Friday 13th December 2019 Madrid, Spain

This is the final day, and slowly the last members of green team leave our lovely BK centre in Madrid.

Final on late Sunday morning a very weak and almost useless declaration has been signed.  No major breakthrough had been seriously expected but observers had at least hoped to see a spirit of cooperation and a willingness to press ahead with improved goals, holding the temperature rise below 2C.  Greta Thunberg twittered that there is big chance for a failure of this conference and she was right.  For more information you can read this article:

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Youngo Meeting

As usual, Shantanu attended the daily morning briefing of Youngo, the youth organization of the UN and everyone there received one of our colourful wristbands.

Article in German Newspaper “Die Zeit”

Shantanu was interviewed and the next day an interesting article appeared in the ZEIT newspaper.  The Zeit is one of the leading daily German tabloids and the quiet positive article mentions: Brahma Kumaris, the power of meditation to enable change and our renewable energy systems.  See the article here

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Vigil by Interfaith community

25-30 gathered for a last vigil at the entrance to support the negotiations.  The gathering began with songs and prayers invoking love for the world.  A delegate welcomed everyone to next year’s conference in Glasgow and explained that in old Gaelic Glasgow means green valley.  Julia did a closing meditation invoking inner peace and light for the world.

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ACT joined with the World Council of Churches, Lutheran World Federation, Islamic Relief, Brahma Kumaris, Catholic groups and others to hold a prayer vigil in the closing hours of COP25.
ACT joined with the World Council of Churches, Lutheran World Federation, Islamic Relief, Brahma Kumaris, Catholic groups and others to hold a prayer vigil in the closing hours of COP25.

Travel compensation

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We also like to remind you of our new CO2 travel compensation scheme.  If you must travel or fly, you can now compensate for your CO2 emissions by contributing 3-5% of your yearly travel budget to a dedicated fund which will be used for our solar and green projects.

A creative reflection and dialogue

Carolin welcomed a group of indigenous people brought by Shantanu to a meditation and workshop.  She informed the participants about the principles of the reflection space.  They shared the values of the ancestors: “White brothers and sisters have forgotten our ancestors and therefore became separated from the earth and its needs.” Then Marta led a meditation to empower the self and the earth.

(Additional information about this reflection space and our new collaboration with a number of parties has been added to the end of this report.)

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Feedback meeting

On Saturday morning the green team met for a feedback meeting which was facilitated by Carolin.  She asked the group five questions:

  1. What did you LIKE?
  2. What did you LEARN?
  3. What did you LACK?
  4. What did you LONG for?
  5. What windows of opportunity do you see?
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All the answers were pasted up on a board and then grouped together.  The outcome will be helpful to fine-tune our strategy for the next conference in Glasgow.

The BK Green team has done well and everybody was content with the 26 programs, meetings, new contacts and the incredible support and vegan cooking of the Spanish family.

COP25 team.  Back row:Jose Maria, Shantanu, Henriques, Bill, Sanjay.  
Middle row: Marta, Sister Jayanti, Antonio.  
Front row: Golo, Shanti, Sonja, Carolin, Urmail, Julia.
COP25 team. Back row:Jose Maria, Shantanu, Henriques, Bill, Sanjay. Middle row: Marta, Sister Jayanti, Antonio. Front row: Golo, Shanti, Sonja, Carolin, Urmail, Julia.

As every year, Golo had his birthday party at the end of the conference.  He received a very nice cake and lots of blessings from the family.

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Your reporter and editing team, Sonja, Golo and Peter, thank you for your support.  We hope you enjoyed the reports.  You will hear from us next year from Glasgow and, of course, there will be a constant flow of your reports from around the world posted to our website: https://eco.brahmakumaris.org/.

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Goodbye, Happy Christmas and successful New Year

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ADDITIONAL REPORT MATERIAL

Co-Creative Reflection & Dialogue Space

This is a new project by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam Germany in cooperation with Brahma Kumaris, Chalmers University of Technology, Lund University and University of East Anglia.

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The IASS rented a 20m2 pavilion space for the whole two weeks to offer an alternative schedule of side events.  Carolin from Berlin and her IASS colleagues Tom and Dorota had designed a learning journey with 20 sessions.  Each session was designed differently with facilitated reflections and dialogues around the questions:

  1. How do we experience the “culture” of the COP, addressing consciousness, attitudes, communication and working modes amongst the delegates?
  2. Which culture of being and working together would be more conducive to support the negotiations? and
  3. How can we facilitate a more supportive culture?

In contrast to the prevailing format of COP side events, in the R&D sessions, participants were invited to actively engage in meaningful conversations with each other.  One aim of the project had been to use the potential of COP delegates coming from all over the world, representing a huge diversity of backgrounds, knowledge and experiences.

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The space further served as an oasis for empowerment through meaningful and authentic encounters, a safe space for new insights, but also to digest the information overload, which included frightening scientific updates on climate change and frustrations about the negotiations.

In addition to the 20 reflection and dialogue sessions, a meditation or prayer was offered daily at noon followed by sharing experiences.  Further, two guest sessions were run daily by cooperative partners and we suggested an interactive framework.

A workshop in session
A workshop in session
Participants of a reflection and dialogue space
Participants of a reflection and dialogue space

The Brahma Kumaris contributed to the project in different ways.  Julia from New York designed the space and created an atmosphere of beauty, relaxation and calm.  Mata and Bill from Spain helped with logistics and setting up the space.  Marta, Shantanu and Julia offered a guest session and two meditation sessions.

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Chalmers University of Technology, Lund University and University of East Anglia supported the space with a survey and interviews to gain insights on the previously mentioned research questions.

The participants in the space were diverse; many delegates with a scientific background were pulled to the sessions, many young people, representatives from indigenous and faith-based organisations and also some negotiators.  The feedback was enormously positive and we were encouraged to roll out the project at COP26 too.

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Deutschland Radio, a German national radio Channel, interviewed Carolin on the purpose of the “reflection & dialogue space”.  Find the interview here (in German): https://www.ardaudiothek.de/interview/das-konferenzklima-auf-der-klimakonferenz/69843318

The UNFCCC, represented by Martin Frick, supported the idea of the R&D Space ideologically and came to visit us.

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