Monday 9th December 2019 Madrid, Spain

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This Monday morning, we went early to the Conference as Golo had a Press conference along with Solar Cookers inter-national.  At the entrance we were greeted by climate protesters chanting: There is no future without a planet.  But before our press conference, the Hall was used by Fridays for future and climate angel Greta Thunberg came especially for this event.  Hundreds of people lined up to get an entry to the press conference and in the end only the press were allowed in.  There was heavy security.  Greta was ushered into the hall from a back entrance.  She said that she wants to use her prominence to give a platform to other young people: especially those from the southern hemi-sphere and the indigenous community who suffer most from the climate change.  The full press conference can be seen here.

9 December 2019, Madrid, Spain: Press conference with Greta Thunberg and Fridays for Future, at COP25 in Madrid.
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Press Conference Solar Cookers

Golo was invited to present at the Solar Cookers International Press conference.  Mike Paparian introduced the panellists as leaders in solar energy.  The presenters from Solar Cookers was asked: How does solar cooking fit into the broader aspects of climate change? Alan Bigelow stated that Solar Cookers has standardised the test procedure for solar cooking and has established test centres, enabling the consumer a chance to buy a tested and verified product.  Pranav Mehta shared that India is doing a lot on solar energy.  His organisation is active in the field of solar cooking and they network with other organisations to promote solar cookers on a large scale in India.  Golo shared the success story of how Brahma Kumaris builds and utilizes solar cooking for institutions.  He talked about the solar cookers in Gyan Sarovar, Pandav Bhawan and the big solar cooker in Shantivan which can cook 35,000 meals a day.

He linked the success of these projects to our spiritual foundations and introduced Dadi Janki as a wise leader.  The press conference can be seen via:

https://unfccc-cop25.streamworld.de/webcast/solar-cookers-international-building-solar-cooki-4

Speakers from left: Pranav R.  Mehta, Chairman, Global Solar Council and National Solar Energy Federation of India - Alan Bigelow, Ph.D.  Science Director, Solar Cookers Int.  - Mike Paparian, Treasurer, Solar Cookers Int.  - Caitlyn Hughes Executive Director, Solar Cookers Int.  - GoloPilz, Brahma Kumaris
Speakers from left: Pranav R. Mehta, Chairman, Global Solar Council and National Solar Energy Federation of India - Alan Bigelow, Ph.D. Science Director, Solar Cookers Int. - Mike Paparian, Treasurer, Solar Cookers Int. - Caitlyn Hughes Executive Director, Solar Cookers Int. - GoloPilz, Brahma Kumaris

Brahma Kumaris Press Conference

This second COP25 press conference of Brahma Kumaris was titled: “Inner Resilience in times of Climate Emergency”.  Sonja welcomed everyone to an interfaith perspective on inner resilience: When faced with personal or global emergencies, we are forced to revise our attitude and lifestyle.  In the midst of change, lies the opportunity to develop inner resilience and the resources needed to ensure a good future for all.

Bishop Philip Huggins, Sonja, Sister Jayanti, Golo
Bishop Philip Huggins, Sonja, Sister Jayanti, Golo

Golo gave a short overview on the Brahma Kumaris and its main activities.  He said that renewable energies can help in emergencies and give critical support.  He emphasized that meditation can be a powerful tool to strengthen inner resilience and it helps people to take right decisions.

Sister Jayanti emphasised the importance of persisting and not having fear, as our situation might get worse before it gets better.  When we maintain stability, we can help others.  She shared that our BK centres across the world also serve as sanctuaries, where people in times of crisis can walk in for a moment of recovery and spiritual support.

Bishop Philip Huggins said that humans have to lift themselves to an unprecedented level of co-operation for the task ahead of us.  The new partnership between the Anglican Church and the Brahma Kumaris is an example of such co-operation.  “Win or lose” is the old narrative which has to be exchanged with the new narrative of co-operation.

