On 20. April 1961, on the occasion of the fifth Round Table Conference on the Mainau, the Green Charter was established:
“I am pleased to present The Green Charter of the Mainau. Its purpose is to demonstrate clearly to all in charge of urban and rural development, that individual and ultimately even political freedom can only thrive in a healthy environment. The Green Charter is based on ideas of a group of independent, responsible men and women who have met now for five years for round table discussions on the Mainau. This Charter has been formulated by recognized experts in their fields. The Interparliamentary Working Committee, consisting of members from all parties of the Bundestag and the Länder parliaments, has made essential contributions. May the Green Charter of the Mainau support, promote, assist and above all initiate concrete actions. It is these that are most urgently required in our time.”
Graf Lennart Bernadotte
For mankind’s sake everyone is called upon to assist in the realization of the aims of this Charter.
An independent committee consisting of senior representatives of the cultural, political, industrial and conservation areas is to contribute to its realization, since all our future depends on it.
The Green Charter of the Mainau
I. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany establishes among others the following fundamental rights:
Art. 1 (1) The dignity of man is inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all powers of the state. (2) The German people therefore uphold human rights as in-violable and inalienable and as the basis of every community …
Art. 2 (1) Everyone has the right to self-fulfillment in so far as this does not violate the rights of others or offends against the constitutional or moral order. (2) Everyone has the right to life and freedom from bodily harm …
Art. 14 (2) Property entails obligations. Its use should also serve the public interest.
II. In this connection it must be stated that:
The very foundations of our lives are endangered because vital elements of nature are being contaminated, poisoned and destroyed and because noise is harassing us intolerably. The dignity of man is threatened wherever his natural environment is impaired. Part of the inviolable and inalienable human rights is the right to a healthy life worthy of a human being, in both town and country.
III. A prerequisite of our lives is, apart from wholesome food, an environment consisting of healthy soil, pure air and water and a thriving flora and fauna. These vital elements of our existence are being excessively and unnaturally exploited. With increasing frequency fertile soil is being destroyed, surface and groundwater contaminated, air polluted, flora and fauna encroached upon and the open countryside disfigured. The healthy countryside is being consumed at an alarming rate.
IV. We know that:
Technology and industry are indispensable prerequisites of our modern life. But: The natural basic resources of technology and industry can neither be replaced arbitrarily, nor can they be augmented at will. It is therefore necessary together to examine the situation to plan and to act jointly in order to establish and to safeguard the balance between technology, industry and nature.
V. For the sake of mankind, it is absolutely essential to establish and secure healthy residential and recreational, agricultural and industrial areas:
It is therefore necessary to demand:
- Legally enforceable town and country planning at all levels, taking natural conditions into consideration.
- The drawing-up of landscape and green space plans for residential, industrial and transport areas in all communities.
- Adequate recreational space by the provision of land for gardens and parks, unrestricted access to forests, mountains, lakes and rivers and other amenities of the countryside, open spaces in municipal centres close to residential areas for daily recreation, recreational space close to town for weekends and recreational space far from town for holidays.
- The safeguard and expansion of sustainable productive agriculture and of well ordered rural residential development.
- Intensified measures to preserve and restore a sound ecosystem, particularly by protection of soil, air and water.
- The preservation and sustainable utilization of the existing natural and manmade green space.
- The prevention of avoidable damage to the land, for example during residential and industrial development, mining, hydraulic engineering and road construction.
- The restoration of unavoidable damage, particularly by the replanting of wasteland.
- A change in the attitude of the whole population by more intensive education of the public regarding the importance of the land and the dangers threatening it.
- A stronger emphasis in education of the fundamental knowledge regarding nature and the land.
- The expansion of research in all disciplines relating to the natural environment.
- Adequate legislative measures for the promotion and safeguard of a healthy environment.