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Latest news on the Long Term Commitments

Last updated: September 24, 2009 :

A Jewish Seven Year Plan is being discussed in key meetings in Jerusalem, London and New York. Photo from hazon.org

Handbook to creating a Long Term Faith Plan for the Living Planet

Background to the Plans

List of Plans









SEPTEMBER 2009

**** The Quakers in London announce Many Heavens, One Earth: Faiths, the Environment and Copenhagen at Friends Meeting House in Euston. This is a public meeting at 7pm on November 4 which will be the culmination of the UNDP-ARC Windsor celebration. The panel will include the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Rev Sally Bingham founder of Interfaith Power and Light, Nigel Savage founder of the Jewish environmental group, Hazon, and Olav Kjorven, Assistant Secretary General of UNDP. It also features the first public performance in the UK of What if the Cross Could Speak - a gospel version of the Anglo-Saxon Poem Dream of the Rood, sung by the Baltimore-based New Psalmist Baptist Choir. Link here to reserve tickets.

**** The Shanghai Buddhists have sent in their own Eight Year Plan, which includes solar panels, promoting vegetarianism, promoting environmental education, and advocacy through local communities. Link here to find it on the list of completed long term plans.

AUGUST 2009

**** ARC creates an Event website for the Windsor Event, Many Heavens, One Earth: Faith Commitments for a Living Planet, which will be held from November 2-4.

JULY 2009

**** Windsor meeting Confirmed. The first Plans for Generational Change will be launched by faiths at Windsor Castle in November 2009, just before the Copenhagen COP. The programme for this will be announced in September, but it will include some 160 key invitees from the faith, secular environment and political worlds, who will be able to explore the specific and special contribution by the faiths to this climate change debate, while celebrating some of the hundreds of Long Term Plans being generated around the world. **** Hindu Nine Year Plan: National Hindu leaders in the UK met on July 16 and pledged to work together to create long-term plans for environmental protection which have the potential to reach every Hindu living in the UK - and also to India. Ideas include: introducing a Hindu benchmark for products and services including energy; endorsing ethically sourced food; advocating sustainable lifestyles. These plans will be developed and implemented over the next 9 years - a timeframe chosen to encourage long-term planning - and are part of the ARC/UNDP Seven Year Plan initiative.

***** Catholic Seven Year Plan Update: The Jesuits are holding discussions with ARC in Rome, and are in the process of producing a Seven Year Plan to Protect the Environment. Meanwhile Jesuits in the Amazon are moving forward with their Environmental Planning, to help put the Amazon firmly on the Catholic agenda worldwide. The Franciscans are writing their Seven Year Plan. This will be presented at Windsor in November 2009 by the newly appointed Minister General. This is a plan for the whole Franciscan family. Meanwhile the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales have produced their Seven Year plan. The US Catholic Bishops, following their US Conference, are producing their Seven Year Plan and will be celebrating the launch of their environmental initiatives at Windsor in November 2009. And the Pope this month issued an Encyclical which, while not explicitly mentioning the Plans, placed the environment for the first time on the mainstream Catholic agenda.

**** ECOSIKH is a new movement created by Sikhs in the US and India to form a Five Year Plan to protect the environment. It was launched at a meeting in New Delhi in July 2009 and the Plans themselves will be announced at ARC's Windsor Event

**** Muslim 7YP: Some 200 key Muslim leaders, scholars, civil society members and government ministries from Islamic civil society, made the unprecedented step at a meeting in Istanbul of joining togetherto endorse a long term plan for action on climate change and the natural environment. The draft Muslim Seven Year Plan to Protect the Natural Environment, drawn up by Earth Mates Dialogue Centre, an NGO based in the UK, and supported by ARC, as part of our UN/ARC Seven Year Plan Initiative, proposes investigating every level of Muslim activity from daily life to annual pilgrimages, from holy cities to the future training of Imams. 
Here is the declaration.

***** The Methodist Women's Network in the UK has announced that it is working on a Seven Year plan.


JUNE 2009

**** Led by the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Hindus in the UK will draw up a 9 Year Hindu Plan to protect the Environment. This is a Public Space Project for the OCHS, bringing together four leading temples: Bhaktivedanta Manor, Sri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, Sanatana Manadir in Leicester and Shri Venkateswara Temple in Birmingham, as well as Krishna-Avanti Primary School and Hindus for Sustainable Life. Temples are each to draw up their recommendations for their own Nine Year plan and then bring to the wider Hindu community by mid July.


MAY 2009

***** Invitations are beginning to be sent out to attend a major celebration at Windsor Castle in November, for religious leaders from around the world to announce their 7 and 8 Year Generational Plans to Protect the Living Planet. Others, who have created their own long term action plans will be honoured, and there will be an important opportunity for all participants to extend their networks and partnerships - and exchange ideas and experience. The meeting will be hosted by ARC in partnership with the UNP, and with the support of HRH The Prince Philip. More news to follow.

