Back to listOct 29, 2011

Conference on Environmental Issues Held in California

Claremont Presbyterian Church

Soka Gakkai was a cosponsor of a two-day interfaith conference titled "Brave New Planet--Imagining Ecological Communities" that was put together by Progressive Christians Uniting (PCU), Southern California, at Claremont Presbyterian Church in Claremont, California, from October 28-29.

A diverse group of religious organizations met to increase awareness of the increasingly harsh circumstances humans will confront as viability for human life erodes on planet Earth, and to find out how to take positive action locally to provide for food, habitat and community. 

The conference was made up of three plenary sessions and smaller group sessions, ranging from philosophical insight and its role in the recovery of civilizations, to urban farming and rethinking banking and money.

On the second day of the conference, Maria Guajardo, who works in the Mayor's Office for Education & Children in Denver, Colorado, gave a talk entitled "A Buddhist Approach to Life in Troubled Times." Dr. Guajardo's presentation was interwoven with background on how she came to be Buddhist as well as a brief historical perspective regarding the SGI, Nichiren's life and the Lotus Sutra.  She also expounded on three key Buddhist concepts: personal transformation or human revolution, oneness of self and environment or esho funi and karma. Speaking about the interconnectedness of life and the environment, Dr. Guajardo emphasized how our actions impact the environment and how the latter mirrors our life.

Amongst the participants was Dr.  William Lesher, Chair Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions. Following Dr. Guajardo's presentation, Dr. Lesher stressed the importance of many religious traditions to come together in peace to tackle the many important issues raised during the conference.

[Adapted from an article in the November 11, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of SGI-USA]