- This morning, I attended an interfaith breakfast, "Caring for Creation: How to Build a Sustainable Future," organized by GWIPL. Really inspirational (there were 7 muslims in a room of about 40! Muslims do care about the environment :). The keynote speaker - Rev. James Jones, the Bishop of Liverpool - has been a leader in the UK in climate activism. Part of his concluding remarks emphasized a something I've learned from my teachers and found to be so true in my life, that is the reformative nature of khidma (serving others). "Create change by linking with other faith communities to act for the environment [and the common good] and not just for the self."
- (Related to an earlier concern of mine) Rev. James mentioned that he purchases carbon offsets for his air travel from the Rainforest Concern - an organization dedicated to preserving rainforest areas and the livelihood of the people that live in them.
- The second speaker, Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, emphasized the importance of the shabbat, where you take 1/7th of your life of your life to rest, reflect, and renew. The shabbat is a time to refrain from work, economic activity, take yourself out of the rat race. And invest instead in spiritual wealth. "Realize that we live in a world of spiritual abundance but material scarcity." Although the concept is somewhat different from Muslims, I loved his approach to this Judeo-Christian concept. The shabbat is something to keep ourselves in check, so we only we use what is necessary.
- The third speaker, Imam Yahya Hendi, chaplain at Georgetown University, made an interesting calculation of how much water is saved by Muslims fasting during Ramadan, something like 1 billion gallons a day. Wow. I mean, I never really thought about fasting like that...but it does show you the impact of small changes across a large groups.
- They handed out copies of this fun book: How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Christian (available here). It would be great to have a Muslim version
- And why I love trees, from a friend in Qatar: "I remember watching a Survivorman episode on the Discovery Channel where Survivorman lies under the shade of a tree and says that shade can provide up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit worth of temperature reduction." Reminds me of how the clouds would shade the Prophet as he traveled in the desert sun and when he would stop, the trees would shift their branches to shade him. Allah, may God bless and grant him peace.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
While I wait for my macarona bechamel to cook: