|Posted by Reacción Climática on 1 Ee junio Ee 2016 a las 16:45|
By Renee Hills, President, Brisbane Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Australia
Carmen at the UN Environment Assembly, 23-27 May, 2016 Nairobi, Kenya
Carmen Capriles, key speaker on Women and Climate Change at the IWC Bolivian Gathering in November last year is preparing for an international UU stage. She is presenting a workshop at the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists’ (ICUU) conference titled Winds of Change: Global Connection and Climate Change in the Netherlands, July 17 – 22, 2016.
Carmen is well equipped as an emissary from the IWC Gathering. This dynamic Bolivian woman studied Water and Soil Management at the Egyptian International Centre for Agriculture. She uses her talents and strength as a dedicated community activist with climate change awareness groups such as Reaccion Climatica, 350.org America Latina and Global Power Shift. In addition she attended the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November, advocating for recognition of the role and rights of women affected by climate change.
She said the IWC Gathering was very significant for the Bolivian women who participated with others from all over the world. ‘It was a first step towards thinking in another kind of way; towards beginning initiatives that could come true, towards experiencing climate change as a personal issue,’ she said.
Speaking about the ICUU conference, Carmen said ‘I hope I can contribute my little grain of sand, about spirituality related to climate change. We need to reconcile with the Earth; to remember that we don’t own it; that we need to change our way of life, so we are not so much into disposal, and not living such a synthetic way of life.’
She alluded to the deep-seated inequities underpinning many of the climate change issues. ‘We have inequality in relationships; between men and women; between different cultures; between races, all based on oppression. This has to change,’ she said.
Noting the Bolivian experience, where rural men are leaving farms affected by climate change, Carmen said ‘There is a feminization of poverty because the women usually don’t migrate with the men to the cities to find work. If the women leave the land, the family will lose the land. The men who migrate often start new families. The women are left in a new level of poverty.’
Carmen’s main message from the IWC Gathering is that climate change is a very personal issue; not related only to science and politics, but something that we all contribute to and which affects us all every day. ‘There is another sphere – the moral and ethical and spiritual. This means transition to a new system, a new life, a new way of connecting ourselves and reconnecting with the planet. Divinity is Nature itself in many religions. Solutions lie in learning to live a little more humbly, connected with our environment.’
Her message will align with that of ICUU Conference keynote speaker, Klaas van Egmond, Professor of Sustainability and Environment at Utrecht University, Netherlands. He argues that technology has failed to solve the world’s sustainability crises. What is needed instead is a shift in world views away from current extremes e.g. materialism vs. idealism, individualism vs. collectivism, uniformity vs. diversity, globalism vs. regionalism. Professor Egmond sees excesses in the financial markets, political and other global systems as signs that the pendulum has swung too far towards one or other of these extremes.
Instead he calls for a balanced realignment away from extremes to put human dignity at the centre of the paradigm. ‘We are more alike than we are different,’ he says of research conducted into human values in the Netherlands.
Perhaps as Carmen hopefully interprets from her Paris experience, the world is at a turning point towards recognition of the need for such balance. She said the UN Conference outcome was a remarkable global acknowledgement that things must change (and this from 195 vastly different countries, some actually at war with each other). She noted too that recently religious leaders have begun to speak out about climate change: Pope Francis in his Encyclical, an Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change, and a Buddhist Climate Change Statement.
‘Balance is needed on the planet,’ she said. ‘Countries can’t always agree on politics and economics and science. But climate change is not only about these things. There is another path – it would be great if we could come out of the ICUU meeting with a statement. That would be very interesting!’