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July 2022 Newsletter

Greetings from FEN, the Faith Ecology Network, an Australian hub for strengthening an interfaith dialogue between science and religion.

Please help fund our FEN coordinator, so we can expand our work

 

Editorial

With the FEN focus on the Wonder of Biodiversity and our goal of fostering religious reasons for environmental advocacy in faith communities, we have been keeping you updated on the very important UN COP 15 on the Biodiversity Convention.

After being postponed several times due to COVID in China where it was to have been held, the decision has been made… “After close consultation among the Government of China as COP President, the Bureau, the Secretariat and the Government of Canada as host of the Secretariat, …. that the second part of the Meetings will take place at the seat of the Secretariat, in Montreal, Canada from 5 to 17 December 2022.

This is because “Acknowledging the urgency to address the biodiversity crisis, adopt the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and launch its implementation, the COP Presidency and Bureau have emphasized that the second part of the Meetings must be held in 2022. Read the full announcement at www.cbd.int/doc/notifications/2022/ntf-2022-041-cop15-en.pdf

With this new date, we have the opportunity to convey a message to our new Federal Government, the new Minister for the Environment, Tania Plibersek, and our local Federal Parliament Members. It would be a message that fully expresses our religious reasons for the care of our precious biodiversity. It would also say that leaders must take action on meaningful policies in keeping with the UN Convention that will enable us as faith communities to increase our meaningful action. If collectively and individually, faith communities take this opportunity, it may be the first time Australian leaders have learned about this part of their constituency.

As the FEN Core Group, we can assist by producing a form letter over the next few weeks which you can adapt to suit your purposes. This type of action is one of the Ten Ways Faith Groups Care.

Another opportunity to care is getting faith communities informed about and engaged in PLASTIC FREE JULY. As NSW joins the other states in getting rid of single use plastic bags being handed out at shops, there are many other ways we can eliminate plastic if we are more aware of how much we use and the harm it causes to ecosystems. Wouldn’t it be great if this happened at places of worship across Australia? We have prepared a flyer for you to send to your faith community. Please contact us for a copy or go to www.plasticfreejuly.org

Thanks for your interest and support. We welcome your feedback on items in the newsletter. [email protected]

FEN is run totally by volunteers. We seek your support with raising funds for a part-time Co-ordinator who will assist with growing our network, and help develop our new visual Ten Ways to Care into an educational kit for you to use.

Please use this link for your donation. We appreciate any support you can give.
www.trybooking.com/au/donate/faithecologynetwork
Thank You.

Anne Lanyon, FEN Co-ordinator                             

News from FEN Members and Networks

FEN to be part of research on the benefits of connection to nature and contemplation.

The Centre for Contemplative Studies was successful in receiving a Melbourne Uni grant to research ‘Integrating nature experience and contemplative practices to address eco-anxiety’. The FEN Core Group and Steering Team are happy to join the other groups involved in this study. The research team will be contacting us soon to explain more about what is involved, but it will definitely involve reaching out to you our FEN network and engage with you. Please see https://psychologicalsciences.unimelb.edu.au/CSC/news/seed-funding-success/integrating-nature You will be delighted to know that this collaboration had its origin in the FEN events of 2020-21,  Deep Listening in the Natural World.

FEN networks using the TEN Ways to Care Resource

Zubeda Raihman who is very active in the Muslim community shared FEN news about the International Day of Biodiversity, May 22nd in the AMUST, Australian Muslim Times. www.amust.com.au/2022/05/faith-ecology-network-initiative/

Dr Miriam Pepper, a very active Uniting Church member published an excellent article for the International Day of Biodiversity, Hear Creation Groaning and Help to Heal God’s Green Earth  about a UCA initiative to join others in protecting native forests that are being logged in Northern New South Wales. “ The 2019/20 bushfires burnt 4.8 million hectares of land in NSW, including just over 64 percent (approximately 0.7 million hectares) of the native state forest estate including a huge proportion on the Mid North Coast. More than 40 per cent of the Gondwana forests were severely impacted. Billions of creatures were killed….There is a calling and opportunity to develop a Christian voice and presence in the struggle for forest protection. In a wonderful new initiative that addresses these issues, a committee set up by the Mid North Coast Presbytery and now with members from multiple presbyteries is working to establish a forest advocate ministry role, starting on the Mid North Coast and expanding to the Queensland border in the north and the Hunter River in the south.” Miriam linked the article to the Ten Ways to Care.

