The Panels of FORUM2020
The Temple of Understanding's FORUM2020 brought together three awesome panels, for short rich sessions that grew out of previous conversation. We invite you to enjoy these 30-minute recordings for their inspiration, diversity, and potential for the future we want.


Women of Faith in Leadership
These women of faith, pictured at the Toronto Parliament, have contributed much to developing global conversation about women’s leadership.
(From right to left) Audrey Kitagawa, Chair of the Parliament of World Religions, Canon Sarah Snyder, Advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s for Reconciliation & founding director of Rose Castle Foundation; Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD, the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and Divine Shakti Foundation; Prof. Azza Karam, Secretary-General, Religions for Peace; Grove Harris, MDiv, Representative to the United Nations for the Temple of Understanding; Joyce S. Dubensky senior advisor of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding and Dr. Katherine Marshall, senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and executive director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue.
Women, Faith and Diplomacy
Religions for Peace and Ring for Peace held the 1st Assembly on Women, Faith and Diplomacy 10-13 November. This groundbreaking conference on ‘keeping faith and transforming tomorrow’ focused on ‘women of faith, the leaders our world needs.’ It included high-level speakers, sessions for engagement and small group discussions. The Temple of Understanding attended a very strategic peer-to-peer learning session with representatives from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights. Selected media and remarks from global leaders are available online.

Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development:
Addressing Macroeconomics
Grove Harris represents the Temple of Understanding on the Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development. Shifting to virtual meetings and responding to the Covid-19 changes, the WWGonFfD offered a set of powerful presentations featuring feminist speakers on macroeconomics, particularly addressing the justice needs of the global South.
·      Global Processes and the Future of Humanity
·      Now is the time to act on debt from a feminist perspective - Debt and Gender Webinar
·      Impacts of COVID-19: Financial and Gender Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic
·      Capital versus Life? Corporate Capture: Financialization & Financial Extractivism
·      What the Social Contract Means in the Age of Data – Feminist Visions and Perspectives 

Faith for Nature Conference
The Temple of Understanding participated in the Faith For Nature conference, convened October 5-8, 2020 and live streamed to the world from the historic Skálholt Cathedral in the South of Iceland. Conference proceedings are all available online. Outcomes are intended to feed into the 2021 UN Environments Assembly, and to galvanize faith groups to “promote action and influence policy choices at the local, national, regional, and international levels.”
The following is excerpted from the final outcome statement:
Recognizing that there have been times when science and religion have been at odds, we commit ourselves to communicate spiritual insights informed by best available science. Harmony and balance between scientific and religious inquiry is essential for the advancement of humankind at this critical juncture. Local, traditional, and indigenous knowledge, wisdom and spirituality will continue to be an indispensable source of guidance. Efforts need to be made to cultivate synergies and mutual understanding between indigenous, religious, and scientific inquiry.
We recognize with profound concern scientific evidence on environmental degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss and the limited time available to achieve the deep transformation needed. The world’s faith-based organizations are uniquely placed to relay this science and rallying religious communities to act in defense of nature and environmental justice.
We have one common home. Global challenges faced by humankind are deeply interlinked and have a significant spiritual dimension. Appreciation for the spiritual nature of our being leads to a deeper sense of connectedness both with the natural world, of which humans are an organic part, and within the one human family. Humans have the responsibility to protect Earth ́s live-supporting systems to ensure a sustainable human civilization on which both social and economic capital rest.

Climate Change is Local
At the TOU, we work internationally and also at home, locally. On Cape Cod, a particularly vulnerable coastal setting, the annual NetZero Conference brings the local stakeholders together to collaborate. Our local Faith Communities Environmental Network (FCEN) participates. NetZero 2020: Reimagine, Rebuild, Renew, Jumpstarting a Clean, Green and Inclusive Economy for Cape Cod and the Islands can be viewed online.
Cape Cod is on track with most communities so far adopting Climate Emergency Resolutions, leading to concrete changes, at town council meetings. Intimate local knowledge, partnerships, participation and perseverance are key. Youth have extremely important voices; an intergenerational movement is essential. Single use plastic bottle bans are being pursued town by town. Everyone can get involved. Consumers can challenge excess packaging and long supply chains. Buy local, buy plant-based, and choose glass rather than plastic: individual choices add up. A local member of the Union of Concerned Scientists spoke during public comment at the town council meeting; listen to scientist Dr. Astrid Caldas interviewed on Eco Justice For All.

National Day of Mourning Live stream Thursday Noon
The 51st Annual National Day of Mourning will be live streamed on Facebook on November 26th at 12:00 noon (EST). United American Indians of New England write: "Since 1970, Native Americans and our supporters have gathered at noon on Cole's Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture. Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience."

Global Civil Society Report on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs
A world in turmoil needs fundamental change
Civil society offers the United Nations recommendations for systemic change, in support of the UN’s visionary goals. The Global Civil Society Report on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs offers an “8 R” agenda for systemic change. The many authors propose “in a nutshell eight issue areas where not only policy and governance reforms but also changes in the underlying narrative are long overdue. Action in these areas are a necessary precondition for making progress towards the socio-ecological transformation proclaimed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” In the wake of Covid-19, with the vast and vastly unequal health and economic impacts, the call is for:

1. Re-value the importance of care in societies
2. Re-empower public services
3. Re-balance global and local value chains
4. Reinforce the shift towards climate justice
5. Re-distribute economic power and resources
6. Re-regulate global finance
7. Re-invent multilateral solidarity
8. Re-define the measures of development and progress

Greenfaith’s Sacred People, Sacred Earth Day of Action
Our colleagues at Greenfaith are planning a day of action on March 11, 2021. Join the monthly organizing calls, and sign the statement , which includes the following demands:
As a global, multi-faith, grassroots alliance, we stand for equity and compassion for all, and we deplore injustice. We know that we cannot afford to wait for governments and financial institutions to act first; we understand that change starts with us. We are organizing grassroots people of diverse religions in support of the following demands, and we are leading by example. We call for:
1.    100% renewable energy for all: Sustainable, affordable power for everyone - especially the 800 million people without access to electricity
2.    Global finance aligned with compassionate values: Increased financing - in COVID recovery and beyond - for renewable energy and sustainable food systems
3.    Jobs and healthcare for all: A just transition for workers, migrants, and communities impacted by climate change and the energy transition through healthcare, job training and placement, and other necessary support
4.    Respect Indigenous rights: A strong defense for the legal rights of Indigenous communities and environmental protectors
5.    Welcome for migrants: Generous hospitality and opportunities for climate and environmental refugees to migrate and establish new homes
6.    No more climate pollution: Net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in wealthy countries by 2030; accelerated finance/technology transfers for global net zero before 2050
7.    End the planet’s desecration: No new fossil fuel exploration or infrastructure, industrial agriculture, or deforestation; no more habitat or biodiversity loss
8.    Eliminate immoral finance: No further financing or COVID bailouts for all fossil fuels, industrial agriculture, or deforestation
9.    Just contributions from wealthy countries: Leadership by wealthy countries in climate financing and technology transfer, in recognition of these countries’ colonialist and environmental debt
10. Bold faith community leadership: Sustained, united action guided by the teachings of our diverse religions, ushering in an equitable, peaceful life for all

Bioneers Annual Conference in December
This year’s Bioneers conference Beyond the Great Unraveling: Weaving the World Anew will be online December 5-6 and 12-13. Explore their website for a wealth of leading voices, resources and registration information.
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