Engaged Buddhism / At the Forefront of Environmental Activism

During “Action from the Heart” online retreat in February, Br Phap Linh had the unique opportunity to interview two special women in the environmental activism field – Christiana Figueres and Dr. Gail Bradbrook.

Thich Nhat Hanh and Sister Chang Khong have been engaged in work to heal the enviorment for many decades included helping to convene Europe’s first conference on the enviroment in 1970. So we were happy that the recent online retreat could include a conversation with two women at the forefront of efforts to mitigate the Climate Crisis.

Ms. Figueres is an internationally recognized leader on climate change. She was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010 to 2016. Dr Bradbrook has been researching, planning, and training for mass civil disobedience since 2010 and is a co-founder of the social movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) which rapidly spread internationally since its launch in October 2018.

Please enjoy highlights of this interview below. Our panelists take us on a journey from recognizing grief, seeing a paradigm shift in leadership and movements, to taking collective action and keeping joy alive while we work towards sustainability.

Honouring Grief

There is a…… “sacred grief” that we all partake of, which is the love of what was here on this planet… how much of it has disappeared and will continue to disappear and we have to really grieve that.

Christiana Figueres
Honouring Grief

And precisely because we have lost a lot, …… we have to garner all our intentionality to save what we have left …..

Christiana Figueres

The Role of Art in Reaching People

Dr Bradbrook speaks about the importance of art in the Extinction Rebellion movement.

The Importance of Art in Activism

The Great Paradigm Shift

In this section of the interview, panelists talk about the “rising feminine”, the need for gender balance in leadership, and bringing our whole being to our activism.

The Great Paradigm Shift

Collective Action

Christiana speaks about how deep listening and weaving threads of interests together brought about the Paris Agreement on climate change. Dr Bradbrook talks about keeping a movement cohesive.

“Trust the process….. and trust what you are listening to.”

Christiana Figueres
On Bring About Collective Action

When there are apparent differences of opinion, it is finding the non-controversial essence…. find the essence of the need

Dr Gail Bradbrook

Keeping the Joy Alive

Find our how these Christiana keeps her joy alive, finds inspiration and brings it into her work.

I make a point of regenerating my joy everyday.

Christiana Figueres
Keeping the Joy Alive

Everyday I’m overwhelmed [by] the abundance and beauty… and unfettered imagination of more and more and more shapes and sizes and colours…..

Christiana Figueres

Closing Meditation

This session closes with a wonderfully co-created guided meditation on gazing at the full moon, reaching star beings and listening to the trees.

Guided Meditation

More about our speakers

Christiana Figueres
During her tenure at the UNFCCC, Ms. Figueres brought together national and sub-national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions, and NGOs to jointly deliver the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, in which 195 sovereign nations agreed on a collaborative path forward to limit future global warming to well below 2°C, and strive for 1.5°C, in order to protect the most vulnerable. For this achievement, Ms. Figueres has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy and received multiple awards.

Since then Ms. Figueres has continued to accelerate the global response to climate change. Today she is the co-founder of Global Optimism, co-host of the podcast “Outrage & Optimism” and is the co-author of the recently published book, “The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis.

Ms. Figueres sits on multiple executive and advisory boards and is a frequent public speaker and media commentator. She is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the London School of Economics. She lives in Costa Rica and has two fantastic daughters.

Dr Gail Bradbrook
She has been researching, planning, and training for mass civil disobedience since 2010 and is a co-founder of the social movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) which rapidly spread internationally since its launch in October 2018.

Gail has been arrested four times for acts of civil disobedience, most recently at the Department for Transport and previously at BEIS and fracking and incinerator sites.

Gail is a mother of two boys ages 12 and 15 and has trained in molecular biophysics. Her talk on the science of the ecological crisis, the psychology of active participation, and the need for civil disobedience have gone viral and been part of the inspiration for many to join XR.

She is from Yorkshire, the daughter of a coal miner, and was recently named as one of the top 50 influencers in the UK by GQ and honored in a Women’s Hour Power list for her part in instigating a rebellion against the British Government.


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What is Mindfulness

Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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