Friday 20 September 2013

From Johnathan and Charlotte Gravestock , Hove Methodist church

All people who have a concern for the world, whether adherents of a particular faith or not , have a duty to care for the planet.
climate change is one very important factor , but there are related issues that have high importance such as population growth and efficient use of water and energy (eg for heating , travelling and producing food .)
to manage all these issues as well will need to harness the combined forces of politics , scientific research and spirituality .
People of faith can contribute the (often unrecognized ) positive power of prayer , meditation,  and reflection  with regard to their vision of universal responsibility and common good.

An important area to concentrate on is self education ,as we must acquire enough understanding of the issues involved in order to critically evaluate the data and opinions we hear .Only then can we make informed decisions regarding the best responses to new situations .

we agree with Stu that we can all take small measures that together add up to make a significant difference .
Have you planted any bee friendly plants in your garden or window box this year ?(bees are actually thriving in greater London now partly because people have been doing this and creating roof gardens in the city .)
Do you have space to install an additional water butt ?Can you reduce your consumption of meat if you are not already a vegetarian ?

Every small step helps and doesnt have to involve expensive technology.If we each play our part in ways like these , we can not only set an example in living out our faith , but also start to make things better .

Saturday 17 August 2013

What do we do next ?

Hello Friends ,
How do we move ourselves forward ?
following the Interfaith conference on climate change , Mokshini , the chairwoman of the Brighton Buddhist centre said we will begin undertaking ways to make our community more sustainable in a similar way to what the Quaker meeting are doing. I know that Johnathan from Hove methodist church is also interested in introducing some ideas there , and as he and Mokshini said , it's hard to know where to start but we have to start somewhere .Why dont we undertake this together ?

With fracking in Sussex very much in the news right now , it is becoming increasingly obvious that we need to rethink our energy sources , and to that end I am going to put together an evening at our centre where we launch the idea of switching ourselves and the Buddhist centre over to a green energy supplier , is that something others are interested in bringing to their communities ? Or where would you like to begin ?lets share our inspiration and support eachother to make real changes.

I have several very good documentaries on peak oil and climate change that i am happy to lend if you wanted to show them to your communities , film nights with maybe a shared meal , some discussion space are good ways of drawing people in .I would love to hear your ideas .
Love Sahajatara

Friday 9 August 2013

Dear friends,

Sahajatara and I (Jason) have been working on the question of how to keep the momentum going following our successful Climate Conference which included many interesting contributions from diverse faith communities based in Brighton and Hove.

We would like you to be involved with this website to keep the conversation going and towards this end we wish to pose the following question:

How do you think faith communities can contribute to the challenge of climate change?

We would be very happy if you could answer this question in one or two sentences using the comments section below.

We are also hoping to run a follow-up event at Brighthelm in the autumn and if you would like to be involved, please get in touch via email.

in friendship,


Friday 2 August 2013

Welcome Friends

Dear Friends , This is the webpage for the Interfaith Action On Climate Change network , currently being set up by Jason Evans (Quaker meeting) and myself (Sahajatara , Triratna Buddhist community ) here in Brighton , uk .

For me , the Interfaith journey began with a realisation and a dream . In the dream  , I found myself sitting in a church , wearing my kesa ( thing we wear around our necks as symbols of our  Buddhist ordination ) and it felt like there was complete love and harmony between us all , i was just marvelling over this sense of harmony and belonging when we all got up and went out into the graveyard ,  to plant a tree together .

Not long before I had this dream , I'd had what for me was a life changeing experience .I sometimes experience what I call 'The Love' , total Love and Beauty and kindnes which permeates everything and from which i am not separate, But on this particular occasion it came with the realisation : How is this different to how a Christian might experience the presense of God ?I'd been a Buddhist for nearly 20 years at this point and it wasnt what i was expecting!

Then came the dream , and that was when i realised I had a passion for Interfaith.

I have always been concerned about environmental matters , as a child I loved these lines by Wordsworth
'The  earth and every common sight
to me did seem apparelled in celestial light '
and in recent years I have been increasingly concerned about the climate crisis .Here are some statistics that i feel give an idea of what we are really up against
If we raise the global temperature of the earth by just 1 degree , we will see the almost complete collapse of the Great Barrier Reef .A 2 degree rise will cause dreadful heatwaves and increased drought  around the world . A rise of 3 degrees will bring about the complete collapse of the amazon eco system and ' the very real threat of conflict over water supplies around the world' .
We use to talk about keeping below 2 degrees at all costs , but greenhouse gas emissions in recent years have exceed even the worse case scenarios , and we are currently on course for a rise of between 4 and 6 degrees THIS CENTURY . Combined with the expected population rise to 9 billion and we can see that we are in a desperate situation . The UN estimates that by the middle of this century there may be 150 million environmental refugees at any given time , refugees from climate change .

I was very inspired to read a couple of years back that the Quakers have taken on the reality of climate change and are working towards becoming a sustainable community .This was the inspiration for our recent Interfaith Conference On Climate Change which was well attended and we had 12 speakers from various Faith communities around the city .

I believe that if we can come together and speak with one voice on this , then we can really make a difference.If every Faith community in the uk came together and said 'we dont want this ', then i believe we could influence public opinion about climate change and our government would have to respond .In short , I have complete faith  that we can do this , if we can come together . But time is short .

There was alot of will present at the conference to really do this .

My current thinking is that you dont need to have all the answers in order to start having the conversation . I think its easy for us to get stuck at that point , we want to do something , but the problem is so huge and the outcome so terrible that we end up sort of paralised and heartbroken .I believe there is enough collective genius already present for us to fine the way through  , and if we work together to support eachother and share ideas , we can do this.

Following  (infact during!) the conference , Mokshini , the chair of the Triratna Buddhist center in Brighton (and chair of the Interfaith contact group) said we would undertake to do what the Quakers are doing , to find ways of becoming a more sustainable community .Johnathan from the Methodist church also wants to do something along those lines , this is how its going to work , we will do this together , we will inspire and uplift and support eachother and we can do this.
Rik from the united reformed church has offered Brighthelm for a follow up event in the autumn .
Jason and me (mainly Jason , I watched in a supportive manner ; ) ) have set up this blog space so we will have somewhere we can continue this conversation , I can publish articles that you all send me , and we can all add our comments and suggestions .We are going to publish one page summaries of some of the talks e heard at the conference and will be working towards the next event in the autumn.
At the Brighton Buddhist centre we're making a leaflet about green energy and how to change over to a  green energy supplier .Local people will know about the anti fracking protests in Balcome and the urgency for us to meet our energy needs in a sustainable way .We can all share our ideas here , this is just the beginning.

With Love , Sahajatara ,August 2013 .