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*resizedNanditha and Holland edited

French President Francois Hollande, Dr. Nanditha Krishna

 

“Why do I care?” – Statement made by Dr. Nanditha Krishna at the Summit of Conscience for the Climate (Sommet des Consciences pour le Climat), Paris, July 21, 2015.

 

The Hindu tradition regards nature and all her aspects as divine: forests, mountains, trees, rivers and water-bodies, animals and seeds are all regarded as sacred. The earth is the Divine Mother who must be treated with respect. The five elements (pancha bhūta) – Earth, Air, Water, Fire (Energy) and Space – are the foundation of the interconnected web of life. Every prayer begins and ends with a prayer for peace in nature. Our environmental actions affect our karma, binding all creation in an eternal cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Dharma – righteousness or duty – includes our responsibility to care for the earth and her resources.

 

As a child, I spent a lot of time around forests where tigers, leopards, elephants and other wildlife crossed my path. Gradually, the forests were cut down, and the wildlife disappeared. Meanwhile, my lovely city Chennai, better known for its temples and temple bells, classical music and dance, became a hotbed of air and water pollution, and garbage. All over the world, the animals and birds I love are now kept in cages and treated as production machines, and exported to live in horrible conditions. Is it ethical? Is it environmentally sustainable? An insatiable greed for wealth and consumption has gripped all people, at the cost of the environment. This has led to the crisis of global warming and climate change.

 

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Mr. Selvapandian, CPREEC officer; Dr. Nanditha Krishna, Director of CPREEC, visiting Nenmeli, one of the sacred groves restored by CPREEC.

 

I have spent over three decades writing about sacred groves, plants and animals. When we restored the sacred groves (forests), 52 of them, and water-bodies, I saw the birds and wildlife return. They too want to live well. Ahimsa or non-violence is the greatest Dharma, and it starts with simple and sustainable lifestyles.

 

Each one of us must make an individual commitment to live sustainably and change one’s own lifestyle. Mahatma Gandhi said “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed,” and “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” These are two excellent dicta that can save the world.

 

*Nan. outside foundations croppedIMG_8511

Dr. Nanditha Krishna, outside the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation and CPREEC (the C.P.R. Centre for Envronmental Education).

 

Finally, I would like to end with a Vedic prayer for peace which is always recited before and after every ritual and event:

 

“O Supreme Lord, May there be peace in the sky and in space. May there be peace on land and in the waters. May herbs and vegetation bring us peace. May all personifications of God bring us peace. May the Lord bring us peace. May there be peace throughout the world. May peace be peaceful. May the Lord give me such peace also. Om shanti shanti shanti.”

 

Top photo: French President Francois Hollande, Dr. Nanditha Krishna, at the Summit of Conscience, Paris, July 21, 2015.

 

Second photo: Mr. Selvapandian, CPREEC officer, Dr. Nanditha Krishna, Director of the C.P.R. Centre for Environmental Education, at one of the 52 sacred groves, Nenmeli, restored by CPREEC.

 

Third photo:  Dr. Nanditha Krishna, outside the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation and CPREEC.

Nicholas Hulot

Nicholas Hulot

 

By Dr. Nanditha Krishna

 

Mankind’s relationship with nature was the focus of the Climate Summit of Conscience. With the UN COP (Conference of Parties) climate conference just months away, faith leaders, Nobel laureates, economists and artists from around the world gathered in the French capital to show that protecting the planet is more than a matter of science.

 

The Summit of Conscience was championed by the French TV personality and environmentalist, Nicolas Hulot, appointed President Hollande’s Special Envoy for Climate Change.

 

During the Summit, the Call to Conscience for the Climate was signed by over 40 religious, cultural, environmental and political leaders present in the event and will be presented to each Head of Delegation at the COP 21 in Paris this December.

 

In a move that many, including key government figures, said was “remarkable”, “unique”, “historic” the French government agreed to send through its diplomatic channel a letter from leading religious and cultural world figures to the heads of the 195 delegations coming to the climate change COP.
The letter asks them to ask themselves a single and personal question: “Why Do I Care?”
“Why are we asking you to do this?” it asks. “Because we hope that in answering this question, you will come to the COP primarily as a conscious human being not just a representative of a Government or agency. In the end the most important element of this is that we hear from you as a person, a member of the human family who has for a time a uniquely significant role to play in protecting the world.”

