International webinar on Climate Crisis: Faith in the environment
Zoom event, 23 October 2021, 16:00 - 18:00 (BST)
Learning lessons from diverse faiths to preserve, protect and promote
Nature and a thriving Environment
Moderators: Dr. NAZIA KHANUM OBE DL & DAVID JONATHAN
Partners: UNA-Luton, Luton Council of Faiths, Grassroots & Near Neighbours
Dr Nazia Khanum OBE DL, Chair, United Nations Association-Luton (UNA-Luton)
Professor Zafar Khan, Chair, Luton Council of Faiths (LCoF)
Helen Nellis, Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire; Mahmood Hussain, Mayor of Luton; Lord Bill McKenzie; Right Reverend Richard Atkinson OBE, Bishop of Bedford; Sarah Owen MP (Luton North); Rachel Hopkins MP (Luton South)
Abu Shama (author): The Blue Moon: Why is the Moon so blue? : A mystical story relating to the Climate Crisis
Reflections on Nature/Environment from Luton’s diverse faith communities
Right Reverend Richard Atkinson OBE, Bishop of Bedford (Christianity), Dr Mohammad Alramahi (Islam), Colin Hall (Quakerism), Yogesh Mistry (Hinduism), Sanjeev Kumar MBE (Sikhism), Richard Groom (Bahaism), Sarita Jain (Jainism), ), Hilary Fox (Judaism), Stephen Dynako (Humanism), Dr Rokhsana Reza (Humanism), Sister Marie Hayes (Christianity)
Interactive session: questions, answers and comments
Facilitated by David Jonathan, Director, LCoF, Grassroots and Near Neighbours
Concluding remarks and way forward
Dr David Cheesman, Secretary, UNA-Luton
Climate crisis faith in the environment
Climate awareness should become an everyday habit, part of our personal belief system, so that we automatically do what is right for the environment without even having to think about it. That was the answer our international Zoom webinar gave to the question posed by a young climate activist: ‘Why are you burning our future?’
The conference reviewed an unexplored area - nature and the environment from the perspectives of different religious faiths and non-religious belief systems. The participants were from the United Kingdom, the United States, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Helen Nellis, HM Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire and Rachel Hopkins, MP for Luton South, were unable to attend personally but their messages of support were read out.
The discussion was opened by Abu Shama, with a mystical interpretation of the evolution of our planet and the impact of the climate crisis from his book, The blue moon: why is the moon so blue?, accompanied by some spectacular images from it. Many participants commented that his book should be available in schools.
The speakers approached the subject from the perspective of their particular faiths. Sister Marie Hayes was unable to attend but submitted a reflection on Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, on the care of our common home.
It was striking that all faith and belief systems shared a spiritual vision of humanity’s relationship with the environment and put particular emphasis on the importance of individual action. We have been given custodianship of the planet. We are responsible for ourselves and the world around us. This can give us strength when we feel overwhelmed by the scale of the climate crisis and the lack of political will to resolve it. Whatever happens at the COP26 Conference in Glasgow at the end of this month, we can have faith that our personal decisions at a local level do make a difference – decisions about our heating, our lighting, our shopping, our diet, our cars, our plants and trees, and everything else.
Actions taken by individuals add up. A mass movement for change is composed of innumerable individual actions and the human spirit has the power to put matters right when mistakes have been made. We have had a massive negative impact on the environment. We can and will turn that into a massive positive impact.
International webinar on Climate Change - challenges and solutions
Zoom event, 22 May 2021, 16:00 - 18:00 (BST)
Please join our important virtual webinar on Climate Change. It will focus on solutions. We are fortunate to have two specialist
speakers – one from the USA and the other from the UK - to raise our knowledge to a higher
level and inspire us to take appropriate action, individually and
Dr Nazia Khanum OBE DL, Chair, UNA-Luton
Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire
Lord Bill McKenzie of Luton
Sarah Owen MP, Luton North
Rachel Hopkins MP, Luton South
Andrew Cameron Bailey
Facilitated by Dr David Cheesman, Secretary, UNA-Luton
Click on the links below to see the recordings of the presentations
USA-based founder of Sacred Earth Enterprises – a company which is developing economically-viable climate solutions. Among many other things, he is also a film maker, photographer, inventor, author, designer/builder, entrepreneur and a visionary thinker in the realms of climate restoration and the evolutionary potential of humanity.
UK-based Teacher, Environmentalist and Quaker. His passion for the restoration of the environment has transformed him into an enterprising beekeeper and honey producer. He is a living manifestation of the slogan “Make Everyday Earth Day”
Organised in partnership with the United Nations Association Climate and Oceans, to raise awareness about the importance of our ocean for climate and the need for urgent action and international cooperation to stop devastating climate change. Left alone to run its course, the climate crisis is likely to make our planet uninhabitable by humans and most other life forms.
Chair of United Nations Association - Luton Branch: Introduction
High Sheriff of Bedfordshire: Message of support
Mayor of Luton: Welcome to Luton
Chairman, United Nations Association Climate and Oceans, marine biologist and oceanographer: Main presentation on Climate crisis - our ocean, our future
Secretary of United Nations Association - Luton Branch: Facilitation of question and answer session
9-year old child rights activist and climate campaigner in New York: Call for action, with special emphasis on impact on Bangladesh, her country of origin and one of the most vulnerable front-line states. Click on her picture above to see her statement.
The complete recording of the Zoom conference is now available on YouTube
Presentations by Dr Nazia Khanum OBE DL, Chair of UNA-Luton; Susan Lousada, High Sheriff of
Bedfordshire; Councillor Maria Lovell, Mayor of Luton; Gonzalo Alvarez, Chair of UNA Climate and Oceans
Statement by Faatiha Aayat, 9-year old climate campaigner from New York; Question and Answer session facilitated by Dr David Cheesman, Secretary of UNA-Luton
Sir David Attenborough's message to the United Nations Ocean Conference
A brief report of the conference will be posted soon, with an action plan. 83 delegates participated. They came from all parts of the world - from Tierra del Fuego to the Philippines - and brought a wealth of local experience and expertise to the discussion. It was agreed that the meeting should be followed up by action, as a basis for developing an international campaign, working with other climate change organisations to tackle the critical issues raised in Gonzalo Alvarez's sobering presentation.
There was particular concern about the failure of governments around the world to meet their international commitments. Those of us based in the United Kingdom were invited to contact their MPs and encourage them to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill which is being presented to Parliament by 96 MPs from all parties.
Conference on Climate change: negotiations, actions and
movements University of Bedfordshire and UNA-Luton, 6 November 2017
The event started with the raising of the UN flag to
celebrate UN Day and was opened by Bill Rammell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire and Honorary President of UNA-Luton
all-day multi-disciplinary event involved simulated and participatory
activities to generate effective learning
and networking opportunities. An innovative feature of the day was the
role-play 'World Climate Negotiations.' This was set up as an
international conference on climate change to negotiate carbon emission
targets. Participants were assigned to specific countries, fossil fuel
lobby groups or environmental NGO groups and given the appropriate
negotiating brief. They were not allowed to choose countries or groups
of their own preference and no prior understanding of climate change or
sustainable development was needed. Participants reported that they had
learned from the experience and found it an exciting approach to the