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One Earth Action:

Convergence for Climate Justice in New Orleans

Training Emerging Leaders from Diverse Faith Traditions

June 20-24th, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Young members of our Buddhist and mindfulness communities based in the US are invited to take part in a unique leadership training opportunity this June in New Orleans, Louisiana. This is the second Convergence training program for emerging leaders in climate justice age 21 to 35 offered by our friends at GreenFaith in regions around the world. The first occurred last summer in Rome, Italy and, in addition to this one in Louisiana, the next two are planned for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Mumbai, India.  

This event offers a unique opportunity for young practitioners interested in engaging on climate issues to build connections with each other and those in other faith traditions in an experience of widening Sangha. They can learn how other faiths view environmental issues and have the chance to express and develop their Buddhist or mindfulness lens on engagement as practice. Older members of our communities can also play a part by helping to identify, encourage and arrange sponsorship young potential leaders.

The full description from GreenFaith follows below. Note that the application deadline is April 18th and a sponsoring organization is required.

GreenFaith’s first Convergence event last summer in Rome, Italy
GreenFaith’s first Convergence event last summer in Rome, Italy

What’s a Convergence?

It’s leadership training, and more.  It’s a coming together of many voices and many perspectives into a powerful and effective network. It’s a gathering of emerging leaders who want to put their beliefs into action for the environment in meaningful ways.

The North American Convergence, to be held at beautiful and historic Tulane University in New Orleans, will bring together leaders, ages 21 to 35, from diverse religious and spiritual traditions.  Participants will learn about climate justice, visiting communities in New Orleans and the Bayou that were devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and are continually threatened by rising sea levels.  Participants will hear stories of these communities’ resilience and responses, and receive training that will help develop the skills to become better religious-environmental leaders.   Additional training will be offered digitally before and after the Convergence to help participants refine their voice and their skills.

The North American Convergence is one in a series of Convergences which GreenFaith is holding for religious-environmental leaders from the Millennial generation. It follows last June’s Convergence in Rome, where 110 people from 30 countries gathered, and will follow a similar training in Rio de Janeiro in early June, 2016, for leaders from Latin America.

GreenFaith Convergences create a diverse and engaged community, made up of religious-environmental leaders from many faiths and spiritualities, ethnicities, political affiliations, cultures, genders and sexual orientations. It’s a global community characterized by mutual respect, generosity of spirit, and commitment to action.

What Will We Learn and Do During Our Time Together?

In 2005, the world watched as Hurricane Katrina bore down on New Orleans and Louisiana with deadly force.  Only a month later, Hurricane Rita decimated many of Louisiana’s coastal communities. The images that surfaced in these storms’ aftermath introduced the realities of environmental racism and climate injustice to a larger audience than ever, as people saw clearly that those who suffered the worst of the storms’ impacts were persons of color, and the poor.

New Orleans and its surroundings will serve as our classroom during the Convergence, and its faith and community leaders will be our instructors and guides.

We will visit communities in New Orleans and the Bayou impacted by these storms, and will hear stories of response and resilience from local activists and leaders from indigenous communities in the region.  These stories and examples mirror patterns of environmental injustice that play out on a global scale, and offer us the opportunity to learn together about how to address these issues.

Through the Convergence training, participants will also develop a deep understanding of their own motivation and source of inspiration for environmental leadership, and gain skills in public speaking, advocacy, and organizing.  Participants will learn through presentations by local and national spiritual-environmental leaders, peer teaching, discussion groups and open-space learning.  Each participant will write his/her own eco-theological statement, and create an action plan for future work.

Why is the Convergence Community Valuable?

The Convergence community is a global network of hundreds of religious-environmental leaders.  It is unparalleled in its diversity, size and impact, offering a network focused specifically on the needs and interests of younger religious-environmental leaders.

Through the Convergence community, you will have the opportunity to meet, learn from, and build collegial relationships with your peers, as well as connect to global leaders of dynamic and effective religious-environmental organizations.   The experience is truly transformative, and one that results in lifelong collaborators and friends.

Learn more and apply here. 

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