The UN Environment Programme, Faith for Earth Initiative and United Religions Initiative, organised a special Faith for Earth Councilors Program in a series of cluster meetings to brought together eminent faith leaders from all faith traditions in order to build a network of faith-based organisations taking leadership in their communities to address environmental urgencies.
The gathering at the UN House Delhi today was graced by:
- Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatii, Secretary General, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, representing Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh
- Pujya BK Shivani of the Brahma Kumaris
- Pujya Gauranga Das, Director of Govardhan Ecovillage, Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari Temple, ISKCON Juhu, Mumbai (Official)
- Pujya Swami Prakarshananda, Chinmaya Mission Delhi
- Pujya Swami Dipankar, Dipankar Dyaan Foundation
- Ramesh Bijlani, Sri Sri Aurobindo Ashram-Delhi Branch
- Shri Lokesh Sharma
- Aham Brahmasmiji
- and Mr Roy of Isha Foundation.
The meeting was presided by Ms Divya Dutt, Programme Officer, UNEP India and Ms Gayatri Raghwa, UNEP Education Consultant and moderated by Ms Subhi Duphar of URI.
In a special video message by the Mr Iyad Abumoghli, Ph.D. Eng.Director, Faith for Earth Strategic Engagement with Faith-based Organizations Executive Office, Nairobi –Kenya, shared the four pillars of the programme and the critical role that faith based organisations and faith leaders can and must play as a game changer for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.
Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawatiji shared , *”As Faith leaders perhaps the single greatest thing that we can do is to inspire mass awareness and education around making people and communities realise that climate change and impact on biodiversity actually affects each one of us directly and that the time therefore action is now.” Pujya Sadhviji shared about the upcoming Hariyali Yatra – in which GIWA, together with Jamiat Ulema-E-Hind, would plant thousands of trees in over 1000 Madrasas, Gurukuls, Gurudwaras, Mandirs, Masjids, Railway Stations and public locations – and also shared about the work being done to inspire mass behaviour change and conscious consumption so that individuals can recognise they can be part of the change.
Pujya Sister Shivani ji shared, “Until and unless we have peace inside we will not be able to have peace outside. We need to develop compassion as our sanskar and take responsibility for our planet. Sankalp se shristi banti hai — our intentions and pledges are the seeds of change in the world.” She shared about the historic and pivotal work that Brahmakumaris are doing in the area of Solar Power.
Pujya Gauranga Dasji shared, “All five elements, mind, intelligence and false ego are the subtle building blocks of our world. If we can have control of our false egos we can take care of everything else.” He added, “There is a great need to look at both water and waste together at the village level to showcase methodologies models of development which are focused on sustainability.”
All other organisations present shared about the beautiful work they are doing and discussions channeled around sharing best practices as well as nominated leaders from their organisations to build capacity and greater awareness around this vital and pivotal cause of protecting our one home – our one planet.