis.

However, it is evident that the increase of the level of awareness of the global public opinion on environmental problems is still far from having the necessary positive reflection in practical terms, without which the inversion of the disruptive tendency of the contemporaneous history can't take place.


III

Founded on 31 October 1985, Quercus – National Association for Nature Conservation – is an non-governmental organization, whose action has contributed, and aims to keep contributing, to the safeguard of the quality of the environment at a global scale and, in particular, to the evaluation and the struggle against specific environmental problems in Portugal, not forgetting that general matters deriving from European integration and construction, as well as the historical duty of Portugal in cooperating closely with the peoples of the official Portuguese-speaking countries have an incidence on them.

 


PRINCIPLES

 

First

Quercus possesses a unifying goal of all its actions, at the level of study, as well as at the level of intervention, knowledge, safeguard and promotion of the biophysical patrimony of Portugal, being aware that it is an integrant part of the common goods of Humanity.


Second

Quercus seeks to promote, in all ways possible, the increment of environmental and civic education of citizens, an indispensable condition for the responsible participation of them in the activities of conservation of Nature and preservation of the environment.

 

Third

Quercus includes its actions for the conservation of Nature in the search for the achievement of a sustainable development model, in agreement with the main exposed theses in the Stockholm Declaration (1972) and in the Rio Declaration (1992).

 

Fourth

Quercus is a Portuguese association open to citizens of other nationalities, because the environment protection should be a way of bringing all families of the human race together, and not a factor of disagreement between them.

 

Fifth

Quercus guides its civic and political intervention for the values of independence and autonomy. It is a non-partisan association, free from any economic, religious, racial or any other kind of dependence that calls its ends and its transparent and democratic frankness of its internal functioning into question.

 

Sixth

Quercus bases all its actions on the scrupulous respect for rigour and intellectual honesty to which all criticism and/or constructive intervention compels.

 

Seventh

Quercus considers dialogue and the occasional mutual help, when concrete projects with collective interests and scope are being carried out, with all entities, organisms, institutions and individuals involved to define and execute a correct environmental policy in Portugal – an indispensable and valuable work method, that should never compromise the right to fair and opportune criticism.

 

Eighth

Quercus considers the contribution of the scientific community indispensable to achieve its goals, and to the exercise of a healthy spirit of interdisciplinarity.

 

Ninth

Quercus integrates work and cooperation in an international horizon as one of its main priorities.

 

Tenth

Quercus claims to be full heir of the Portuguese and international environmental and ecologist tradition, consubstantiated in the motto 'Globally Thinking, Locally Acting', which consists on a true ethical challenge in order that each one doesn't renounce their responsibilities in the construction of a common future.

 

 

 

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