Brahma Kumaris at COP28

Energy and Just Transition

05 - 06 December, 2023

As the theme at COP turned to Energy, Industry and Just Transition, our events began by exploring the ethical issues at stake in order to achieve just transition to more sustainable sources of energy.  We hear from a wide range of energy experts and explore the role of faith leaders in providing visionary leadership to communities in order to connect faith and environmental stewardship with clean technologies. 

In the Climate Wisdom studio, we hear inspiring stories from our sustainable energy experts working in different countries and, on her last day, Sister Jayanti shares what she is taking away from COP28 and her vision for the future.

Press Conference: Ethics at the Heart of the Energy Transition

Golo Pilz, Energy Adviser Brahma Kumaris, opened by saying that Brahma Kumaris were fortunate to have visionary leadership rooted in morals and ethics, setting clear goals based on integrity and in 1997 began a programme of solar cooking systems. There are 5,000 centres in India, 1,000 centres across the world. We are providing training and workshops for engineers and are now installing biogas/waste systems, organising the planting of trees and training more farmers in yogic farming.

Dr Lorna Gold CEO Faith Invest, we are currently heading in the wrong direction. We are expanding the use of fossil fuels making the target of 1.5 degrees simply impossible. Poorer countries are left at the margins of being able to use clean energy. This is not just a technical challenge, but a moral challenge. The Pope has said that the technocratic approach is wrong and what is needed is that values become integral. Clean energy cannot leave anyone behind, there must be equal access for all. All faiths must invest with care for the environment.

Sister Jayanti,  Addl. Admin. Head of Brahma Kumaris, the world is one family, we have one home, this planet and we have the responsibility of taking care of it. The problems arise because of material consciousness. When we have a spiritual consciousness,  I am able to consider my community and neighbours to be part of my family too. We are all in the same boat. If the water on one side of the boat is gushing in, then sooner or later the water will reach the ankles of those on the other side. The change of awareness is critical. Human beings can achieve great things with just a little change of consciousness.

From Policy to Practice: Ethical Considerations and HR Implications for Loss and Damage Funding Arrangement

This event was a very heart-felt sharing around loss and damage and in particular the non-economic aspects of loss and damage in terms of uprooted communities and the loss of biodiversity. 

There was discussion around the need for culturally appropriate responses, contextual approaches, accompaniment in grief, support to rebuild lives and hope, hearing voices from affected peoples and those working with them at forums like COP,  and the need for transparency in how the new L&D funds are distributed.

All participants spoke of having a vision of one planet, world and family.  A world in which all matter equally, we think internationally, and we look to help those most in need. 

Rev. James Bhagwan, General Secretary, Pacific Conference of Churches:  “Is our flourishing worth less than yours?”  We are all indigenous peoples of this planet and need to have love for all our brothers and sisters.

Ramon Pichs, Vice Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: The climate crisis is impacting some areas more than others and needs to be taken into account. Biodiversity loss is crucial because of its impact on ecosystems and connection to culture and heritage. 

Ole Andreas  Børnes, Lutheran World Federation, Church of Norway: shared a vision of all generations from all around the world working together as one team, cooperating across borders.

Sister Jayanti, Additional Head of Brahma Kumaris:  “ If my brother is hurt that hurts me too.”  We know the golden rule: to do unto others as I would like done unto me.  We have a responsibility to help those most hurt and we need to step back from skin colour and country and see the planet as a whole.  

Sister Jayanti was invited to close the event by leading everyone in a healing meditation for the self and world.

The link to the replay : Webcast Link

Care, Share and Inspire in the Climate Wisdom Studio

Golo Pilz was the moderator for the evening.  He started by highlighting a recent study by the World Economic Forum that stated that the transition to clean technology and net zero emissions could benefit the world economy by a staggering 43 trillion dollars. 

Alan BigelowProgram Director Solar Cookers: One third of the population is still cooking on open fires, using trees and damaging forests so reforestation is one of our focal areas.  He shared some success stories on local manufacturing. In Kenya, solar cookers are being built by Kenyans, using local materials.  These cookers are then being utilised at refugee camps in Northern Kenya.  The people there are being trained to use them by women refugees who learned solar cooking the previous year.  This builds trust and saves money.

