On 25 June, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) held a virtual dialogue with representatives from various faith and spiritual traditions to share their visions for a “new normal” in a post-2020 world.
Alexandra Masako Goossens-Ishii of SGI was invited to contribute to the first IUCN Virtual Dialogue of the #BuildBackBetter series from a Buddhist perspective, addressing concepts such as the interconnectedness of all life and coexistence. She explained that Soka means value creation, the positive aspects of reality that are brought forth when individuals creatively engage with the challenges of daily life. She also discussed the importance of education, while recognizing that just learning about facts can leave people feeling powerless and overwhelmed. Education that inspires hope for the potential of each person to initiate change in their own community is what, Goossens-Ishii stated, the SGI with the Earth Charter International aimed for in developing their “Seeds of Hope” exhibition, which highlights stories of empowerment.
The dialogue was co-organized by the IUCN’s Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP), its Specialist Group on Religions, Spirituality, Environmental Conservation and Climate Justice (ReSpECC) and the IUCN Nature-Culture Initiative. Other speakers included representatives from A Rocha International, Brahma Kumaris, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Faith for Earth, Quaker Institute for the Future, Gaia Foundation, Pacific Conference of Churches, Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
More than 70 people joined the dialogue, and Grethel Aguilar, IUCN’s Acting Director-General provided closing remarks.