Side event on “Environmental Protection: Religious Perspective”
Dr Ibrahim Saleh Al Naimi, Chairman-Board of Directors, DICID, gave an introduction stating that different religions have in common the devotion to God, and His creation, the environment, needs to be protected.
Prof. Ali Al-Qaradaghi, General Secretary of the International Islamic Scholars’ Union: He announced that they have developed their own system for environment’s conservation, covering all aspects of sustainability practices. Its implementation started in the Mosques: green Mosques, reduction of electricity consumption, etc. Qatar is sharing knowledge and experience for environment conservation with the other countries of the Gulf.
Sister Jayanti Kirpalani spoke about environment and the law of karma: whatever we do, we receive the equal return. For millenniums nature has enabled humanity to survive. What has changed is the way we relate to it. Instead of being owners of nature, we shall be trustees. Only then, there will be an attitude non violence, respect, instead of consumerism and materialism. My vision is the vision of God. Whatever we see outside starts from within. There has to be a shift of attitude and respect for all human beings.
The Chairman commented that Sister Jayanti’s message was encouraging.
Dr Yousef Al Horr, Founding Chairman at Gulf Organization for Research and Development: There has to be a general change and all Churches should be involved in it, educating of communities, organizing collective actions and reporting with progress reports.
Archbishop Serafim Kykotis of the Orthodox Church of Zimbabwe on behalf of the SAFCEI: Churches should promote activities for clean energy, rights o the indigenous people and food security.
In the evening, there was a Press Conference by Sister Jayanti Kirpalani and Golo Pilz, facilitated by Valeriane Bernard. Subject: Protecting our atmosphere: State and individual responsibilities and the rights of Mother Earth.
The Doha Film Institute interviewed a group of African Youth for a documentary that they are working on. The youth gave their expectations and the African perspective with regards to the Climate negotiations. The many issues that came up were about the Climate Green Fund and the vulnerability of the African population to climate change. Teresa Mungazi was part of the interview and she emphasized that her presence at COP 18 was to contribute for a positive change.
Side event: Honouring Wisdom, Strengthening Commitment
Auditorium, Birla Public School
Mr Aditya Shrivastava, the principal of the school opened the program by welcoming the guests. His remarks were “Sister Jayanti used to make my day everyday with her talks/sessions on the television channel”.
In his charismatic style, Anthony Phelips introduced the delegation of Brahma Kumaris Environment Initiative to COP18. BKEI is all about spiritual underpinning issues for the climate change issues.
He introduced himself as an example of a person who has inculcated spirituality. “As a businessman, I wanted to know whether it is possible to start and run a business which can be run on the spiritual principles. If I can do that, that would be a success. I had to find a new spiritual currency, which is invisible, and find out whether it worked out or not: I belong to you, you belong to me, could be ingrained and the business also progressed. I found out that it worked well for the first three years. The second three years, fear and greed, had peeped in. But at the end, I could manage to come out of that. My experience is that it is possible to apply spiritual principles, they can be applied in to the practical life. It does work. And you are also able to come out of the biggest obstacles which are fear and greed.”
Golo Pilz came to India in 1985 to Rajasthan. There was lot of sunshine but lot of power cuts also. Situation of the Ecological Footprint of the world is 1,6 times of the Earth Resources. India is one of the climate change hotspots. The climate in India will undergo lot of fluctuations. The sunshine of 6 hours per day is equivalent to the energy requirement of the world for the whole year. Living Green philosophy is based on – Rethink, Reuse, Reduce, Recycle. The basic philosophy is “Change – it all starts with me”. The shift starts from “Me” to family, community, country, life on earth and ultimately future generations. One MW electricity will be the outcome of India-One project, which he illustrated.
We need a sustainable development on the inside. The degradation of inner values is related to the degradation of the outer environment. We need a common understanding by sharing the same value system. If I look for clean technology, I need a clean mind. He ended his presentation by saying: “think good about self, others and the world. Towards a better world, we need peace, cooperation, unity and values and sustainable technology”.
Spiritual organisation teaches the spiritual dimension of life. We have the human journey and bring about spiritual dimensions to it once in a while. But in fact each one is a spiritual being. This is the basic premise we begin with. What happens when we forget? We forget the spiritual self identity. That leads to stress and sorrow.
When I start the journey of spirituality, the first understanding that comes is “Who am I? There is the identity based on the body, age, gender, colour, nationality. If this is the case, that is physical and mundane. In fact the self is beyond the physical identity. WE all usually say I have a soul. Another statement is “I am a soul”. In the consciousness “ I have a soul”. When I start applying in life, moves me towards wisdom. Present time, we have moved away from the truth. Truth is waiting to be followed. When I am aware of myself, and that connection is there, I am able to perform that elevated action. I need to stay very alert and active. Then the decisions/choices I make at every step will be the right one.
The original quality of the soul is positivity. We feel uncomfortable in anger, sorrow. We feel heavy. In the atmosphere of serenity, peace, love and happiness, we spend hours together easily. We do realise that there is goodness inherently within us. But we haven’t been following them in the practical life.
We value the values of love, peace and serenity, but have forgotten how to follow them. The connection with the divine, Almighty allows me to keep following the values, no matter what the outer atmosphere is. The Principal closed session with remarks “even if we are able to follow 1% of information, it will be worthwhile”. Petrol is cheaper then the water, and hence more pollution of life. Eco club is in the school and students use the recycled books. For sure, students will meditate on this and will be able to do great in the future like Golo. Principal himself came to the school with the challenge Anthony had taken up. Success – God is giving. We are doing what we are expected to do.