 

The letter was announced at a groundbreaking “Summit of Conscience” in Paris, July 21, hosted by the Elysee Palace, along with leading French publisher Bayard Press and the UK-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC).

 

President Hollande of France

President Hollande of France

 
“The Summit of Conscience departs from the point that the climate crisis … cannot be reduced to scientific, technological, economic and political dimensions, however important those are,” said French President Francois Hollande. “It is in fact a crisis of meaning.”

 

“The root cause of environmental degradation and climate change is a way of life, a mode of production, a mode of consumption that is not compatible with human development,” he added.

 

“In the past we have talked about “stewardship” but now we must talk about care,” said Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who presented Pope Francis’ Laudato Si Environment Encyclical to the world in June. “When we care it is with passion and commitment and attachment. Commitment to embrace with passion not just with thoughts and ideas but with the heart….What kind of world do we want to bequeath? An environment will not be able to sustain life after us unless we embrace commitment – we received a garden as our home and we may not turn it into wilderness. The garden we received must be passed on and bequeathed,” Cardinal Turkson said.

 

The Bois de Boulogne, just outside Paris.

The Bois de Boulogne, just outside Paris.

“France is one of the most secular governments in the world and for the president and government of France to propose this level of cooperation with the major faiths of the world is highly unusual.” said ARC’s Martin Palmer.
 

“The issue of climate change and protecting our planet has largely been taken away from people by governments, by scientists and international agencies making most people feel powerless or even hopeless in the face of all the data,” said Palmer. “We need that but we also need to feel that we each can make a difference.”

 

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed that “The earth is not ours; it is a treasure we hold in trust for our children. We must be worthy of that trust.”

 

France’s Minister of Ecology, Segolene Royal, and many other speakers, highlighted the need to progressively decrease use and dependence on fossil fuels, especially coal, and shift to renewable energy.

 

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, through a message delivered by Janos Pasztor, Assistant-Secretary-General on Climate Change, said that “Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. It affects us all, but it does not affect us all equally. We have a profound responsibility to protect and assist the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people and to pass on to future generations a planet that is thriving and healthy.”

 

Quotes from the Summit of Conscience

Quotes from the Summit of Conscience

 

Why Do I Care is now an international movement.

 

This is not just a movement for politicians or delegates or people who are already leaders. When Bayard, one of France’s largest publishing companies, especially for young peoples’ magazines, agreed to sponsor the meeting and carry out much of the on the ground organization, their editorial staff said they thought this was a question their young readers would love to answer.
They created the website http://www.whydoIcare.org   in which people of all countries are invited to tell their story in less than 200 words or a one minute video and this testimony will be added to the words of thousands of others, like a river of personal commitments. Bayard are also devoting many of the autumn editions of their magazines to this theme.

 

 

Meanwhile other organisations such as MOA Japan which hosts an international children’s art festival with more than 400,000 entries every year made the question “Why Do I Care” a key theme to this year’s competition.
 

 

And so almost by accident a movement was born, because in asking the question “Why Do I Care” everyone can take part.

 

Top photo: Author: Olivier « toutoune25 » Tétard / Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.” / Nicholas Hulot

 

Second photo: attribute http://www.kremlin.ru. Author: Presidential Press and Information Office / Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Attribution: Kremlin.ru” / President Hollande of France

 

Third photo: Wikimedia Commons-emblem-copyright.svg / “This photograph comes from Free On Line Photos (source). The copyright holder of this work allows anyone to use it for any purpose including unrestricted redistribution, commercial use, and modification.” / Lower Lake in the Bois de Boulogne on the western side of Paris.

 

Fourth photo: Quotes from the Sommet des consciences.

Life Interrupted

Suzanne Cordrey

Suzanne Cordrey

 

Reflections on relating to the major flood the past spring in Wimberley, Texas – Editor

 

By Suzanne Cordrey

 

I spun around and blinked the rain out of my eyes. It was pitch black and 1:30 in the morning. The rain was warm and soaked my jacket but my mind was far away from my physical discomfort. The roar of the Blanco River was deafening and it felt so near to my house but I couldn’t see it. Neighbors were heading out in their cars, passing me by, leaving me there alone in the lane. I knew something dreadful was happening.

