25 years celebration
Sister Jayanti and Ken O'Donnell came back from Belo Horisonte after celebrating 25 years of service there. There was a grand program called "The Future We Want" on the 13 th June, and 900 people attended. The program happened in an elite club, which is known for preparing athletes for the Olympics. The Director of Sports opened the event, saying they want Brahma Kumaris to partner with their organisation to support the mental strength of their elite athletes. Then, Marcus Vianna, a famous musician played beautifully after which Sister Jayanti spoke about the responsibility each of us has to create the future we want. It is now time to move from the darkness into the light and align ourselves with a new energy and a new way of being. Then the celebrations began! Many people, some in greatly influential positions, were honoured by the Brahma Kumaris for all their help during the last 25 years of service and outreach. There were politicians, artists, journalists, business people and educators represented. The Governor of Belo Horisante also sent a handwritten letter in appreciation of the work the Brahma Kumaris have done. All of them received a plaque, and were invited to light 25 candles, and cut a cake. The event concluded with a Brazilian drumming group that created a festive atmosphere of celebration.
In the 12 th June edition of "O tempo", one of the main newspapers of Belo Horizonte, there was a full page interview about " The Future we Want," headlined "Simplifying our needs is the way to contentment" .
Rio + 20 Preparatory meeting and side events
Today Julia Grindon-Welch (BK Representative to UN in New York), Piero Musini (Yogic Farmer) and Tamasin Ramsay (BK Representative to UN in New York) attended a side-event at Rio+20. The title "Innovation and Uptake of Best Practices for Sustainable Agriculture" was heartening, yet the discussion made us aware of how peoples ideas of what 'sustainability' means differ remarkably from each other. It was expected that we would hear of new and innovative practices born from a holistic and sustainable foundation. Initiatives that no longer consider 'wellness' in terms of capital growth, but instead that measure the wellness of people, animals and nature as an integrated whole. One cannot be exploited without exploiting the other. If you sustain one, all are sustained.
With the best will in the world, initiatives born from attitudes that are based on increased profit margins for companies, that create relationships of dependency through trade, keep farmers powerless to chemical companies, and continue to promote the consumption of animals for food, is not the way to sustainable development. The presentations today promoted fertiliser use, encouraged the use of genetically engineered seed, and advocated genetically modifying cows with in-vitro embryonic genetic science so that a mother cow may bear 20 calves per year, as opposed to one.
Actions are not without their consequences and we must take care not to support initiatives that are labelled 'green' but, in practice, continues the exploitation of nature and animals. We must take the time to reflect on our mental positioning and thinking, and facilitate inner change at the deepest level, if we are to restore our relationship with the nature world to one of mutual care and benefit.
Environmental Education for Sustainable Societies
Luciana Ferraz and Sonja Ohlsson went to the Planetarium da Gávea for a meeting with the coordinating team of the II Journey on Environmental Education for Sustainable Societies and Global Responsibility . The Brahma Kumaris are taking part in this network that is part of the Education Working Group Rio + 20 and the People's Treaties for Sustainability Rio + 20. Present at the meeting was Mr. Nilo Diniz (Director of Environmental Education in the Ministry of Environment), Mrs. Moema Viezzer, (Planetary Network of the Environmental Education Treaty), Mr. Nelton Friedrich (Itaipu Binacional) and Mrs. Sheila from Paulo Freire Institute, all long term friends of BKs. There was an interview with the magazine called CIENCIA ( Science) and the newspaper Guia Folha.