COP15 – Bella Center
Will there be any Copenhagen Agreement?
Patricia reported that there is basically a two track outcome connected to the Copenhagen Agreement (the result of the Copenhagen summit). Each track has its own document. The first document – the 2nd phase of the Kyoto Protocol - is only for developed countries and is unlikely to include the US. The second document – the world agreement - will include commitments from both developed and developing countries, and will include a shared vision for long term mitigation, adaptation, technology and financial resources.
It is likely that the outcome will be a political agreement rather than a legally binding agreement, with specific numbers related to the levels of mitigation to be achieved by all countries and the amount of finance to be allotted for the short and medium term.
The political agreement will contain a fixed date in 2010 by which to adopt the final text for the legally binding agreement. This means that the most difficult issues of finance and levels of reduction will be sorted out here in Copenhagen at the highest political level.
Meeting with Mr Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCC.
Patricia met with Mr. Yvo de Boer. He knows Patricia and so was very pleased to see her, and when he heard that Sister Jayanti could come and offer his some minutes of peace, he was even happier. He remembered the brief meeting Sister Jayanti, on Thursday and said he would be happy to have his assistant arrange a more formal meeting with Sister Jayanti over the next few days. On meeting with his assistants they asked if his staff could also meet with Sister Jayanti as they needed some peace too! You can imagine how busy and frazzled these people must be with the pressure of running this conference.
A Glimpse of the Business World - Side Event
There was an interesting side event with top business people where a debate began linked to the fact that clean technologies are more costly at the moment, but when they will be globally used prices will be affordable and cheaper. One of the speakers, Chief Executive officer from ARUP (a large and well known firm of British Architects) said that governments had failed to communicate to citizens the danger of climate change. Consumers would be prepared to pay more for technologies when they know the danger to their children. Business needs to pay more attention to communicate with communities about climate change. He recommended that a way to do this was through culture and art.
NGO Forum. (Klimaforum09)
NGO Declaration – is now final. It is essentially the same as draft 3, but now includes a statement saying that we need a stronger and more democratic UN to get the movement of movements going.
Side Event: Organized by the Global Peace Initiative of Women (organizing the Religious Leaders Meetings) called "The Inner Dimensions of Change"
Dena Merriam, Founder and Convener, Global Peace Initiative of Women, opened the proceeding saying that thoughts and feelings come from the inside and get reflected in the outside world. So change needs to start from the inside. Dena asked Sister Jayanti to start the conversation by speaking about how we have lost connection with our inner dimension and how that relates with the situation we find ourselves in the outside world.
Sister Jayanti said that if our minds are anxious it will impact our attitude, our behavior, and our relationships, and we then see how situations unfold in the world. We create the outcome of our day and our world from our state of mind. Because we have forgotten ourselves we have lost respect for all forms of life. We think of ourselves as only physical beings, and this is dangerous because we then identify ourselves as certain colors, genders, nationalities etc. This easily leads to division and conflict. In losing touch with our true selves we have identified ourselves with skin – which is only a 16th of an inch thick – thus losing touch with the being we really are. We identify with our positions or possessions, and forget what brings real contentment and happiness. So much is then needed in order to fill the emptiness. When we begin to respect ourselves and one another as we truly are, as spirit inside our skins – we will learn to respect all forms of life and we won't need as much as we did before.
Prof. Dr. Phra Dharmakosajarn, Rector, University, Thailand said to his way of thinking climate pollution started from mental pollution. We consume more and pollute more. Out of desire for more we create more material things to satisfy that need, and this is our problem. Because of this pattern of desire we look at nature, not as it really is, but to see what we can get out of it. We look at a mountain, or a river, to see how much money we can make from it. Now we have to return to looking at nature in its true form and not as a thing to satisfy our desires. At the moment we look through a curtain of greed and self interest, our eyes cannot see the relatedness of the natural world, we see things separately. We have to start to see thing as they truly are and how they are all connected. Once our minds are purified within, we will have peace of mind and we can live in peace with nature.
Sheikh Saliou Mbacke, Muridiya Sufi order, Senegal spoke of how everything happens through God's will. There is room for the relationship between what you do and the result will be accordingly. However, ultimately it is God's will. This is the law of Islam.