 

It rained for over two weeks here in the hill country of Texas, off and on, with massive, drenching bouts of rain. The rivers were all running full. But on Saturday, May 30, it poured all day. I woke up feeling so sad, and I paced around the house looking at things, wondering what would break my heart to live without. Funny how small things grow into desperately large emotional attachments at times like this. I pulled out a duffel and stuffed my favorite clothes and jewelry inside, half absentmindedly, but spurred on by a nagging voice in the back of my head. Then came out the cat carriers and my bag with passport and money, etc. Each trek out to the car left me soaked. And each time, I looked up and down the street to see what my neighbors were doing. No signs of movement. OK. Hunker down. But that river got louder and louder. Like a freight train roaring past. It is about 100 yards from my house, between trees and another home. I did get so restless that around midnight I walked around the corner with my flashlight. The water was up to the street which meant that the houses against the river were under water. omg. That’s when cars started up and drove off. Now many of these people have lived here for years, it is an old neighborhood and they were pretty river savvy. But what happened next was totally unexpected.

 

Blue, Suzanne's nine year old cat, originally a rescue from the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon conflict.

Blue, Suzanne’s nine year old cat, originally a rescue from the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon conflict.

 

Upriver about 30 miles is the town of Blanco. They received eleven inches of rain in one hour and with the already saturated ground, the water slid rapidly into the river channel and charged full speed ahead toward Wimberley. But we didn’t know that. No one did in the moment. Which is what makes a FLASH FLOOD so terrifying. In an instant, a wall of water hit the banks of the winding river with such force that houses high on the cliffs were lifted right up. The ancient cypress trees uprooted like twigs and slammed into bridges and other debris. Cars and trucks floated away. People found themselves unable to get to their cars and out to the roads. Low water crossings filled and blocked passage out of the hill country. All in the pouring rain on a pitch black night. I did manage to get the cats and rabbits into the car and drive around downed trees onto a higher street. Electricity was out all over Wimberley and the police were directing us to the community center which was dark as well. There were people sitting in their cars there in the dark. But at the door was Mayor Thurber, and his voice in the dark advised me to go to the high school.

 

With over 100 cars in the parking lot, there were lights, a dry spot on the basketball court floor, and the Red Cross was handing out sleeping pads, blankets, dry socks (oh, dry socks! it was impossible to describe how nice they felt on my feet). I left the animals in the car and joined the masses and their dogs (so good to see they were included) and we sat our sleep deprived bodies down and waited for daylight. I checked on the animals when the rain took a rare break. They were quiet, but working up a permanent stink eye for me when I opened the car door. In the morning, I joined a couple of my neighbors as we discovered each other, and we came back to the neighborhood only to find the police had blocked off the road leading to our houses. Major flooding down past us, starting at our neighborhood. We were allowed in, and the three of us were overjoyed to find our houses just out of range of the tsunami-like wall of water that hit the rest of the street. All the homes directly on the river were ruined and news coverage shows that was the tip of the iceberg. But standing in my little cabin, looking around at everything just like I left it, I stopped and felt a palpable surge of gratitude rush through me. I knew that I was feeling Grace. I had been allowed to experience the trauma without the devastation. And in that moment, I realized I was experiencing Grace.

 

The sadness of the whole town is unbearable. Family members missing and dead, pets missing and dead. Hundred year old trees and their inhabitants gone. It is spring and numerous birds and their young were drowned. Does who had recently given birth were abandoning their fawns.

 

The numbness of mind and heart are palpable.

 

"The National Guard came to our street and unloaded men with long poles.  They were searching the riverbanks for the bodies of the missing."

“The National Guard came to our street and unloaded men with long poles. They were searching the riverbanks for the bodies of the missing.”

 

In my world, without electricity, phone and internet, the perspective was so personal, so right here. Watching it now as the rest of the country got to see it is shockingly personal. I have often sat in my recliner and watched tragedies unfold with the voice of the commentator filling my mind with the facts and events as they progress. But inside of a tragedy, there is no such Big Picture. There is only the moment filled with fear and unknowns. Clarity of mind was not without difficulty. So the witness aspect of me had everything in control, car packed, essentials, knew how to find shelter. But the emotional part of me was terrified. I’d never lived through a natural disaster like this before.

