At the time of writing, I am sitting in a snow-covered beautiful landscape in the Swedish Forests. It is cold, minus 10, and it is stunningly beautiful. I am reflecting on our participation in the last UNclimate change conference COP28, which took place in Dubai, UAE, in December 2023. With over 80.000 participants, it became the biggest COP conference ever. The Brahma Kumaris is an accredited observer organisation and was represented by an experienced team with over 15 delegates.
Hold a seed in your hand, try to feel the life that it contains within itself. It’s amazing to realise that what I hold in my hands, this humble little seed, is the source of life for us all. A seed is like an embryo, a unit of life that is nurtured by water and the strength of the sunlight. It is also nourished by the richness and accommodation of the soil and all the microorganisms within the soil.
Many would argue that the world is in a state of degradation, despite the advancements in technology. However, the proof of this lies in the rapid rate by which land is being degraded worldwide. The impacts of land degradation will be felt by most of the world’s population. The two major challenges are soil erosion and desertification.
We live on a blue planet. The name is misleading, we call it Earth, yet over 70% of its surface is covered by the ocean. It is the Blue Marble as in the beautiful image taken by astronauts in 1972. Sometimes we forget how essential the ocean is for the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat, for life. The ocean is the biggest ecosystem on the planet, holding 99% of all habitable space in the world, it contains 94% of the world’s wildlife and 97% of all the water. It is responsible for at least 50% of the oxygen on Earth. The ocean is a major factor in the water cycle that affects climate and weather. It controls rainfall and droughts. Without this process, most of our planet would be an icy desert. The ocean is our biggest ally in the fight against climate change. It is responsible for absorbing 25-50% of the carbon dioxide humans have released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. Scientists have determined that the ocean absorbs more than 90% of the excess heat, which is attributed to greenhouse gas emissions.
I grew up in an iron ore mining town in northern Canada. I grew up knowing that food was purchased at the grocery store. I then worked in community development in Canada, Africa and Asia and learned food actually comes from the land. From the land, and the farmers and harvesters, transporters, processors, wholesalers, retailers and all the others involved in the food system. To enjoy food there is also a chain of cooking, eating and disposing of waste. And, when we think about it, there is a huge global, industrial system of food production and consumption based on geo-political relationships, energy consumption, using chemical fertilisers, pesticides and preservatives, financial subsidies, corporate profits, seed patents, land ownership … and as much as 35% of production goes to waste! Food is a complicated issue!
The state of the planet is broken. We must stop our war on nature. Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. Food systems are one of the main reasons why we are failing to stay within our planet’s ecological boundaries” Antonio Guterres – Secretary-General of The United Nations
Welcome to our January Newsletter. In this edition, we are focusing on how we can restore our sacred relationship with the Earth particularly in relation to how we produce our food.
The Brahma Kumaris in Australia is fortunate to have four Retreat Centres; two just out of Sydney – ‘Leura’ in the Blue Mountains and ‘Wilton’ in the Southern Highlands, and two just out of Melbourne, ‘Baxter’ on the Mornington Peninsula and ‘Yarra Valley’ a recently ‘acquired’ beautiful boutique Retreat Centre in the Yarra Valley.
The springtime in the Celtic tradition is called the return of the solar energy when the sun starts to gather warmth and stimulates the new creation within the soil, a process which begins to unfold in January. The Solar energy or the fire element needs to combine with Mother Earth for the creation.
Interfaith and climate change Welcome to the first edition of the Eco Newsletter from the Brahma Kumaris Environment Initiative. This edition highlights our work related to Interfaith and Climate Change as it is an area that is growing in terms of its importance and influence.