***** The Muslim Seven Year Plan (M7YAP) initiative was given a critical boost in a key paper issued by the prestigious Annual Dialogue meeting of Japan and Muslim Nations. The seventh annual conference took place in March in Kuwait. Taking inspiration from the ARC-UN Seven Year Plan, “The Environment and Civilization” Forum brought together senior representatives from both Muslim and Japanese governments under the sponsorship of His Highness, Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, The Crown Prince of Kuwait. It also included over 70 researchers and experts. It gives a strong indication that the forthcoming Conference for the Muslim 7 Year Plan Declaration in Istanbul on 6 and 7 July 2009, organised by ARC and the Earthmate Dialogue Centre, will lead to practical long term action. Draft version of the Muslim 7 year plan


APRIL 2009

***** Catholics in the US launched a nationwide climate change campaign and the St Francis Pledge, to coincide with Earth Day on April 22nd. Over the next months they will formulate a Long Term Generational Plan, through the Catholic Climate Care Coalition. Meanwhile the main body of Jesuits are in the process of formulating a Plan, as are British Jesuits, and the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England & Wales are also writing a Long Term Plan as the successor to Call of Creation, while working closely with CAFOD which has its own climate change campaign. Jesuits in the Amazon are interested in incorporating the environment into their work to extend their concern for social justice to eco-justice, and it has been agreed by the body of Jesuits in Latin America to make the environment a priority in their outreach. A key meeting will be held in Manaus

***** A Jewish Seven Year Plan on Climate Change and Sustainability has been drafted, and its discussion sessions launched with a key meeting in Jerusalem, attended by some 55 experts: rabbis, scientists, businesspeople, environmentalists, policy makers and educators. Hazon, the biggest Jewish environmental organization in the United States, and ARC's partner in this initiative, laid much of the groundwork for the project.

***** The forthcoming Conference for the Muslim 7 Year Plan Declaration will take place in Istanbul on 6 and 7 July 2009. As part of the ARC-UN Generational Action Plan for the Environment, ARC is delighted to announce it will be co-sponsoring the event which will bring together between 60 and 80 Muslim Scholars. The Muslim Seven Year Plan is being created through Earthmates Dialogue Center in partnership with ARC. It is hoped these key scholars from across the spectrum of the Islamic faith will endorse the plan and declare it to be the Muslim 7 Year Action Plan to respond to climate change. Draft version of the Muslim 7 year plan.

***** ARC is discussing with Jade Buddha Monastery in Shanghai the possibility of holding a workshop/seminar to discuss a potential Shanghai Buddhist Eight Year Plan. This would be similar to the work that ARC started in Taibaishan with the Daoist communities, which began with a small workshop, and led within a few years to a national Daoist movement to protect the environment. The attendants would be the abbots from the major Buddhist Monasteries from the Greater Shanghai area - around 60 monks - who would explore Chinese Buddhist beliefs and values with regards to the environment, as well as practical action plans. ARC's role would be to help put that into an international context.

MARCH 2009

***** The 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, hosted the first ever Conference on Environmental Protection for Kagyu Monasteries and Centres last week, in a move that could lead to increased environmental awareness throughout the Himalayas. The conference at Vajra Vidhya Institute in Saranath was attended by representatives from 26 Buddhist monasteries in India, Nepal and Bhutan. One of its outcomes was the announcement of the Karmapa's intention to publish a list of 108 Things that Kagyy Lineage Buddhists can do to Protect the Environment - some of which were inspired by the Eight Year Plan that ARC is helping the Mongolian Buddhists create. The list of "108 Things" will be announced soon.

***** The Muslim Seven Year Plan was the core subject at the seventh Annual Dialogue meeting between Japan and Muslim nations, March 11-12, 2009 in Kuwait. Link here for the story. It was attended by government ministers and the topic this year was the Environment: The Challenge and the Vision. "We are delighted that 'the vision' of this round of dialogue will be the Muslim Seven Year Plan," said ARC's secretary general Martin Palmer. In addition, in the first week of July 2009, leading Muslim scholars from around the world will meet to issue authoritative Islamic teachings on the environment and to endorse - from a scholarly perspective - the Islamic plans for long term generational change.

***** Buddhists in Cambodia have decided to create their own Seven (or Eight) Year Plan, to incorporate the current work being done by the Sangha in the 23 provinces, with further long-term planning to embed the care for the natural environment into how Buddhists will act and pray for generations to come. It builds on work started by the Asian Buddhist Network, initially set up with the help of ARC and the World Bank, and run by monks for monks. It also consolidates links with Conservation International-Cambodia to set up activities focused on environmental education and awareness, as well as training for monks and local people, tree ordination, wildlife protection, Buddhism beliefs and stories about the natural environment.


FEBRUARY 2009

***** The Baha'i community's International Environment Forum has agreed to create a Seven Year Plan of Action on Climate Change and the Natural Environment using the ARC/UNDP guidelines as its original inspiration. The plan will be designed to reflect certain general principles that are important for the Baha'i community, and in line with the community's approach to social and economic development whereby it is for each community to determine its goals and priorities in keeping with its capacity and resources. The Plan will therefore inform and enable rather than impose centrally-determined goals, and given the diversity of situations around the world, will encourage innovation and a variety of approaches to environment appropriate to the rhythm of life in the community. Seven Year Plans are particularly auspicious within Baha'ism, as in 1937, in the middle of a recession, the first Baha'i Seven Year Plan was initiated "aimed at a spiritual recovery within the context of a world-redeeming order".

