COP17, UN’s Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa – 1st Dec.

Living in Harmony 

Creating Inner resilience in Challenging Times

The tour of talks by Sister Jayanti entitled Living in Harmony started with the first talk in Port Elizabeth. After COP17 there will be total six Living in Harmony talks around South Africa and in neighboring countries.

Earthcare Workshop – NGO Forum, Shepstone 12 Howard College, UKZN

The aim of the workshop was to engage participants in a three-step creative process to rekindle love and commitment to care for all life forms, respect the earth’s bountiful gifts and use natural resources as trustees. Facilitated by Ruth Liddle, UK, and aided by Juan Milling our youth member from the BK centre in Montreal, the workshop attracted twenty participants aged 20+ to 60+.

It was a first time for many to explore a better world through visualization; and writing a letter to themselves from Earth was also a new experience. Nonetheless, both activities resulted in open and heartwarming discussion. Values and attributes participants recognized would help to deepen their commitment to care for the earth included; courage, compassion, kindness, peace, harmony, simplicity and respect.

Although language was a constraint for some participants, there was good interaction and considerable interest in other scheduled Brahma Kumaris programmes. Almost half the participants were from a farmers union in the Limpopo region of South Africa. To accommodate their specific language needs there is a plan to arrange translation for the Brahma Kumaris’ presentation on yogic farming, which they are keen to attend.

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Solar Energy Presentation at the BK centre “Global Peace House” in Durban

The centre in Durban had arranged a Solar Energy evening and it was a mixed gathering of BK’s and participants from the conference interested in solar power. Questions about unemployment often come up in and Joachim Golo Pilz underlined that the solar energy installations strengthen the local community by providing employment. He also emphasized how our awareness and behavior makes a big difference in facilitating change and in reducing our ecological footprint.

Durban Conference of Youth

The 7th Conference of Youth (COY7) which was held from the 25th to 27th of November at Howard College UKZN brought together young people from all over the world who are passionate about sustainability and climate change. Over 800 youth from over 20 countries attended.  COY 7, being in South Africa, was more accessible to youth from the African region with countries like Malawi, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Zambia, Botswana and the DRC being represented.  The conference was made up of young people from different backgrounds: climate activists, newcomers and local South African students. Activities held on the first day of the conference included workshops on the power of telling your story, establishing grassroots climate movements, how to do climate campaigns. Youth Climate groups shared their experiences and demonstrated how young people can bring about real change in their communities/countries by working together.

The activities done gave the different young people - activists and beginners alike - a platform to learn, organize and inspire. The BKWSU Youth Forum was represented by Teresa Mungazi from Zimbabwe, and Devindree Pillay and Sandika Baboolal from South Africa. The BKWSU International Youth Forum had an opportunity to exhibit at the conference. Quite a number of young people were fascinated by the material and handouts that the BK youth had on display.

The BKWSU youth contributed their solution to climate change. The BK’s approach to sustainability is unique and new to a lot of people. Some of the youth attending showed some appreciation of the fact that a shift in the mindset of humanity and value based living will contribute immensely to sustainability and climate change solutions.

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One of the major groups at the COY is the We Have Faith - Act Now, Nairobi to Durban African Youth Caravan which had brought together more than 200 youth from Africa, Europe and the USA. The caravan was partnering with the Have Faith-Act Now campaign which is an Interfaith Campaign which the BKWSU is a part of.

Our stand at Climate Change Response Area was very busy; participants lined up to write an action for the environment.

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