Inner Dimensions of Climate Change - Asia and the Pacific

March 10, 2017

The Inner Dimensions of Climate Change Comes to Asia and the Pacific

This February, GPIW, in partnership with Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association and the Earth Charter International, organized the fourth Inner Dimensions of Climate Change gathering, this time for young ecologists from throughout Asia.  The goal of this series is to explore the deeper spiritual causes for humanity’s disconnection from the natural world, which is creating such disruption among the life systems on the planet; and to explore the spiritual shifts that can help us know ourselves to be part of, connected to, and one with the whole of Earth’s life community. This series has been valuable in helping us identify powerful young leaders who are emerging in the fields of ecology, regenerative farming, water protection, wildlife protection, alternative energies and related fields.

The gathering opened at the UNESCAP headquarters in Bangkok and then moved to the Sathira Dhammasathan Retreat Center where we were hosted by Venerable Mae Chee Sansanee Sthirasuta, a GPIW Co-Chair and longtime friend. One of the aspects of this gathering that impressed us was how easy it was for these Asian ecologists to grasp the spiritual nature of the climate/ecological crisis and to see the role of spiritual practice in creating the necessary shifts in mindset. Most participants saw the importance of tapping inner spiritual resources in order to address outer conditions. An especially rich part of this gathering was the deep exchange that took place between the young people and the spiritual mentors. One of the themes that emerged is alternative models of education. Some of the young people were educators and engaged in alternative schools where ecology is a central part of the learning. Others were in early phases of starting schools to experiment with new forms of education in their communities, education of the whole person not just the logical mind. Also of interest to the group were indigenous systems for community development and learning to draw upon the indigenous wisdom of the region to develop a way of living in harmony with and respectful of Earth’s living systems. There was also an interest in new economic models as there was concern that Asia is following the western consumer economic/social model. The question arose as to how Asia can draw more upon its traditional knowledge to shape an alternative path for its region. Please see below the recently completed short piece by young filmmaker Gauri Grazia de Santis on the gathering in Bangkok.