Inner Dimensions of Climate Change - Africa

Awakening the Healing Heart: Transforming Communities Through Love and Compassion 

DDMBA and the Global Peace Initiative of Women , co-organized and participated in a gathering of spiritual and social leaders from thirty different countries around the world in Kenya, 2-7 March, 2012, for “Awakening the Healing Heart: Transforming Communities through Love and Compassion”. The program began with an opening day at the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi, and then moved up-country to the Gallman Nature Conservancy in Laikipia, the Great Rift Valley for the next four days.

Eighty of the delegates engaged in a more intimate and sustained exploration of the themes, deepening at the same time our connections with each other and the land. The program, conducted in partnership with the Gallmann Memorial Foundation, with support from Shinnyo-en, the Fetzer Institute and Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association, proved to be a great success, both in the blending of cultures and hearts and the stimulation of new and enriching connections.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, commented, “Spirituality means responsibility, how we should act responsibly to each other and the Earth…This is what those who established the UN years ago had in mind, a place where people could meet…Yet it is rare that what people have in common overrides their differences. You are part of what is possibly the greatest hope the world has to avert what could otherwise be the destruction of the planet. Continue to be bridge-builders between spirituality and the needs of the world, the most pressing questions facing us today.”

At both the United Nations and later at Laikipia, the themes covered were far-ranging, and yet there was a deeper coherence of spirit and purpose weaving them together, and joining participants in a sense of common ground and shared aims. Healing ourselves and the world through the powers of love and forgiveness, healing our environment and our economic systems to reflect our true interdependence and unity with each other and Earth; these were the central themes.

During the “Voices of the Next Generation – The Inner Dimensions of Climate Change” program, we squarely faced the magnitude of the challenges facing us, searched their causes, and explored the best approaches for restoring our sacred connection with the land, animals, and all life-systems.