- Lead-organizer: Temple of Understanding
- 11:30 - 13:00
- Date: 17 Jun 2012
- Room: T-2
Interfaith response to Sustainable Development:Ecological Civilization
Organizing partnersSociety of Catholic Medical Missionaries
Sisters of Charity Federation
Sisters of Mercy
Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University
Academy For Future Science, South Africa
Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale
Congregation of Notre Dame
IntroductionWhat does religion have to do with Rio+20? The Interfaith Consortium for Ecological Civilization works towards the transformation of consciousness needed to enable changes towards sustainability. Religions help people shape their worldviews and act on their values. Governments need the guidance of an awakened civil society to make necessary radical changes. Corporations need an awakened civil society to insist on internalizing costs and serving society. Inspired by the work of Thomas Berry and by resources from the world's religions, this session will explore the spiritual resources for transformation and current manifestations of such transformations. We will then consider what is needed to ramp up this change in service to the Earth. Areas of application include communities, corporate engagement, the Convention on Corporate Social Responsibility, and support of youth leadership. The change in consciousness and the new actions that flow from it offer a positive direction towards renewed flourishing on Earth.
Detailed programmeThis session will address a new paradigm for development, one centered on values and initiated by a change in consciousness. It will encourage outreach to global religious communities. This moral framework overarches all three pillars, the environmental, social and economic; each is a trajectory of the change coming out of the session. Renewed commitment to sustainable development will of course be an outcome, with practical considerations of a "green economy."
Religions help people shape their worldviews. Through teaching and preaching leaders shape a consciousness and we're facing here the need for a transformation of consciousness. Our nations and governments need the guidance of an awakened civil society to make necessary radical changes. The Interfaith Consortium for Ecological Civilization (ICEC) is mobilizing to support this transformation. We are indebted to ecotheologian Fr. Thomas Berry for our thinking; we need to understand the meaning of our human presence on the planet Earth.
Our purpose here is to perceive how the commercial, industrial age has disturbed the biosystems of the planet, at a depth never before known. Science, technology, industry, commerce, and finance have brought humanity into a new age yet they have brought devastation to the planet. The most radical disturbance is human self-centeredness and rights over all other modes of being, including animals, plants and the Earth itself, which have no rights. This radical discontinuity between the human and the non-human needs to be balanced with a vision of the ecological civilization. Our great work is to bring a transition from this period of devastation to a mutually beneficial way of living on earth.
We can find relevant guidance from the Earth itself, and from Religious Traditions. For example, the ancient religion of the Jains, whose central teaching is non-violence including non-violence to the Earth (ahimsa). Their language and vision reflect an integral relation of humans with the entire natural world, rather than destructive dominance. Indigenous spiritualities offer understanding of the sacredness of the environment and of right relationship to it. Many religions have been concerned with divine/human relations, and with inter-human relations. Our future depends upon our capacity to shift towards respecting the Earth, and for intimacy in human/earth relations. This is foundational for an ecological civilization.
Values can guide in the necessary transformations. One set, drawn from teachings of all the world's religions, is distilled into the following six words: Reverence, Respect, Restraint, Redistribution, Responsibility, Renewal. The Earth Charter, a globally vetted inclusive document, offers complimentary ethics. Speakers will address ethics in application such as corporate engagement, eco-preneur green businesses and the green economy, youth leadership, and communities mobilizing for change.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner writes that healing the planet "requires a re-awakening of our common humanity and yes the re-awakening of the spirit and the spiritual side of humanity with all its potential for catalyzing positive and cooperative action..."
This session will offer ethics to guide the work of individuals, communities, cities, regions, governments, countries, people and organizations on all levels that are coming forth to address the crisis. People of faith must stand up and bring the resources from their traditions to bear at this moment of challenge. We support and call for Interfaith Ethics and Environmental Activism.
The shift comes through people, through change of mind and heart and through commitment and action. This is a call for action. The change in consciousness and the new actions that flow from it offer a positive direction towards renewed flourishing on Earth.
Speakers will include:
Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury:
Former Under-Secretary General and High Representative of the United Nations, responsible for the most vulnerable countries of the world. Senior Special Advisor to the President.
Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp:
Religious leader and an award-winning human rights advocate, environmental activist and champion of civil society worldwide. http://www.soetendorpinstitute.org/
Dr.Shiva offers solutions to some of the most critical problems posed by the effects of globalization and climate change on the poorest and most populous nations. She founded Navdanya, a network of seed keepers and organic producers spread across 16 states in India. http://www.vandanashiva.org/
Sister Jayanti Kirpalani, Brahma Kumaris Spiritual University
Director of the International Coordinating Office of the Brahma Kumaris (BK) in London, Global Co-operation House, of the Global Retreat Centre in Oxfordshire and of BK Centres in over 20 European countries.
Sister Joan Kirby, Main Representative to the United Nations for the Temple of Understanding, is informed by over a decade of work at the UN, and over 8 decades of life and religious practice. http://www.templeofunderstanding.org/
Grove Harris, Program Director of the Interfaith Consortium for Ecological Civilization, has worked in interfaith relations for two decades and is a priestess. http://www.groveharris.org/