 

Lying on the wooden floor of the basket ball court at the high school, I found it impossible to sleep. I listened to the voices of the people who came in, numb with shock, with tales much worse than mine. Cars floating away, family members missing, swimming through the foul, violent water full of toxic debris to get to higher ground. Some were visitors whose vacations were abruptly ended in tragedy. Others have lived with the moody river currents and had never seen anything like this before. Not re-assuring. I was cold and wet and the night was agonizingly long.

 

"A fawn I rescued the day after the flood when the new moms panicked and abandoned their newborns. Texas A&M brought a huge mobile clinic to us and they gave her fluids and called a rehabilitator."

“A fawn I rescued the day after the flood when the new moms panicked and abandoned their newborns. Texas A&M brought a huge mobile clinic to us and they gave her fluids and called a rehabilitator.”

 

The week after the flood has been almost as violently chaotic as the flood itself. Bulldozers and bobcats drone on all day long clearing the larger pieces of homes, cars, 200 year old cypress trees, roots and all, and mud. Awful, stinky, toxic mud that piled up into the homes that were left standing. Yet, my little corner of the neighborhood dodged a bullet, and we are unscathed by the hand of darkness that ruined the houses beyond us. There has been plenty to do and for me it looked like collecting a newborn fawn whose mother abandoned her amidst the chaos. Texas A&M had an emergency vet clinic at the high school. Very helpful. They were able to rehydrate her and send her off to a wildlife rehabber to join countless other orphans. Wildlife had joined in our life interrupted. Even now I hear a heron calling to a mate whose nest was most likely in a tall cypress that was destroyed. A kitten appeared on the road, barely able to avoid the cars, starving and displaced. She has found a good home and a loving person to care for her.

 

Since I see each experience as an opportunity to awaken, I am spending my quiet time reflecting on what this experience means to me personally. Why was I here at this time and place? How was it my good fortune to have been spared the brutal impact of the river’s violence. How do I respond to the layers of fears and emotions that I find flowing through my body flooding into my consciousness. The anxiety that kept me vigilant that night has stayed inside me. It fights to stay alive as the exhaustion sets in. I work to release the anxiety, all the while thinking about how the disaster will change the lives of so many people here and wondering just how it will change mine.

 

July 21. It has been seven weeks after the now named Memorial Day flood. My cats have resumed their routines as have many townspeople. After all, how else can one heal from the traumas of life. Yet, early this morning I felt the low rumble of two massively huge trucks work their way around our narrow lane to the mountains of crumpled cement and rebar that remain after the foundations of the ruined houses were jack-hammered loose from their peaceful perches above the riverbanks. The trucks have their own cranes and can carry the weight of the heavy debris. I wonder how much of it all can be reused as fill or whatever. How careful we are to recycle and in one horrendous moment, everything becomes trash. Like the tsunami in Japan washing up on the Pacific coast of the US months later. How do I hold the futility of it all in balance with throwing the next plastic bottle into the recycle bin. I remember Ram Dass giving a lecture many years ago on “how to keep your heart open in hell.” I thought that I understood that concept but here it was again. I feel the shock wearing off and yet I have a deep vulnerability that lives in my cells and calls out for understanding and a rebirth of my perspective of being in the world. My life has been about awakening to new perspectives as change spins me like the planet spiraling through the cosmos. Always perceiving moments with new awareness, revisiting memories and feelings to alter them into the Present. The flood has whisked me into it’s powerful jet of water and sent me out of control down the stream into uncharted channels of my consciousness.

 

What an amazing process.

Originally posted on Tales from the Conspiratum:

Archeologists find evidence of ancient cities in Amazon rainforest — Secret History — Sott.net.

With permission of

http://www.sott.net

Thu, 23 Jul 2015

The first Europeans to penetrate the Amazon rainforests reported cities, roads and fertile fields along the banks of its major rivers. “There was one town that stretched for 15 miles without any space from house to house, which was a marvellous thing to behold,” wrote Gaspar de Carvajal, chronicler of explorer and conquistador Francisco de Orellana in 1542. “The land is as fertile and as normal in appearance as our Spain.” Such tales were long dismissed as fantasies, not least because teeming cities were never seen or talked about again. But it now seems the chroniclers were right all along. It is our modern vision of a pristine rainforest wilderness that…

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Originally posted on Raxa Collective:

In Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, this Ramayana ballet, performed in the Javanese style—a finessed form, associated with slow and deliberate movements—has been running continuously since 1961. PHOTO: Griyayunika In Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, this Ramayana ballet, performed in the Javanese style—a finessed form, associated with slow and deliberate movements—has been running continuously since 1961. PHOTO: Griyayunika

Java is one of the main islands in the archipelago nation of Indonesia, home to the country’s capital, Jakarta, and almost 60% of its population. The powerful Hindu kingdom of Majapahit flourished here from about the 13th to the 15th centuries, leaving its impact on culture, language and landscape. Temples in honour of Vishnu and Shiva are scattered through the islands, words from Sanskrit make appearances in the language, and names from the Mahabharata and Ramayana dot establishments and shops across cities. Still, in modern-day Indonesia, Hindus account for less than 2% of the population.

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Originally posted on Friendly Fairy Tales:

View of White Mountains

Forest spirits linger high and
wonder at the changing sky.
Sky blue interlaces with clouds
above summer mountains blue.
Below, dark gorges are punctuated
by sharp granite shoulders, themselves
overlaid by softening moss quilts.

Lost River Gorge

The still quiet is
broken by the first raindrop,
a mouse scurries for cover,
and the Lost River roars welcome.

Lost River

I lose my worries at the feet of granite giants,
feel them washed free by rain hunting
the Lost River, hidden deep underground.
Its voice emerges from caves,
behind glacial boulders and over waterfalls.
Even the forest spirits are silenced.

Paradise Falls, Lost River

That powerful roar
intrigues and captivates.
In the waterfall is the full fury.
What were my worries?
They pale beside river spirits,
kinfolk to the forest spirits.
The Lost River surges,
its voice amplified by
last night’s thundershowers
coupled with today’s sprinkles.
My spirit expands.

Copyright 2015 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: These photographs were taken today at the Lost River Gorge. Over 1300 steps led…

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Originally posted on Bharata Bharati:

Dr Koenraad Elst“The Saraswati is mentioned in the Rg-Veda as a mighty sea-going river, but subsequently it shrank so that in the Mahabharata it appears as an ordinary river that runs dead in the desert. Even then it retained some of its Vedic aura, for Krishna’s brother Balarama went on pilgrimage to sites along the river including its locus of disappearance. The number and size of the city ruins along its riverbed warrant the renaming of “Indus civilization” as “Indus-Sarasvati civilization”. Danino surveys all the geological, archaeological and philological data pertaining to this river’s history in great detail.”- Dr Koenraad Elst

Prof Michel DaninoMichel Danino is a scholar of Jewish-Moroccan origin born in 1956 in Honfleur, France, and settled in Tamil Nadu since 1977. He is a practising environmentalist involved in saving forests, and editor and translator of several books by or concerning Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. In booklets published over the last…

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Originally posted on Dear Kitty. Some blog:

This video from Britain says about itself:

‘Oldest’ Koran found in Birmingham – BBC News

22 July 2015

What may be the world’s oldest fragments of the Koran have been found by the University of Birmingham. Radiocarbon dating found the manuscript to be at least 1,370 years old, making it among the earliest in existence. The pages of the Muslim holy text had remained unrecognised in the university library for almost a century.

From the BBC today:

‘Oldest’ Koran fragments found in Birmingham University

By Sean Coughlan, Education correspondent

What may be the world’s oldest fragments of the Koran have been found by the University of Birmingham.

Radiocarbon dating found the manuscript to be at least 1,370 years old, making it among the earliest in existence.

The pages of the Muslim holy text had remained unrecognised in the university library for almost a century.

The British Library’s expert on such…

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Rhodie Abloom

Originally posted on Friendly Fairy Tales:

White Rhododendron in bloom

proud full bloom
sprinkled with sage fairy dust
beckoning bees

Copyright 2015 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: Hiking in New Hampshire today. Hot, sweltering with thunder shows hovering. I’ll hope for some fairy dust and a well-placed swimming hole. :-) Have a great week! Warmly, Brenda

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Butterfly Twilight

Originally posted on Friendly Fairy Tales:

Butterfly Used by permission of Jessica Hagan

Vanessa dances
At dusk in the begonias
Scent of lavender

Note: Thanks to Jessica Hagan for letting my use her beautiful photograph of the American Lady Butterfly, Vanessa Virginiensis!

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