The Kalang River Headwaters are a biodiversity hotspot. Local community groups have prepared a reserve proposal to protect it, which was endorsed by the Bellingen Shire council.

Miriam also shares about a citizen science project: “Collaborating online and in the forest, city dwellers and local residents are coming together to stop the destruction. Anybody can help after a few brief lessons, wherever they live. With the support of the Bob Brown Foundation, citizen science training will be offered in July to those wanting to help protect the forests of the Mid North Coast and beyond. To express your interest in participating, contact Dorothee Babeck at the Bob Brown Foundation on [email protected]. Concerned citizens also support campaigns to protect koalas and end industrial native forest logging across NSW through the NSW Nature Conservation Council.

FEN at Interfaith Symposium

Some members of the FEN Steering team participated in the 'Faith, Social Cohesion & Community Resilience’ Symposium held recently in Sydney by the Affinity Intercultural Foundation and Macquarie University. One way that faiths grow connections around a common interest and concern is of course exactly what FEN does. This was highlighted in one of the workshops and commented on at the end of the program.

Adamama plus Dances of Universal Peace

Ben Zion Weiss shared about his involvement with Adamama the first Urban Jewish Educational Farm in Australia. It connects sustainability, community and Jewish identity through thousands of years of traditions and culture. They nurture the growth of individuals, communities and crops through sustainability programs and experiences. Adamama is based at the Randwick Sustainability Hub in Sydney where FEN held an event Living Waters: RunOff, Rivers and Reefs in 2016. Ben is also involved with Sufi based Dances of Universal Peace which are involved in sustainable living for peace and the environment. They are conducting a retreat at Burrill Lake on the NSW South Coast with Uncle Noel Butler, Yuin knowledge holder, on the October Long Weekend. See www.dancesofuniversalpeaceaustralia.org/upcoming-events-1

Brahma Kumaris New Retreat Centre

The new Brahma Kumaris retreat centre at Yarra Valley, Victoria (previously run by the Gawler Foundation) recently had an open day with sessions on ecotherapy and forest bathing. The 40 acre property is blessed with koalas, kangaroos, birds, a running stream, a lake and areas of native bush.

The UN conference on Combating Desertification COP15 took place in Cote D'Ivoire in May 2022. The Brahma Kumaris sent 5 delegates to participate in the 2-week long event                       

The Catholic EarthCare Laudato Si’ network is hosting a screening of My Octopus Teacher July 14th 6-8pm. Join us at 6:00pm – 8:00pm AEST on Thursday 14th of July 2022 for an online screening of the documentary. Eco-Jesuit Gabby Lamug-Nañawa sj will be sharing with us his reflection. Registrations via https://caritas.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZErd-GorzwuGdwlDV-AWxRfLOOoWC_sum5O

 

FEN Partner News

AELA (Australian Earth Laws Alliance)

14th July, Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) and Greenprints present this FREE IN-PERSON AND ONLINE WORKSHOP, about scenario planning. www.earthlaws.org.au/event/introduction-to-scenario-planning-with-dr-kiah-smith/

This workshop focuses on how ancient and emerging place-based, Earth-centred approaches can offer an effective, practical, compassionate and successful future for Australia. Sat 16th Jul 2022, 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm https://events.humanitix.com/fd-july-16 $35 - $85 AUD

ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change) would like to know about all of the banners that went up outside places of worship prior to the Federal election. Please contact ARRCC at [email protected]

Nature For All Australia
A reminder that 
if you are in Victoria, your group might like to participate in https://peopleandparks.org/nature-pact/ which is running in September.

For ideas on ways to engage young people see the Re Generation Project results run by Macquarie University https://natureforall.global/blog/the-regeneration-project-macquarie-university-australia/

United Religions Initiative (URI)
FEN is a Co-operation Circle of URI. To see other like minded groups in the Southeast Asia and Pacific Region please go to www.uri.org/who-we-are/cooperation-circles?keys=&action_area=8&region=All&country=All