Krishna Consciousness & Ecological Awareness

New commitments from Windsor
December 30, 2009, 10:08 am
Filed under: Global Warming, Religion

From The Alliance of Religions and Conservation

As well as the 30 plus long-term plans formally launched at Windsor by nine of the world’s major faiths – Baha’ism, Buddhism, Christianity, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism and Sikhism – dozens of further proposals or partnerships were developed during the event.

The new plans included announcements from the Russian Orthodox Church, Mongolian Buddhists (through Gandan monastery), Cambodian Buddhists, CAFOD, Lebanese Maronite Church and EcoCongregation Scotland, on behalf of the Church of Scotland, that they would be working to create their own long term plan. Other proposals and pledges included:

• The British Council – through David Viner, head of its Climate Change programme, pledging the British Council’s support in working with religious programmes on the environment and climate change, throughout its 165+ offices in more than 100 countries worldwide;

• Dr Azza Karam, of the United Nations Family Planning Association, pledged to expand further the work the UNFPA is undertaking with faith-based NGOs throughout its 120 country offices and five regional offices. Continue reading

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Many Heavens, One Earth: Faith Commitments for a Living Planet
December 15, 2009, 10:08 am
Filed under: Global Warming, Religion

Over 200 faith and community leaders gathered at the Celebration of Faiths and the Environment, a climate summit organized by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation and the United Nations Development Programme

From Windsor 2009

United Nations Secretary-General His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-moon called on political leaders to join the world’s faiths and the United Nations in taking bold steps to address dangerous climate change.

Speaking at Windsor Castle before HRH The Prince Philip and some 200 faith and community leaders at the Celebration of Faiths and the Environment, organised by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation and the United Nations Development Programme, Mr Ban Ki-moon said religions had a vital role to play in inspiring world leaders to “act more courageously” at next month’s critical Copenhagen climate summit.

In a heartfelt speech, that frequently deviated from his prepared text, Mr Ban said: “Science has made it quite clear – plainly clear – that this climate change is happening and accelerating much, much faster than one realises…We have knowhow, we have resources but the only vacuum is political will. You can inspire, you can provoke, you can challenge your leaders, through your wisdom, through your followers.

“Together let us walk a more sustainable path, one that respects our planet and provides for a safer, healthier, more equitable future for all.” Continue reading

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ISKCON Represented at UF Panel
November 1, 2009, 5:17 am
Filed under: Education, Global Warming, Religion, Vegetarianism

By Ali Krishna devi dasi

On Thursday, October 29th, I represented ISKCON and participated in a panel, organized by graduate students in the University of Florida (UF) Religion Department, discussing religious values and the environment.  The other panelists included a representative of Islam, Professor Sarra Tlili from the UF Department of Asian & African Languages, a local Jewish rabbi, and another student from Campus Crusade for Christ.

Having an undergraduate degree in environmental science and as an environmental activist for the past 15 years, my personal conclusion is that Krishna consciousness is the climax and saving grace of any environmentalist’s career.  I emphasized in my introductory statement why vegetarianism and simple living are two of ISKCON’s most relevant values when it comes to ecological awareness.  As we strive to see all living entities with equal vision, embracing vegetarianism is an immediate symptom of higher consciousness.  Naturally, vegetarianism is also a symptom of ecological awareness.  As the industrialized agricultural industry and meat consumption continues to expand, the environmental impact has been detrimental.  I explained that by the end of our discussion, over 1.5 million animals will have been slaughtered in the U.S. alone.  What this translates into is over 55 billion animals slaughtered annually. Thus, an unprecedented demand for petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides is needed in order to grow enough feed crops, which means more land to grow these crops, which demands one-third of the world’s arable land and another 25% of the world’s ice-free land to “graze” them.  I further explained that 5000 gallons of water are used to produce one pound of beef versus 25 gallons of water to produce one pound of wheat or lettuce, and that last year, the UN made a statement that 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions were attributed to the livestock industry, whereas all modes of transportation, including cars, trucks, trains, planes, and ships combined, account for a lesser 13%.  I quoted manta one from the Sri Isopanisad, “isavasyam idam sarvam…”  and concluded by saying that ISKCON sees the root of all sin as the deliberate disobedience of the laws of nature through disregarding the proprietorship of the Lord.

