Young Earth Activists Explore Spiritual Side of Climate Action in Bonn

January 15, 2018
Bonn, Germany

At United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany last November, young ecologists and activists participated in The Inner Dimensions of Climate Change, a five-day retreat and dialogue. The focus of the gathering was on how a disconnection from nature may be contributing to climate change, and what it means to renew a relationship with the Earth. Shinnyo-en hosted a closing chant for the program.

The Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW) was the organizer in partnership with the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association (DDMBA). Shinnyo-en was also a supporter of the program alongside a diverse group of international spiritual mentors representing the Buddhist, Christian, Indigenous, Sufi and Yogic traditions.

In 2015, during the groundbreaking United Nations Climate Summit in Paris (COP 21), there was much discussion about the multiple ways in which countries can limit carbon emissions. However, it is the belief of Shinnyo-en and many faith communities globally, that this alone will not address our ecological crisis. It is inner changes – shifts in attitudes, understanding and mindset – that will lead to the required behavioral changes needed to adapt to climate challenges and awaken the inner awareness needed to restore a relationship to the Earth and natural world.

In Bonn, dialogue among the 25 young participants reflected on the groundswell of concerned European citizens and young people who say that to deal with these challenges, a new mindset rooted in spiritual, ancient Earth practices is greatly needed. The group emphasized that the Earth’s living systems must be central to plans for human development when envisioning the future. It was also explored how an individual can begin this process to bring about changes sought after in the external world, through meditation, love, service, and daily practices that help align one’s soul and the soul of the Earth.

Putting the dialogue into life context, a Sacred Water Ceremony was performed during a tour for participants of the Rhine River, presided over by leaders from indigenous nations in the Americas.

Through cultivating these young eco-advocates to understand the sacredness of Mother Earth, it our hope that the Inner Dimensions of Climate Change event fostered a stronger vital relationship between the next generation and our diverse living planet, which can then be shared with their communities around the world.