This year the event took on a green spin, with organizers asking people to bring their own plates and utensils. But there were many more green elements, my friend from Green Prophet reports.
Other green ways of supporting the event included car-sharing and facebook invitations. Experiential lectures and workshops on making and using bio-fuel, and input from the good people at the NGO Bustan on bedouin and ecology complemented the programme, with many sharing & listening circles, voice & dance sessions, etc. Late night performances from Berry Sakhorov, Yair Dalal, and chilling out around a bonfire to the sounds of the friars chanting in the monastery 'up the track' rounded out the event.
James attended a special panel discussion on Ecology and Religion in an open sided tent on Wednesday, where people like Michael Kagan, co-founder of The Jewish Climate Initiative, asked the multi-faith crowd: "What would the world be like without humans?"
There seemed general consensus, says James that humans have been the bringers of doom upon ourselves, and we could be wiped away through the effects of global climate change. A Tibetan Lama, Geshe Thubten Phelgive, highlighted human greed; Sheik Mahmoud J'arabia, from the Bedouin village of Wadi Nam explained how the Koran made it explicitly clear that "We are of the earth, from the dirt," and as this is our starting and ending point, why not respect it? The sheik's been building his village mosque with mud and straw, James adds.
A Christian missionary said, "Love all that he created." While Rav Oded Mizrahi talked of his own journey and told a Talmud tale of a river saying to a man "You're for maybe, but I'm for sure."
I interpreted this as an acknowledgment of the responsibility of faiths to accept their part in the environmental disaster we find ourselves in at the end of the 21st Century. And yet, all representatives seemed to agree, that it is these same faiths which must also take responsibility in leading their followers (and the global community, together) out of degradation and collapse, back, somehow, toward the pristine wilderness in which Adam and Eve found themselves in Bereshit [Genesis].
To read the whole poetic story, click here.