Kenya ( Africa ): The UN compound was full to the brim and buzzing with activities as French President Macron joined Kenyan President Uhuru at the high-level opening of the UNEA (United Nations Environment Assembly) and the One Planet Summit.
Macron stated that the French government will invest about 283 billion shillings into financing and supporting start-ups, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises over the next four years, under the Choose Africa initiative.
The Global Environment Outlook 6, which is a UNEP flagship report in the state of the global environment, was launched.
BKs were given a time slot in the Green Tent. It has been a meeting place for many major groups. Around 30 people came to participate in the panel debate called “A new mindset for sustainable living and innovation”.
Gopal Patel from the Bhumi Project facilitated the session. He welcomed all panelists by saying you cannot separate faith from action, and that contemplation is common to all religions. BK Pratibha was the first speaker, emphasizing the values of balance, integrity and respect. Rabbi Yonatan Neril said he is mourning for the lack of action for the climate. Why are we still serving meat at the conferences and still drinking from disposable cups? He called for a moderation in lifestyle and that we should therefore chew our food more and slow down. Martin Kopp from Living the Faith Initiative said we should ground our ecological awareness in spirituality. BK Sonja shared her points on how to keep hope when the trend and statistics are going the wrong way, how to keep strong and motivated.
Questions asked included: How to mainstream this message and How the faith-based community can have political influence. Martin answered that mainstreaming will happen at home in your own religion first. Political influence will equally start at home in your own country.
Gopal Patel, Bhumi Project; Sonja Ohlsson, Brahma Kumaris Eco Initiative; Dr. Martin Kopp, Director, Living the Change; Pratibha Patel, Assistant Regional Director, BK Africa; and Rabbi Yonatan Neril, Director, the Interfaith Centre for Sustainable Development, were present.
Planning for UNEA5
Director of Faith for Earth Initiative Dr. Iyad Abumoghli had invited the BKs and the Catholic Youth for a meeting to discuss how to take the next steps in planning UNEA5.
The follow-up program at the BK centre in Nairobi was called “10 Ways to Change the World.” BK Sonja and the group of about 30 people had an interesting and powerful dialogue on what each one of us can do for ourselves, for others and for the environment.