Apoorva BoseProgramme Coordinator G20 Global Initiative on Land:  A huge ambition of the G20 Global Land initiative is to reduce degraded land by 50 percent by 2040. Our focus is also to protect the precious ecosystems of the earth by showcasing success stories from around the world by engaging with governments, private sectors, youth, women, farmers, and faith groups. In our capacity building initiative, we train people on ecological restoration too.  Apoorva’s hope comes from inspiring stories of the youth, such as the magic socks movement (seed-ball-method). 

Sister Jayanti, Brahma Kumaris, explored the reason for suffering in this world. “If I had negative thoughts such as anger, greed or ego, I suffer first, both mentally and physically; and when I extend that into the world, I can see how it plays out. The root cause of all suffering of human beings is the incorrect awareness that I am this physical form and as soon as I come to the true awareness of my spiritual identity, I experience peace, love, and truth within and that is what I share to the world outside.”

The link for the full recording can be found here: Youtube Link

Visionary Leadership for the Transition to Clean Technology

Sonja Ohlsson, Brahma Kumaris Climate Director, facilitated the session.

The following qualities of leadership came out of the panellists’ sharing:

●       Faith leaders and community leaders are models of conflict resolution.

●       Focus on the things that bring us together, like the daily cycles of the sun and daily cooking.

●       Provide training and education about climate change and give solutions.

●       Create a vision and hold it, communicate it with integrity, motivate others.

●       Dadi Janki said: be a healer for the world and a guide to the light.

●       A new paradigm: my inner world and outer world are connected, once I am a leader of myself, I can inspire others.

Practical application of clean technology:

Abdullah Mohammed Baobeid, sustainable livelihood practitioner, Yemen: The biggest challenges are food and water security and energy access and reducing local tensions.

Caitlyn Hughes, Solar Cookers International: 2.4 billion people in the world are cooking over open fires. SCI are asking country leaders to use policy language which is supportive of clean cooking.

Kenneth Nana Amatoeng, Abibimman Foundation, works with a clean cooking organisation in Ghana. The communities thought that they were not having rain because of their sins. Now they are learning about climate change and clean cooking.

Golo Pilz, Brahma Kumaris, is the project designer of solar and thermal power generation projects in India. Dadi Janki inspired him to research solar energy 30 years ago. They now cook 35,000 meals a day on a solar steam system in Abu Road which was set up 20 years ago. 

Golo then led an inspiring meditation sending love, peace and compassion to everyone in the world, nature and the future.

Watch on YouTube : Youtube Link

Care, Share and Inspire in the Climate Wisdom Studio

Today in the studio the conversation was around sustainability, including aspects of food security, gender balance, clean technologies, finance and taking everyone along.  Sr. Jayanti also shared her COP28 take-away and her vision for the future.

Vibha Dhawan, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute, shared how the impact of climate change isn’t equal across the world.  It’s everyone’s responsibility and we all need to own this responsibility.  She shared how in India they are looking at food security, in terms of nutrient rich food and sustainable agriculture, such as, win-win fertilisers versus ones that pollute.  Also, the importance of educating, empowering and supporting women.  She shared that if we want peace on the planet, equitable growth is needed and a planet that works like a family.

Emmanuel Sobel Seck, Director of ENDA Energies, shared that we need to cross the river to sustainability together.  We need a critical mass to shift the paradigm to one of low carbon and sustainable cities.  He emphasised that everyone needs to be on board the boat; no-one should be left behind.   We are in a transition and we need to inform, educate, raise awareness and generate knowledge.  Also, we need to look to the hardest hit.  He shared how they are working to bring clean technologies to communities in Africa and teaching them how to use them for new income generation.

Sr. Jayanti, Additional Administrative Head, Brahma Kumaris. Today was her last day at COP and she shared that her heart had been deeply touched by the Loss and Damage session she attended, which had highlighted non-economic losses. She still feels that people need to more deeply understand the inner and outer connection; the need for a change in our consciousness.  Whatever happens in our world begins in our minds.  Our minds have been focused on materialism and commercialism and we see the result of this. If our minds were to focus on truth, love, purity and joy we would see a different world.  This evolution of the human spirit will bring a natural transition from dark to light.  We are seeing signs of this with an increasing focus on values, women’s empowerment, vegetarianism and a holistic approach to life.  This arises through inner spiritual power, silence and connection with the Divine.  It isn’t just a hope for a new world, but a vision of a world.

Link to Replay: Youtube Link

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