Gopal Patel Addresses Spirituality and Climate at TED Countdown Summit

Faith-based environmental activist Gopal D. Patel,  associate director for interfaith and UN relations at the Center for Earth Ethics, recently delivered “The unexpected way spirituality connects to climate change” at the TED Coundown Summit, TED’s climate action initiative.

In his talk, Patel laid out a framework to help individuals and communities “build resiliency and keep momentum” in the midst of the highs and lows of climate action. Given that many working on climate change “might be feeling scared or stuck, hopeless or maybe even burnt out,” this resiliency is urgently needed.

My invitation to us all is that we find our big idea and create communities, rituals and practices with renewed intention and purpose. This framework not only has the potential to help us build resiliency and momentum but it can profoundly transform the world.

Patel developed this framework through years of considering the ways in which religion and spirituality can support the broader environmental movement. The three core components of this framework, drawn from various religious and spiritual traditions, are sangha (community), sadhana (rituals and traditions), and seva (purposeful action). In providing these core components and combining them with a deeper sense of intentionality and a “big idea” (however a given tradition defines their understanding of the sacred or divine), religious and spiritual groups help generate a sense that individuals within the group are connected with something beyond themselves. This powerful combination “not only has the potential to help us build resiliency and momentum, but it can profoundly transform the world.”

The full transcript can be found on the TED website

Ned Joyner

Ned Joyner

Ned Joyner is the communications and education associate at the Center for Earth Ethics.