FORUM2022

Proudly presented by the Temple of Understanding in collaboration with Marble Collegiate Church, New York City.

Program

FORUM2022 is a call to action on the global crisis facing humanity and all life on planet Earth. Connecting the variable causes of the climate crisis, our speakers bring together ancient wisdom and modern science to address this time of severe destruction with positive and effective solutions. 

Our dialogue keynote speaker, Dr. Vandana Shiva, writes, “Earth Democracy’s success concerns not just the fate and well-being of all humans, but all beings on Earth. It is not about the next protest or the next world social forum ⎯ it is about what we do in between. It addresses the global in our everyday lives and creates change globally by making change locally. The changes may appear small, but they can be exponential in impact. They are about nature’s evolution and our human potential.”

Dr. Shiva’s dialogue partner, Bill McKibben, Co-founder of 350org, expresses in his book Falter, “The fight over climate change is ultimately not an argument about infrared absorption in the atmosphere, but about power and money and justice. Given that industry has most of that money and hence most of that power, it usually wins – unless, of course, a movement arises, one capable of changing hearts as well as minds.”

FORUM2022 presents an overview of the many ways climate change is affecting our planet and how each of us, individually and collectively, can impact current industrial and governmental practices and policies to bring about the rapid restoration of our biosphere. Our presenters from diverse fields, such as religion, science, agriculture, ancient and indigenous wisdom, the arts, and more, expand upon our intimate relationship with the environment and emphasize the interconnectedness of all life.

Thank you kindly to our FORUM2022 Co-sponsors: Association For New Global Thought, Greenfaith, Interfaith Center of New York, Interfaith Power and Light, Islamic Society of North America, Laudato Si’ Movement, Parliament of the World’s Religions, World Interfaith Network.

The program for this live virtual FORUM2022 is as follows:

Opening Prayer

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Distinguished 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, will open FORUM2022 with traditional Native American Sioux prayers.

Earth Democracy: Sustainability and Justice

The keynote dialogue between Bill McKibben and Dr. Vandana Shiva will expound upon the era of unrestricted capitalism and inspire us to embrace a moral and spiritual perspective for restoring our bio-system.

Prayers for the Global Ecological Crisis

  • The Rev. Sally Bingham, Canon for the Environment for the Diocese of California, or you can use founder and President Emerita, Interfaith Power and Light. (Christian)  
  • Imam Saffet Catovic, Head of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Office for Interfaith, Community Alliances, and Government Relations. (Muslim)
  • Rabbi David Rosen, KSG CBE, International Director of Interreligious Affairs, American Jewish Committee (Jewish)
  • Pandit Shukla Ji, Hindu Priest, Hindu Samaj Mandir Mahwah, New Jersey (Hindu)

Sacred Soil & Sacred Forests 

Panelists examine the relationship between ancient knowledge and current scientific thinking and present practical solutions for the climate crisis. Ray Archuleta, an American soil scientist, is joined by Irish botanist and author Diana Beresford-Kroeger and Kenyan Patricia Kombo, founder of the PaTree Initiative and a United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Land Hero.

Earth Poetica

A short video will introduce Jerusalem artist, Beverly Barkat’s “Earth Poetica,” a phenomenal sculpture constructed from plastic waste collected from around the world, which will be exhibited at New York City’s World Trade Center complex next year.

Caring For Our Endangered Oceans and Waterways

Panelists on Caring for our Endangered Oceans and Waterways analyze the many ways to address the trashing of our oceans, create international water policy and tackle ocean warming. Dave Ford, thefounder of the Ocean Plastics Leadership Network, USA, an activist to industry organization, is joined by David Helvarg, executive director of Blue Frontier, and Dr. Kelsey Leonard, a citizen of the Shinnecock Nation, who is a water scientist, legal scholar, policy expert, writer, and assistant professor, University of Waterloo, Canada.

FORUM2022 Keynote Speakers

Opening Prayer: Chief Arvol Looking Horse

Chief Arvol Looking Horse was born on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. At the age of 12, he was given the responsibility of becoming the 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, the youngest ever. He is widely recognized as a chief and the spiritual leader of all three branches of the Sioux tribe. He is the author of White Buffalo Teachings and a guest columnist for Indian Country Today. A tireless advocate of maintaining traditional spiritual practices, Chief Looking Horse is the founder of Big Foot Riders which memorializes the massacre of Big Foot’s band at Wounded Knee. 

Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben is a contributing writer to The New Yorker and a founder of Third Act, which organizes people over the age of 60 to work on climate and racial justice. He founded the first global grassroots climate campaign, 350.org, and serves as the Schumann Distinguished Professor in Residence at Middlebury College in Vermont.

In 2014, he was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel,’ in the Swedish Parliament.

Bill has also won the Gandhi Peace Award, and honorary degrees from 19 colleges and universities. He has written over a dozen books about the environment, including his first, The End of Nature, published in 1989, and the forthcoming The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at his Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened.

Dr. Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva, a world-renowned environmental thinker, activist, feminist, philosopher of science, writer, and science policy advocate, is the founder of Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in India and President of Navdanya International.

Trained as a Physicist at the University of Punjab, she completed her Ph.D. on the ‘Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory’ from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

She later shifted to inter-disciplinary research in science, technology, and environmental policy, which she carried out at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India.

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In 1982 she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE), an independent research institute that addresses the most significant problems of ecology of our times, and two years later, Navdanya (‘nine seeds’), the movement in defense of biodiversity and the contributions made to the climate, environment and society by small farmers.

The recipient of many awards, including the Right Livelihood Award (the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’) and the Sydney Peace Prize, she has been named among the top five “Most Important People in Asia” by AsiaWeek.

She is a prolific writer and author of numerous books and serves on the board of the International Forum on Globalization, and member of the executive committee of the World Future Council.

Interfaith Prayers Offered For the Global Ecological Crisis

The Rev. Sally Bingham, Canon for the Environment for the Diocese of California. (Christian)

Imam Saffet Catovic, Director, Interfaith, Community Alliances, and Government Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Washington, D.C.

Rabbi David Rosen, KSG CBE, International Director of Interreligious Affairs, American Jewish Committee.

Pandit Shukla Ji, Hindu Priest, Hindu Samaj Mandir Mahwah, New Jersey.

FORUM2022 Sacred Soil & Sacred Forests Panel

Ray Archuleta is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist with the Soil Science Society of America and has over 30 years experience as a Soil Conservationist, Water Quality Specialist, and Conservation Agronomist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

After his retirement from the NRCS in 2017, Ray founded Understanding Ag, LLC, and Soil Health Academy, to teach Biomimicry strategies and Agroecology principles for improving soil function on a national scale.

Ray also owns and operates a 150-acre farm near Seymour, Missouri, with his wife and family.

Diana Beresford-Kroeger, botanist, medical biochemist and author, possesses a unique combination of western scientific training and an understanding of the knowledge and methods of a wide variety of traditional and alternative sources.

Her books include The Sweetness of a Simple LifeThe Global ForestArboretum Borealis: A Lifeline of the PlanetArboretum America: A Philosophy of the Forest, and A Garden for Life. A feature documentary about her work, the Canadian Screen Awards-nominated Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees, appeared in 2017. Her latest book is To Speak for the Trees: My Life’s Journey From Ancient Celtic Wisdom To a Healing Vision of the Forest.

Patricia Kombo is a passionate environmentalist, founder of PaTree Initiative, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Land Hero, All Africa Conference of Churches Youth Climate Envoy,2021 Youth of the Year in the Environment category, healthy soils advocate, and an adaptation scholar at the University of Nairobi.

Besides championing climate change, she advocates for sustainable land use through the use of indigenous knowledge and practices with the aim of ending hunger, malnutrition, and poverty in rural communities.

Beverly Barkat – Earth Poectica

Beverly Barkat was born in Johannesburg in 1966, moving to Israel with her family in 1976 where she graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Initially her preferred media were clay, metal, and glass but participation in a masterclass led by Israel Hershberg at the Jerusalem Studio School inspired a shift to drawing and oil painting. In 2018 Barkat started to address national and global subjects in her art. This resulted in the exhibition After the Tribes (2018) held at the Museum Boncompagni in Rome. In this exhibition she used an experimental medium of painting complemented by a metal sculpture to explore the relationship between aesthetics and politics. In her current project, the critically acclaimed Earth Poetica, she experiments with the innovative media combination of organic and plastic materials, marking further departure from artistic conventions and addressing the urgent problem of global plastic pollution.

