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Jun 15, 2010

HRH Prince Charles on 9 June gave a speech on 'Islam & the Environment' at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, yet another dose of food for thought:

"In short, when we hear talk of an “environmental crisis” or even of a “financial crisis,” I would suggest that this is actually describing the outward consequences of a deep, inner crisis of the soul. It is a crisis in our relationship with – and our perception of – Nature, and it is born of Western culture being dominated for at least two hundred years by a mechanistic and reductionist approach to our scientific understanding of the world around us. So I would like you to consider very seriously today whether a big part of the solution to all of our worldwide “crises” does not lie simply in more and better technology, but in the recovery of the soul to the mainstream of our thinking. Our science and technology cannot do this. Only sacred traditions have the capacity to help this happen."

How many more doses until we collectively get the message?!

As the Merciful (al-Rahman) and the Creator (al-Khaliq), God has created every creature which has a relationship with God independent of us. This right (haq) that creatures possess has implications on our behaviour towards them. The Quran speaks of communities other than our own:

There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end. (Quran 6:38)

As humans, we're the only species that have a free will plus assignment (NOT honorary title) of being God's guardian (e.g. 6:165), so fair that we get guidance (part manual?) to help us tackle the challenges in this life.
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Posted: Jun 15, 2010 2:08pm
Nov 25, 2009

Just back from a trip to Tunisia to support a Sphere Arabic Training of Trainers (ToT), hosted by IFRC N-Africa. One of the nice things I saw is during a 'social' day is water harvesting methods in mosques (or zaouias/ zawiyas, Sufi study places) in Kairouan about 1,000 years old... if we want to live sustainably, so many options are already out there, we just need to remember them and reuse them...because as the Grand Mufti of Egypt said in July 2009: "The development and the preservation of environment as well as human rights are one package. They also constitute a whole integrated vision."

And in othe
r good news: the Faith & Climate Change project I helped initiate some years ago now and am fortunately still greatly involved with today got announced as winner of The Guardian Green Hero Awards for Best Urban Project at the Green Communities Conference. [added link on 2 Dec '09]

Happy to see the acknowledgement and hopely give our work more exposure and thus hopefully inspire others to do similar things in their localities.

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Posted: Nov 25, 2009 2:10pm
Nov 2, 2009
The argument that mining resources will help alleviate poverty gets busted (again...): South Sudan got $7 billion for pumping oil, but the local, ordinary people have yet to see any of this, according to an article in the BBC. We CAN alleviate poverty, but do we want it (share the resources a bit more equitably)?

According to article in The Independent, the Peruvian empire of the Nasca went down due to a self-inflicted wound of cutting down the huarango tree, exposing the land to floods and drought and subsequent soil erosion, turning the lush agricultural land into desert. We CAN save ourselves (by stopping the cutting of trees for monocultures), but do we want it?

According to an article in The Times, research by TerraChoice, a US marketing company, the amount of goods sold as 'green' in the UK, US, Canada and Australia has risen by an average of 79 per cent since 2007. It also found that 98 per cent of products being advertised as green had some environmental failings. Do we realise this? Do we care? We CAN do it (change this fakery and push for true sustainability), but do we want it?

In more positive news:

Solar power from Sahara is a step closer: the German-led Desertec initiative believes it can deliver power to Europe as early as 2015, according to an article in The Guardian (but I've read about it for quite a while is there, what's stopping it is will – those who would lose out from deserting nuclear, oil and gas.

And in more good news: The Maldives announce windfarm plan to provide 40% of island's electricityAs Mark Lynas sums it up in The Guardian: "If a middle-income country can cut its emissions by a quarter through standard commercial partnerships, the rich world has little excuse for saying that carbon reductions are too expensive."

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Posted: Nov 2, 2009 12:48pm


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Rianne ten Veen
, 3
Solihull, United Kingdom
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