Faith and spiritual leaders yesterday formally called on politicians and negotiators at COP26 to step up to the plate and deliver on pledges made at Paris in 2015 as well as prioritise the transition to a just and green economy.
The call came in a moving hand-in ceremony of the Glasgow Multi-Faith Declaration for COP26 to the UNFCCC Executive held at St George’s Tron Church.
Signatories – representing a wide range of faiths and traditions, and including the Brahma Kumaris – highlighted the commitment to a temperature rise of no more than 1.5C and to a provision in the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights protecting the environment, biosphere and biodiversity.
There is a commitment by faith communities to “transformational change” through individual and collective action, and a positive vision of progress by 2050, including the just and equitable sharing of the earth’s resources.
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Towards a “nature-positive” world
Biodiversity was centre-stage during Monday’s panel discussion on the spiritual and ethical dimensions of the crisis we face organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Introducing the event, Gavin Edwards, WWF Global Coordinator for the New Deal for Nature and People, referenced theIUCN Marseille Manifesto2021 that calls for a halt to biodiversity loss by 2030 and for the world to become “nature-positive”.
Contributors, from across faith and spiritual traditions, highlighted the issues at the heart of the crisis, from human greed and violence against nature, to disconnection from the local environment and a misdirected value system that privileges material possessions and status over happiness and peace.
Sister Jayanti noted that, faced with a global pandemic, there has been a shift in humanity’s consciousness towards inner transformation. By focusing on spiritual values, simplifying lifestyles, and finding inner contentment and peace, people are now coming to make the right choices for the planet.
Emphasising the sacredness of all life, she went on to advocate a broader definition of the word “love”, to encompass the whole earth. The more inclusive it becomes, the more compassion and respect we develop - qualities that touch the hearts of others.
Watch the event:
Bringing non-harming into our lives
In “Ahimsa and the Environment” organized by Go Dharmic earlier in the week, non-harming (ahimsa) was the subject of a keynote speech by Sister Jayanti. She advocated “a change of consciousness and a change of heart”: By adopting a more spiritual lifestyle - the foundation of ahimsa – we can restore harmony with nature.
As individuals,we should begin by looking at our own lifestyle: One easy way to reduce our carbon footprint is to adopt a plant-based diet.
Turning to kinder farming practices,she said the Brahma Kumaris’ sustainable yogic farming initiative in India encourages farmers to combine organic cultivation with meditating on their seeds and crops. Outcomes have been highly beneficial, with improved yield and nutritional value of crops, and enhanced wellbeing of farmers and local communities.
Power for the People
Finally, as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his country’s commitment to achieve 50% energy from renewables by 2030, the Brahma Kumaris’ virtual exhibition “Power for the People” opened in the UK Government’s Digital Green Zone.
Showcasing the BKs’ environmental work, it has a special focus on “India One”, a 1 MW solar thermal power plant inaugurated at the BKs’ main campus at Mt Abu, Rajasthan in 2017.
Visit the online exhibition: