31 Oct 2011

Update & WIN's 4 Core Strands coming up...

The last few months for WIN has been a time of reflection, processing, and considering next steps - within the changing landscape of activism, electronic media, and our local and global communities. The question has also been asked what extent is WIN still needed. Confusion has been present, and we have allowed it to be - allowing we pray for an authentic clarity to emerge - and which thanks to a Higher reality, seems to now be happening.

Also during this time, there have been various conversations taking place between WIN Reps and colleagues in other networks. The emerging Occupy movement has also had an invigorating effect, re-affirming to us the universal value of a process-oriented approach, something we have worked with and been delighted in staying with at a practical hands-on level (yet within a contemplative framework), for considerable time. It is clear that there is an emerging activism, which an organisation such as WIN - that has a policy of not accepting donations from corporations or government, and that knits issues together (we have often been hard to classify by those who like the word 'environmental'!), values 'process' and a bottom up democracy - shares something fundamental with. Recently, we announced our statement of
official support for this emerging movement.

We've also been contemplating how to articulate a clearer framework for what WIN represents. Internally, we've cultivated a clear ethos - (important in an age in which principles can become diluted over time). Yet, there was a sense that more still needed to be done, including externally.

On the one hand it is possible to be too open yet lacking in focus; and on the other hand, it is possible to be too focussed to the point of being reductionist. We are beginning to find what seems like a healthy balance between focus and openness - and this has been supported by the moving '
away from' / moving 'towards' strands of Fast for the Planet, which we initiated a few years ago. We are adapting it to a form more specific for WIN's direction in today's world, also with an additional explicit statement pointing to an underpinning Islamic reference point. We'll be sharing the provisional version of this framework soon (and comments will be welcome), but to get a flavour, (and this is already on our main website) it outlines very simply: Earth & Community, Deep Democracy, Whole Economics, and Climate Justice.

Coupled with the above, in the near future, we intend to also put out a more formal process for volunteering within WIN - a clear notice, and an application form for those interested. We hope this will help draw more coherent and consistent energy to WIN's developing activities (although it will need time-input to coordinate).

30 Oct 2011

WIN Announces Support to 'Occupy' Movement

As a group grounded in the unifying principles of Islam, Wisdom In Nature supports the intention underpinning Occupy London, Brighton and other Occupy spaces around the world – economic justice, participative democracy, and the means being as important as the end - principles that we hold dear. We stand alongside sincere people of all faiths and those of no faith who share these universal values.

The dominant economic system based on fictitious money and compound interest is a system that is broken and does not serve us or our planet. Rather than a system that concentrates power among the few, we need one that is fair.

We value the energy of people coming together to listen to each other as a means of drawing out consensus and attempting to actualise a more equal and just world for all - a world in which the welfare of our diverse communities and the planet supersedes self-interest and materialism.

Wisdom In Nature:

Facebook: Click here

17 Oct 2011

WIN - Cultivating Contemplative Activism within Islam

Wisdom in Nature (WIN) is a contemplative activism group grounded in Islamic principles. What does contemplative mean in the context of an activist group? Contemplative activism, as we practice it, means that as far as is possible we give space for reflection before we act – for example, we start our meetings with a short period of silence. This practice helps draw out inner wisdom that influences the extent to which we can wisely and sustainably engage in activism ‘out there’. A contemplative approach also draws on and cultivates wholeness - the idea that various domains are interconnected - social issues, the economy, and the environment; the inner and the outer; and the means and the ends. With regard to the last point, we emphasize that the means is just as important as the end and actually serves as a goal in itself.

The implications of a process orientated approach can also be seen in terms of funding. From party politics to published scientific literature, sources of funding are recognized as having an influence over values and outcomes. While WIN depends on donations, we focus on individuals and have managed to work without financial support from corporations or government. Such an approach also facilitates the cultivation of cooperative relationships with other groups and the use of existing assets and resources. Our emphasis on process is also reflected in the means through which we make decisions. We have found that creating the space and investing time into decision-making that draws out consensus enables greater ownership over decisions by those involved and contributes to a deeper democratic process. Such an approach can also be seen in movements developing across the world – democracy movements in North Africa, the real democracy movement in Spain, Occupy Wall Street (and other occupy movements) in the US, and Climate Camp here in Britain.

The aspects of contemplative activism that I have mentioned above are not necessarily confined to faith-based activism (and not all faith-based groups apply contemplative approaches); secular groups also use such approaches. But contemplative activism does have a tradition and basis in Islam that has been undervalued, and that we are trying to revive. We articulate our approach through a framework consisting of four strands, each of which involves a turning away from destructive patterns and a turning toward ways that nurture our world and its diverse communities. These are: earth and community; deep democracy; whole economics; and climate justice – all of which are underpinned by a contemplative dimension within the framework of Islam. Our activities include educational workshops and training, participation in demonstrations, and practicals on the land.

©Shumaisa Khan

16 Oct 2011

How We Can Reclaim Our Food System (Oct 20th, Brighton)

Organised by World Family

Wisdom In Nature
will be having a stall and a shout at this event on Thursday!

Date: Thurs 20th Oct 2011
Time: 6pm (for 6.30pm) til 11pm
Venue: Friends Meeting House, Ship Street, Brighton.

An evening of talks discussion and good food.

A panel of speakers from four continents:
Colin Tudge ( Campaign for Real Farming, UK),
Hellen Yego (NGOMA Campaign, Kenya),
Sarath Fernando (MONLAR, Sri Lanka)
Dr Roberto Caballero (ACTAF, Cuba)
Sue Dibb, chair of the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, will be sharing their experience and expertise in Brighton on October 20th.

The discussion will focus on Food Sovereignty - the right of peoples to democratically define their own food and agricultural systems without harming other people or the environment – what is already happening and what are the next steps we need to take to attain it. There will be time to discuss the issues with the speakers, enjoy good food and - to round off the evening - music and songs of Luke Concannon (Nizlopi).

Cost: £6/5 (not including food, though food available to purchase). Best for us if you can reserve a seat by contacting Jocelyn on 01273 702847 - but tickets will also be available on the door.

WIN Supporters at 'Occupy London'

Yesterday, WIN supporters organised non-violently with hundreds of others, at the London occupation against the unjust economic system. Looking for a way into the financial centre, the gathering of quite a diverse bunch of people eventually settled outside St Paul's cathedral. There was hope for a better world, music, & sit-down sessions to work out the nuts and bolts of the movement's next steps. There is no doubt that something significant is taking shape.

NOTE: The occupation will need support including some basic necessities as people camp and organise. 1 way to find out more:

And here's a blog post from a WIN supporter:

The vicar of St Paul’s came out to welcome occupation – he said they could stay, and asked the police to leave.
Well done to St Paul's for supporting peaceful occupation against economic injustice, and thus demonstrating Christianity's core values by example.

9 Oct 2011

'Identities in Transition' Seminar - Leicester

WIN Rep, Shumaisa Khan, is one of the speakers at this event on Friday...



**Registration essential**

Date: Friday 14th October
Time: 9.30 for 10.00am til 5pm
Venue: University of Leicester: Garendon Room on the Fourth floor of the Charles Wilson Building on the main University of Leicester campus. A campus map and travel directions can be found at

The event is free, and lunch is provided: but a place must be reserved in advance. More info including to register:

The seminar, part of the series “Sustainability Transitions: rethinking everyday practices, identities and livelihoods”, starts from the premise that many of the identities that individuals claim for themselves today in the Global North have been shaped by consumption practices fuelled by the high carbon economy. We also know that there are links between poverty, racism and gender inequalities and the people most likely to experience the most detrimental impacts of climate change and resource scarcity. This workshop explores the role of the high carbon economy in shaping these social identities and questions how they might be reconfigured through the process of transition to a sustainable, low carbon future. It focuses on three interlinked themes:
  • How contemporary identities have been shaped by the high carbon economy
  • How those identities might change and be reconfigured through the process of transition to a sustainable, low carbon future
  • What it means to identify with (movements for) sustainability transitions.
09.30 Registration and coffee
10.00 Identities in Transition: some observations and questions
Speakers: Gavin Brown and Jenny Pickerill
10.15 Introductions and goals What do you want out of today?

10.30 Managing trade-offs in „ecotopia‟: becoming green at the Centre for Alternative Technology.
Speaker: Jon Anderson
11.30 Panel discussion: Addressing diverse identities in climate change activism and advocacy
Speakers: Michelle Bastian; and Shumaisa Khan (Wisdom In Nature)
Questions and discussion

12.30 Lunch, An opportunity for informal discussion

13.30 Workshop: “Permaculture” and the escape into Whiteness: Sustainable Transition and Racialism
Speaker: Joseph De Lappe

14.30 The Footpaths project: facilitating low carbon lifestyles
Speakers: Jill Fisher and Emily Hodgkinson
Questions and discussion

15.30 Coffee

15.45 Transitioning to Lower-carbon Identities: Three Tales from the "Everyday"
Speaker: Robyn Dowling

16.45 Questions

17.00 Closing discussion