In October we held the 5 th regional meeting for the Inner Dimensions of Climate Change in partnership with Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association. This time we brought young environmental leaders from throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East region to the beautiful island of Cyprus.
Young people joined from Lebanon, Turkey, Tunisia, Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Palestine, Greece, Qatar, along with ecology activists from the international community. UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States sent their climate specialist Dr. Walid Ali, who is from Yemen. He offered a comprehensive overview of the impacts of climate change in the Middle East.

In the days of discussion young leaders gave country reports, shared best practices and offered mutual support. Talent and skills abounded in this group, which included those active in environmental law, marine biology, solar energy, photo journalism, ecological architecture and construction, protection of coral reefs, turtles and dolphins, peacemaking and tree planting, environmental education, whole systems design and other innovations centered around love for the Earth.
Many friendships were formed as we spent time together reflecting on the spiritual dimensions of the climate/ecological changes underway.  We participated in water and fire ceremonies on the beach led by Tiokasin Ghosthorse, in a spirit of gratitude and celebration. All of us left with hope. 
In November a small group from GPIW met with leaders of Shinnyo-en in Japan to reflect on the various dimensions of climate change. This past year Japan has seen great impacts from intense weather systems with major typhoons and flooding, landslides and earthquakes. Shinnyo-en has a tradition of sending relief teams of volunteers to help throughout the country when disasters happen, and this year they were again very active. On a visit to one of the ancient temples on the outskirts of Kyoto we were able to see first hand the impact of the typhoons with dozens upon dozens of trees uprooted. Seeing the level of damage made us realize the impact of extreme weather on the whole ecology of the region as the destruction of the forests also greatly affects animal and plant life. We were viewing this scene just as forest fires were ravaging the west coast of the US, and we couldn’t help but think of the connection between these two attacks, one by water and the other by fire. As we reflected on how to awaken the human community to the damage we are inflicting on the earth through our unconscious behavior, we realized the importance of compassion and love, which must expend beyond the human community to all of life
Damage to hundreds of massive trees in ravines and valleys surrounding Jingo-Ji Temple

GPIW will be participating in COP24 again this year with a delegation from the faith community. As the official negotiations are taking place there is also the need for remembering spiritual truths that include interconnection, love, beauty, reverence for all of life and our human unity.  At the root of the climate crisis is a deeper crisis, that of our disconnection from our own soul, from one another and our Mother the Earth.
An official side event is scheduled for Dec. 4 th at the UNFCCC meetings . GPIW will also host a forum at Climate Hub on Dec. 5 th in Katowice and a discussion with faith leaders from the Krakow community on December 6 th. If you are nearby please join us.  EventBrite RSVP