***** Mongolian Buddhists have launched a handbook on Mongolian Buddhists and the Environment edited by ARC, funded by the World Bank NEMO project. The handbook includes details of the Mongolian Buddhists' Eight Year Plan. Link here to download the guide to the Mongolian Buddhists’ Eight Year Plan (this file is 4.13MB) and link here to download the Mongolian Buddhists Protecting Nature Handbook in English. Later this month the Handbook will be available to download in Mongolian.




JANUARY 2009

***** The Network for Engaged Buddhists (NEB) in the UK have decided to create a Seven Year Plan for Generational Change.


DECEMBER 2009

A draft Muslim Seven Year Plan (M7YAP) was published, to be discussed over the next 12 months, and then implemented over the next seven years. Action plans would initially be focussed on Islamic states before spreading to other countries with Muslim communities.


NOVEMBER 2008

***** Over 20 key participants from Islamic NGOs, academics, government figures and Muslim environmental activists and specialists from 14 countries met in Kuwait from 28-30 October 2008 to discuss drawing up a Seven Year Plan for Muslim Action on the Environment. It was agreed that the action plan would be focused on Islamic states as well as Muslim communities all over the world. Link here for further details of this initiative.


OCTOBER 2008

***** The first Seven Year Plan for Generational Change has been created - although in the hands of the Daoists in China it has become an Eight Year Plan, because that is a more auspicious number. The Daoist Ecology Eight Year Plan, which will be sent to the China Daoists Association in November 2008, was created by the first ever pan-China meeting of Daoists on Ecology, attended by 69 senior monks and nuns and some 120 government officials including many at a very senior level. Link here for the Daoist draft Eight Year Plan, and here for a news story on the conference.

***** The New Psalmist Baptist Church in Maryland, USA - with its active congregation of some 7000 people, is considering the construction of its own Seven-Year Plan, beginning with asking its members the question: “who is my neighbour?” As pastor Rev. Al Bailey writes: "If we can imagine our “neighbours,” our brothers and sisters, across national borders, across oceans, across lines of culture, tribe, or skin colour, then perhaps, we can project our love as widely. It follows then, that we must embrace a more robust care for the environment that nurtures and feeds these our brothers and sisters, wherever they may reside." The emphasis is very much on building the young people's sense of their place in the world, and in God's creation. "We must prepare future generations to lead us to greater understanding and connectedness among peoples. We envision this to include creative uses of technologies and available media. To foster the growth of this understanding, we have begun, through collaboration with UNEP, to introduce the youngest members of the New Psalmist family to the principles of environmental stewardship and conservation at the international level." Link here to learn more about the New Psalmist family.


SEPTEMBER 2008

***** Buddhist monks from Gandan in Ulaan Baator - one of Mongolia's most prestigious monasteries - will be co-hosting a meeting for monks in October 2008 in which they will discuss their ideas and commitment for Eight Year Plans (based on the Seven Year Plans but with a more auspicious number). Meanwhile The Tributary Fund, which is also hosting the event is considering committing to helping the monks create and then act on their Plans from the day of launch in 2009 up until 2017 when the generational changes might already have been put in place.

***** The Church of South India is now basing all its environment-motivated conferences and events around its own version of the Seven Year Plan.

***** Around 100 faith-based retreat centres around the UK received the Seven Year Plan Guidelines early in the month - and within a week ARC heard back from more than a dozen, wanting to form a network and exchange information about their role as models of environmental practice. ARC will make announcements about this when the network is launched next month.

***** The Buddhist-run Garrison Institute in the United States is working with the Hudson River Project in New York State on a series of 2009 events in conjunction with the celebration of the Hudson River at the time of the Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial 1609-2009. As part of its own contribution, the Garrison is framing a series of seven "Quadricentennial conversation" events which, according to its latest newsletter "will be organized partly around the seven-year framework of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation. ARC is working with the United Nations Development Program to empower congregations worldwide to help make positive environmental change. Free and open to the public, the Garrison Institute Quadricentennial conversation events will engage congregations, environmentalists, cultural and thought leaders, and the public at large in our ongoing dialogue about honoring our Hudson River heritage and working for a sustainable future. "


AUGUST 2008

***** Daoists in China have announced a major meeting at the holy mountain of Mao Shan, near Nanjing in China, to discuss their Seven Year Plans. ARC will be attending the event, which will be held at the end of October.


Links

More about Seven Year Plans.

Latest Guidelines for the Seven Year Planx

A leaflet on the Seven Year Plan.

Launch of the Seven Year Plan.

Link to the Frequently Asked Questions.

Eco-Audits.

Latest news on the faiths' Celebration at Windsor.

Download details of the public forum on "Many Heavens, One Earth - Faiths, the Environment and Copenhagen": here.

Registration for the public forum: "Many Heavens, One Earth - Faiths, the Environment and Copenhagen".



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