After pop-up worship at the United Nations climate change conference (COP21) here in Paris the other day, a Quaker environmental activist friend showed me some pictures on her smartphone from a visit to a organic and ecological food coop here in Paris. What she showed me fired my imagination and made me very happy: bars of chocolate that are brought to France by clipper ship from the Dominican Republic. The company that does this, Tres Hombres, does so because they have thought through the farm-to-table process and believed that they should extend the earth care that begins with organic farming to the transport of food. No fossil fuels are used to bring the agricultural products Tres Hombres ships.
Thinking it through, following through - these ways of being and doing characterize so many people who have awakened to the joy and responsibility of reversing the damage humans have done to the Earth. There are people in the food chain, like Tres Hombres, and like the Rev. Elizabeth DeRuff in the Diocese of California, who is reforming the way wheat is grown and produced, resulting in healthier bread. There are academics like Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, founder and head of the Earth Institute at Columbia who was central in creating the United Nations Global Sustainability Goals (SDGs). I think of activists who raise awareness by protest (you can watch the video of a group of Andean indigenous people in a funeral procession for a glacier during COP21 on another blog entry on this site or on YouTube). There are people practicing subtle activism for the planet by means of prayer and meditation, as we have been doing daily at COP21, joined by many of you. Business people are radically revising their business and investment practices to produce clean energy, and to reduce their own carbon footprints, and demonstrating that they are forging the way of growth and profit at the same time. And there are people who work on policy.
Sheila Andrus, Grace Ahearn and I went to one of the REDD+(Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, a United Nations initiative) sessions at COP21 yesterday. Governmental policy ministers from Uganda, Indonesia and Costa Rica spoke with clarity and great command of their subjects about their impressive efforts to put policies in place that preserve the forests in the countries they serve (Costa Rica is 51% forest), and also reverse the rapid deforestation of their countries.
It is going to take every one of us on the planet to save the planet. Every one of us have so many gifts of creativity, imagination and compassion. COP21 has shown me more about the enormous power of people on the planet to restore the planet to health.