29 Jul 2010

Year of No Flying

A few days ago, amidst another weekend dash between Brighton and London, I sat down to have coffee with a couple who were trying to travel the world without flying. Their names are Anirvan and Barnali, and they are an Indian  couple who live in San Francisco.

At the time of our encounter near Gloucester Road tube station in London, they had already travelled through Bangladesh, India, Mongolia, China, Russia, Turkey, Italy, and France, to name a few countries. After London, they would head to Liverpool, and then by sea back to the States.

On their travels they had arranged meetings with numerous activists. They had contacted me a few weeks before their arrival in the UK, and during our meeting, I had a chance to share some of my personal reflections on, the beginnings of WIN; social dynamics within mosques and Muslim communities (as far as my experience allowed); power and hierarchy and my general sense that more equalising of power was central to ecological activism and creating the world we want to live in; and a Climate Camp workshop we led last year on 'Muslims and the Climate Movement', for example. 

I was very keen to also hear about their experiences, an Indian couple living in the States passionate about ecology - and travelling the world, yet trying not to fly whilst doing so. What had they learnt on the way? How did they relate to mainstream western environmentalists? What were the dynamics within a Hindu temple? How was their lifestyle perceived within Asian and Hindu communities?.. Time was short, and although we only touched the surface, I really enjoyed our conversations and was touched by their honesty and sincerity.

After the meeting, we continued chatting on the train having realised that we were all heading south. We followed up with more.. the ethical potential of micro-credits as they become popular; Islamic economics; and what it's like travelling ten days in a cargo ship.

I wish them both well, what they are doing is really inspiring, and there is more about it here:  

27 Jul 2010

Event: Sat 31st July- Sun 1st Aug: Ecology retreat: WIN at LIFE retreat for women (Shoreham)

I am excited to be taking part in a mini-retreat this weekend, organised by LIFE, Local Initiative for Faith and the Environment.

The 24-hour retreat will be at The Quadrangle, a converted barn in Kent.  It will include walks in the local area, exploring ecology, and sharing life stories.  We will also be sharing a dormitory, cooking together, and bringing food to share for a picnic on the first day.  I'm especially excited at the opportunity for some (indoor) camping inside the barn!

I will be facilitating a workshop in which we will be reflecting on verses from the Qur'an, and selcted verses of ecopoetry.

It is still possible to sign up for the day, though firm confirmation is needed as soon as possible.

Further details from LIFE:

If you are interested in coming, the cost will be on a donations basis, depending on how much you can afford.
£10 for unemployed / £20  for low income / £30 for fully employed

Contact: Rebecca Brewin – rebecca@handtoearth .net/ 07896 936 625
or Sadaat Yusuf - saadat_yusuf@ uk / 07939 325 032

LIFE has been created as a bridge between faith-based networks and environmental action in the Borough of Lambeth.

The hope is that this bridge serves to bring people together around two of the most vital pillars of peace-building in society today: climate change and inter-faith dialogue.