In summary, I felt the other panelists had much to say philosophically but few examples of “lived religion” or organized efforts of environmentalism in practice.  An interesting point I observed was that every panelist commented on the environment as being under humanity’s stewardship yet also existing for our enjoyment.  After all the panelists presented their opening statement, the forum was opened up to questions from the audience.  Approximately 50 students and community members were in attendance.  The lively discussion that followed centered on vegetarianism, global warming, death rites, and war.

This panel is the first of a series of three.  My professor, Dr. Whitney Sanford, who has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies with a specialization in north Indian devotional traditions, is very favorable towards ISKCON and recently attended the Vaishnavi Retreat at New Vrindavan.  The following day, Professor Tlili approached a devotee on campus and asked for a copy of the Bhagavad-gita.  In my opinion, ISKCON has an invaluable voice that must be strengthened and refined in order to be heard and understood by modern society and academia in regards to environmentalism.  Yet, embracing or even discussing vegetarianism as a solution seems to be a truth even too inconvenient for Al Gore.

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Turn vegetarian and conquer climate change
October 30, 2009, 10:08 am
Filed under: Environmental Politics, Global Warming, Vegetarianism

The Economic Times

LONDON: Going the vegetarian way can help to tackle the problem of global warming apart from its known health benefits to human, according to a climate expert.

“Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better,” Lord Stern of Brentford said.

“Direct emissions of methane from cows and pigs is a significant source of greenhouse gases. Methane is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas,” he said.

Lord Stern, author of the 2006 Stern Review on the cost of tackling global warming, said that a successful deal at the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen would lead to soaring costs for meat and other foods that generate large quantities of greenhouse gases.

“I think it’s important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating,” he said.

A former chief economist at the World Bank, Stern warned that British taxpayers would need to contribute about £ 3 billion a year by 2015 to help poor countries to cope with the impact of climate change.

Speaking on the eve of an all-parliamentary debate on climate change, Lord Stern admitted that he himself is not a strict vegetarian.

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India’s greenhouse emissions are among lowest
August 30, 2009, 10:08 am
Filed under: Global Warming

The Economic Times

CAIRNS: Observing that its greenhouse gas emissions are amongst the lowest in per capita terms, India expressed its wish to engage “constructively and productively” with the global community to combat climate change and contribute its bit to protect the environment.

External affairs minister S. M. Krishna also said India is of the view that the international community should undertake special efforts to help Small Island Developing States deal with climate change and the process of adaptation.

“We share the disappointment of SIDS that not enough has been done by the international community to help developing countries, particularly those that are most vulnerable to climate change like the SIDS to deal with the issue of adaptation,” he said, addressing the Post-Forum Dialogue of Pacific Island Forum here.

India’s greenhouse gas emissions are amongst the lowest in per capita terms. “We recongise our responsibility as a developing country and wish to engage constructively and productively with the international community and to add weight to global efforts to protect the environment,” Krishna said.

Adaptation remains the key for developing countries and it needs to be adequately resourced without detracting funds for development which in any case, is the best form of adaptation, he said.

Krishna said India is committed to providing assistance by way of capacity building as well as project assistance to help Pacific Island Countries in the process of adaptation to climate change and to promote the objectives of sustainable development.

He also recalled that the Delhi Declaration issued at the 8th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change held in New Delhi in 2002, specifically expressed deep concern at the increasing risk of the negative impact of climate change to SIDS.

“The New Delhi Conference of Parties also recognized for the first time the importance of adaptation needs of SIDS,” he said.

The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are experiencing major adverse effects of climate change and adaptation to adverse impacts of climate change and sea-level rise remains a major priority for them, he said.

Krishna announced that India would conduct another Workshop in Suva very soon for nominees from the 14 Pacific Island countries on Climate Change.

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