Sonja asked the panellists what their hope for COP25 was:

  • Science and spirituality comes together
  • Innovative and holistic approaches where the inner world is part of the solution
  • An common understanding of the inside-out principle
    Link to webcast
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Faith based community leaders meet Deputy Secretary of UNFCCC

9 December 2019, Madrid, Spain: Religious leaders from a variety of faiths meet to hand over an interfaith declaration to Ovais Sarmad, deputy executive secretary of the UNFCCC, at COP25. Here, Jayanti Murli Kirpalani from Brahma Kumaris (left).

Orvais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, greeted the group of 10 spiritual leaders warmly.  He knew many of them from past meetings.  He praised the Spanish Government for meeting the challenge to organise the event with efficiency and generosity with only 4 weeks’ notice.  33.000 people have now registered for the COP.  Henrik Grape asked everybody for a short introduction.  The indigenous leaders were concerned about the loss of sacred land belonging to their ancestors.  The youth representative made the case for a more efficient inclusion of the young generation into the decision-making process.  A Dutch delegate pointed out that the civil unrest and cancelation of Santiago as COP host was due to 10 years of drought and the privatisation of the water services.  Sister Jayanti highlighted the importance for a new perspective of the role of consciousness and the heart, to enable co-operation as one family.  Mr Orvais Sarmad was listening intently and everyone felt heard.

(Photos: LWF/AlbinHillert)

UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary greeting Sister Jayanti
UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary greeting Sister Jayanti

Special update for the green team on geo-engineering

Our green team received a special briefing by Prof.  Marc Lawrence in the IASS reflection space on Geo engineering.

As it becomes obvious that governments and industries are not in a position to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in time, the artificial removal of CO2 from the atmosphere gets more and more attention.  Marc informed us that there are a couple of technologies like large scale afforestation, Bioenergy with carbon capture, soil carbon enrichment, ocean iron enrichment, enhanced weathering and direct CO2 storage and capture.  However, all these technologies are in their infancy and need either incredible amounts of energy or huge areas of land to function.  The cheapest and easiest method is the simple avoidance of carbon emissions.  However, this would need a complete lifestyle change and remodelling of our economic system.  In addition, there is the major ethical problem that humans will start to tinker with the atmosphere.  This can even lead to wars over the future weather.  Unfortunately, it seems that the myth of successful Geoengineering is used right now to delay the need for action and puts even more burden on the future generations.

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The power of the religious environmental movement

This event by Green Faith at the Indonesia Pavilion was attended by Julia, Shantanu and Marta

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Meeting the Nigerian Minister of Environment H.E Sharon Ikeazor.

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Shantanu asked how the Nigerian government brings in more faith-based organizations as stakeholders and what values do they consider should be at the core of action of any government.  She answered that faith-based organizations have the power to spread the policies and recommendations amongst their community so much more easily than anyone else can.  And regarding values, she believed in passion and compassion.  We must be passionate about the cause we are standing for.  Compassion must be at the core because only then can we take care of each other.

Youth Morning Briefing

Shantanu attended an event organised by the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights at UNICEF with YOUNGO called "We Dare". This was an intergenerational dialogue between five youth and five ministers from different countries.

Shantanau attending the Youth Morning Briefing
Shantanau attending the Youth Morning Briefing

2050: A Vision of Transformed Food Systems for People and the Planet

Shantanu attended the Dialogue of the Resilience Frontiers Initiative organized by UNCBD, UNFCCC and FAO.  The process was creative: the audience envisioned a perfect year 2050.  In groups afterwards, they discussed: 1. Who brought the change.  2. What were the changes.  3. How were these changes adopted.

“Sonja Thunberg” relaxing with crackers in front of the COP25 Logo.  It says, “Time for Action” and reminds us all of the cycle of time.
“Sonja Thunberg” relaxing with crackers in front of the COP25 Logo. It says, “Time for Action” and reminds us all of the cycle of time.
Golo meeting Kosha Jubert and the Global Eco Village team
Golo meeting Kosha Jubert and the Global Eco Village team
Sister Jayanti meeting our friend Paul Allen from Zero Carbon Britain
Sister Jayanti meeting our friend Paul Allen from Zero Carbon Britain