A multi-faith delegation of key religious and spiritual leaders from around the world has gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark, from December 7-13, during the UN COP-15 Summit, to further the vital notion that the environmental crisis is rooted in a profound moral and spiritual crisis.
Senior teacher and Lion’s Roar contributor Judy Lief is there. Here are four reports from inside and outside the proceedings so far.
Spirituality and Climate Change: Report from Copenhagen Climate Conference #1
Arrived in Copenhagen on this foggy morning, ready for the climate conference. My role here is as a member of the “contemplative alliance,” a group of contemplatives and social activists from around the world with a focus on crucial global issues. Two amazing women, Marianne Mastrand and Dena Merriam founded an NGO called Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW) to do all sorts of peace and reconciliation work and to infuse some feminine principle sorely lacking in the world. The contemplative alliance is an offshoot of their efforts.
The question is, What can a contemplative perspective contribute to this discussion? Having just ready The End of Faith by Sam Harris, which I loved, and then God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens, my cynicism radar is on high alert. At the same time the materialistic approach is what has gotten us—where?—in the mess we are in.
So off I go to meet up with our cast of characters from Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, indigenous religions, et al.
Judy Lief, Acharya at large
Contentment: Report from Copenhagen #2
A story from the opening gathering: An Indian Hindu teacher described growing up in a well-to-do family, with the custom of getting one new outfit two times a year. She asked her mother, can’t we afford more? And her mother said, “It’s not a question of money, of course we can. But how many outfits does one need?” Why is it that contentment is no longer considered a virtue—in fact quite the opposite –a form of lassitude?
Great dialogue amongst the jet-lagged, between the “being” people and the “must-do-something” people. Andrew Harvey made an impassioned plea that we need to act strongly and act now—the very livability of the planet is at stake. Joan Brown Campbell made the point that any great social movement must have an initial defining dramatic gesture. What would that be?
And as I write, I realize I left my power cord at home!! Battery running down… so, over and out.