How do we stand with that in terms of climate change? God has decided to punish us because we have not looked after the planet. God has the ultimate word, even if we do good. So I think our role, the inner part we can play, is to serve nature. Responding to climate change is good, caring for our planet is good, as mandated by God, but we have to recognize our weakness as human beings. It is God who decides.
Sraddhalu Ranade, Scientist, Educator and Teacher at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherrry, India: There are 4 levels to our inner and outer worlds according to the ancient rishis of India.
1) Sense awareness, we call this – Sense mind, which deals with sensations and how we interpret them. We are colored by our state of sensory mind. (How we look at the glass – whether it is half full or half empty depends on our optimistic or pessimistic state of mind.)
2) Creative power reflects our energy force. For example a teacher may enter a noisy class room and shout – using their energy force to shock the children into silence. Another teacher may enter the noisy class room, calmly and filled with self assurance – this impacts the class and brings them to silence.
3) Our consciousness – Our beliefs connected to our identity. Our identity determines our behavior, our capacity to act. If you believe you can do something you will do it and be successful. If you think you cannot do something you will fail even if you have been forced to do it.
4) Highest consciousness – the essence of being – the self, Atman. This is our essential consciousness where we experience the entire universe – we call this self-realization. This is the kind of creative power which produced the 'big bang'. You don't have to go outside to do anything; it is all done from within. The entire cosmos is ours within. Because we have lost connection with this experience we crave this, and out of this lack pours our disconnectedness and discontentment, of which the climate change situation is a symptom.
Reverend Richard Cizik, Evangelical Christian, USA, felt that this was a question of God and eternity. He said he didn't think we could separate the inner climate from the outer climate. He shared a personal experience of how his inner climate changed his connection to the outer climate. For 25 years he was a top lobbyist in Washington but for all those years he lived in a kind of cocoon, and the environment was completely "off my platter".
Then he was invited to a climate change conference in Oxford by a friend – and he SAW. He looked at the world and wondered how he had not seen before. Essentially he had been blind to what was happening around him. It felt like a conversion, a change had happened from inside of him. He realized that he had not understood our basic relationship with matter – that of stewardship. He realized he had not understood his relationship with God or the relationship that exists in him with all of the creative order of flora and fauna. When we understand this relationship our inner and outer thoughts are the same. When we do this we also have to pay a price if we speak out. He paid a price. (He basically lost his position.) He had to speak and the result was a huge revolution between the old guard evangelical Christians and the younger generation who understand.
He then spoke to his Muslim co-panelist to comment on the involvement of God in all of this: "I see this as a 'God moment' and we have a responsibility to do what we must – protect what God has told us to – this is a mandate and not a request and I honestly believe we have to do this."
Zarko Andricevic, practictioner of Chan meditation, Founder of the Buddhist Center in Zagreb, Croatia spoke of how he was not a believer but a practitioner. The problem today is not so much the outer world but ignorance of the inner world. There is a big myth in the world that it is because we humans are not perfect that we have a need to destroy. But our true self is perfect and it is in this that the human being is according the face of god, the son of God – we are "in God's image". But this is not the face we see in the mirror. The problems in the world relate to our inner climate, the climate of our relationships. Many people talk about the inner self and look for it. It is already inside us, inside there is already happiness, but in our search we look at it from the aspect of emotions, and we cannot be emotionally happy all the time. If we used our awareness we would not make mistakes. Scholars teach about outer things, not inner things. These inner things should be taught. He then asked the audience to question in that very moment , who is the one who is listening?
About 300 people attended this event and there were a lot of interesting follow-up questions.
Photographs and Interview
Following the side event Sister Jayanti had her photograph taken, individually, along with other religious leaders by Soren Solkaer Starbird, a well known Danish photographer who is also well known to the Brahma Kumaris for his exhibition Souls.
Sister Jayanti then had an interview with "Your Climate TV". Climate TV describes itself as a place for everybody who believes that a collaborative approach is the way to find solutions on the world's climate problems. This interview and meditation commentary is already up on the internet www.climate-change.tv/