COP17 Durban South Africa 2011 Archives

Press Conference - Interfaith Declaration on Climate Change presents Religion & Science on the same page.

Mr. Stuart Scott, Director of Interfaith Declaration, had arranged this press conference in co-operation with the South African Faith Communities Environment Initiative (SAFCEI). Former Bishop Geoff Davies, coordinator of SAFCEI, underlined that in the spirit of trust there has to be co-operation between us. He is often asked the question, “What has God got to do with climate change?” He answers: “Everything! It is God’s creation that is at stake”.

Usha and COP ES web

Usha Jevan from the BK centre in Durban, in her capacity as a board member of SAFCEI, was invited to participate in the presentation of the Interfaith Declaration to Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, who listened attentively and commented that the message was loud and clear in that the planet is not ours, and so not ours to destroy, but to care for.  Usha Jevan had the opportunity to present our material on exploring the connection between mind and matter.


COP17 Side event in Durban Exhibition Centre, a joint panel of Brahma Kumaris and Maryknoll Sisters

Sustainable Capacity Building:

Empowering Individuals and Communities to Act.

The key focus for this event was to explore how we build the capacity of individuals and communities to be able to implement policies and adopt a greener lifestyle.  Joachim Golo Pilz began with a presentation highlighting a solar energy project that he has designed and is building in Mount Abu at the headquarters of the Brahma Kumaris.  There are three levels at which capacity has to be enhanced, at the individual, organizational and community level.  We are at the end of the gas and oil age and currently we using 1.6 times the capacity of the earth's resources.  We need to reduce our ecological footprint, since environmental degradation leads to poverty which leads to conflict.  

Currently the Brahma Kumaris is one of the largest institutional users of solar energy in India.  The India-One project is an ambitious project which aims to establish a 1MW solar power station which will meet the needs of 20,000 people.  All development happens on site, and the local community is trained to fabricate the steel structures, install and monitor the plant.  It is an excellent example of using renewable energy and developing the local capacity to build, implement, and maintain a system.

COP17, UN’s Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa – 4th Dec.

Interfaith Prayer Meeting

The COP17 Faith Secretariat hosted an inter-faith prayer service at the Sports Centre of Steve Biko Campus, Durban University of Technology.  Prayers from different faiths were welcomed at the prayer service, and the BKWSU was one of the seven different faiths that took part. Others were from Hindu, Moslem, Baha’I, Christian, Buddhist, and Jewish, traditions. The main aim of the gathering was to call for leaders representing different people in COP17 to overcome self centeredness and put morals and principles before economy. There was also a call to encourage and support one another to overcome the greatest danger that has ever faced mankind. The event started off with a candle lighting ceremony where each faith group gave a brief introduction of their faith group and lit a candle.  This was followed by speeches from the interfaith leadership, readings and prayers from different faiths, music and songs.


Interfaith mass Pratibha web


COP17, UN’s Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa – 5th Dec.


Sister Jayanti met with Sheila Sisulu, Deputy Executive Director, Hunger Solutions Office, World Food Programme, who showed a lot of interest both in spirituality and solar energy.

WFP Ex Director and Sis Jayanti web

Wisdom from the Past, Solutions for the Present - hosted by the Gandhi Development Trust/Satyagraha.

Panel discussion at Diakonia, lead by Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi.

Ela Ghandhi event web

The afternoon began with a visual presentation of posters created by the Gandhi Development Trust with quotations from Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Martin Luther King and E.F. Schumacher.  Young people were then asked to offer their interpretation of the posters.  It was beautiful to hear them describe not only their understanding but the hop

es and vision that the posters inspired.  Next, the panel of speakers added their input, drawing on the wisdom of ancient traditions.  At the end, Ela Gandhi blessed the program and distributed gifts to all the panelists.


The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world. Marianne Williamson