Earth Poetica installed at the Gottesman Family Aquarium in Jerusalem, Israel. Photo credit: Michael Amar

FORUM2022 Caring for Our Endangered
Oceans and Waterways Panel

Dave Ford is the founder of [OPLN] Ocean Plastics Leadership Network. The OPLN, made up of 130+ organizations, is an activist-to-industry network dedicated to solving the ocean plastics crisis.

He launched the Global Plastics Treaty Dialogues activist-to-industry series with WWF and Greenpeace to build capacity and understanding around the Global Plastics Treaty, which is currently being negotiated by 170 countries.

Participants in the Global Treaty Dialogues include over four hundred organizations from 50 countries across the vast plastic stakeholder spectrum. 

David Helvarg is the Executive Director of Blue Frontier and the author of six books: Blue Frontier, The War Against the Greens, 50 Ways to Save the Ocean, Rescue Warriors, Saved by the Sea, and The Golden Shore. He is organizer of ‘Blue Vision’ Summits for ocean activists, Peter Benchley Ocean Awards (with Wendy Benchley), and chaired the first global March for the Ocean in 2018.

An award-winning journalist, he produced more than 40 broadcast documentaries for PBS, The Discovery Channel, and others. His print work has appeared in The New York Times, LA Times, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Popular Science, Sierra, etc. He’s done radio work for Marketplace, AP radio, and Pacifica and led workshops for journalists in Poland, Turkey, Tunisia, Slovakia and Washington DC. He is also a licensed Private Investigator, body-surfer and scuba diver.

Dr. Kelsey Leonard is a water scientist, legal scholar, policy expert, writer, and enrolled citizen of the Shinnecock Nation. Dr. Leonard is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, where her research focuses on Indigenous water justice and its climatic, territorial, and governance underpinnings. Dr. Leonard seeks to establish Indigenous traditions of water conservation as the foundation for international water policymaking. 

She represents the Shinnecock Indian Nation on the Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean, which is charged with protecting America’s ocean ecosystems and coastlines. She also serves as a member of the Great Lakes Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission. Her regional ocean policy work in collaboration with Tribes, state, federal and fishery management council entities received a Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Solutions.

FORUM Action List

  • Become informed and spread the word, talk with family, friends, and colleagues
  • Share the video recording of our FORUMS:
    • FORUM2023
    • FORUM2022
    • FORUM2021
    • FORUM2020 Part 1
    • FORUM2020 Part 2
  • Share our videos of ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL Dialogues & Interviews
  • Join an environmental group, unite and take action
  • Take part in or organize a cleanup on a beach, river, creek, park, street, etc
  • Use your voice and your vote to push for credible climate action locally, nationally, and globally
  • Support legislation to curb plastic production and waste
  • Put pressure on corporations and manufacturers
  • Make your money count, support green companies
  • Invest money responsibly in renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Walk, bike, or take public transport
  • Reduce, reuse, purchase items secondhand, repair & recycle properly
  • Cut down your consumption
  • Eat organic, non-GMO, eat more vegetables, and less dairy, meat, seafood, and fish
  • Cook more, buy more in bulk
  • Don’t waste food, create compost
  • Respect and protect green spaces, do not cut down trees
  • Plant trees and native vegetation, plant regenerative forests and food gardens
  • Cut back on flights, boat cruises, and unnecessary travel
  • Refuse any single-use plastics and avoid products containing microbeads
  • Carry reusable bags, produce bags, water bottles, utensils, coffee cups, and straws.
  • Save energy at home and at work.
  • Use less water. Use less hot water.
  • Adjust your thermostat for heating and cooling.
  • Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs and electric appliances.
  • Turn off electronic devices when not in use.
  • Wash laundry with cold water and hang clothes to dry.
  • Host a viewing party for one of the many plastic-pollution-focused documentaries, like A Plastic Ocean, Garbage Island: An Ocean Full of Plastic, Bag It, Addicted to Plastic, Plasticized, or Garbage Island.

Here are a few links we suggest for more information:

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