Environmental Network: 2017 Year-End Update

20 December 2017, 7:46 PM
InterfaithSustain HarvestingPeace

The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development in Jerusalem, Israel launches Harvesting Peace to create edible gardens in sunny corners of schools. 

The end of 2017 brings exciting news from the regions. Many Cooperation Circles are tending to projects sowed years back and many are preparing for the coming season. We're lucky to catch updates spanning a variety of environmental projects as wide as the world, from tree plantings to faith-led direct action to vegan dinners and community building in the wake of environmental disaster. (Click the yellow highlights to read more).



  • Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCCcoordinates faith leaders to call upon politicians to turn away from fossil fuels in the name of cleaner and healthier environmental conditions and for the just treatment of native communities. 
  • Multifaith Association of Southern Australia organizes an interfaith dialogue around a faith-led community climate petition  calling for urgent reductions to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
ARRCC Stop Adani

Australian Religious Response to Climate Change calls on faith leaders to recognize their responsibility to unite for climate action

North America

  • Nashville Cooperation Circle hosts a climate vigil on the second anniversary of the UN 2015 Paris Climate Accord to celebrate the gift of Earth and lift up the need to take bold action to mitigate climate change.
  • California Bay Area Cooperation Circles support those affected by wildfires by providing housing, supplies, pastoral care and community. 

"While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the midst of so many natural disasters occurring in such a short time frame, find that calm, still center point within “all of our spiritual traditions.” -- Scott Quinn, Marin Interfaith Council 

  • The Salish Sea Bioregional Gathering brought together representatives from 17 Cooperation Circles and affiliates to focus on collective contemplation and the pressing needs of our environment.
  • Interfaith Climate Action Network of Contra Costa County hosts a free movie screening of “An Inconvenient Sequel,” the second edition of Al Gore’s efforts to influence international climate action. 


  • The Linda Tucker Foundation (South Africa) hosts a one-week environmental leadership experience for young people, including a night sleeping out under the TImbavati sky. 
  • Mother Earth Network (Kenya) participates in a UN event aimed at understanding the active role of faith-based organizations in the achievement of the 2030 sustainability agenda in Africa. 
  • Lilongwe Central CC (Malawi) are in the process of planting 1,200 saplings to help recover the construction-damaged land at the source of the Timbavati River. 
  • Forward in Action for Conservation of Indigenous Species (FACIS) (Nigeria) uses bio-intensive methods to prepare community gardens for winter organic food production. 
  • The Center for Environmental Education and Development (CEED) Nigeria is producing a series of TV shows airing on AIT Abuja focusing on a variety of issues related to organic farming including, genetically modified organisms, gender equity & challenges of land ownership, cassava processing, and agricultural politics. 
  • Southern Africa Regional Coordinator, Karen Barensché, delivered a speech about vegetarianism, including the mention of vegan-focused URI CCs, and joined a group discussion on the environmental importance of vegan diets. 


  • The Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) presents innovative solutions and ideas for regenerative development at the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the UNFCCC in Bonn, Germany. 
  • Compassion for All Living Beings CC (C4ALB) supports a vegan meal at the URI Global Staff gathering in Sarajevo, Bosnia in celebration of International Day of Peace 2017. 
  • Multiregion Coordinator, Frederica Helmiere, talks with the hosts of Faith & Reason 360 about the environment and about what lessons Christians can learn from their interactions with the natural world. 
GEN at COP23

Global Ecovillage Network at COP23 in Bonn, Germany

Middle East & North Africa

  • The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (Jerusalem, Israel) launches a faith-based campaign for solar energy in Africa. Their mission is "to put religious teachings on creation care through rapid deployment of solar energy and sustainable rural development into practice to combat climate change and support sustainable development in Africa." They've also started #HarvestingPeace, a project that focuses on brining agriculture to schools. 
  • The Directors of EcoPeace Middle East visit San Francisco, California to promote cooperative efforts to protect the shared environmental heritage of Jordan, Palestine and Israel. 
ICSD Solar

Founder of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, Yonatan Neril, speaks at an event hosted by Energiya Global about collaboration on the USAID's Power Africa project. 


  • Eight CCs from India's North Zone coordinate flood relief efforts, disaster management and first aid training for 4,000 people in the state of Bihar that were affected by a flood in August 2017. 
  • In November URI's  Environmental Coordinator, Katherine Hreib, visited Cooperation Circles in the West, East and North Zones of India to meet with CCs who are leaders in their community particularly around challenges of youth engagement and environmental care. 
Participating CCs

Participating CCs included: G3S Foundation, U-Day Festival, Sambaed CC, Sangria CC, Patiala CC, and Dwarka Peace Foundation CC. 

Latin America & The Caribbean

  • Quinaroa CC, an Indigenous CC in the Venezuelan Andes, works with an interdisciplinary team to make handmade soaps from extracts and oils to improve hygiene while creating economic opportunity that aligns with their environmental conservation efforts. 
Quinaroa CC handmade soaps

Quinaroa CC joins interdisciplinary team to create handmade soaps that are made from extracts and oils from medicinal plants, as a method to deal with the shortage of toilet soaps.

Cooperation Circles Involved


“Our purpose is to use the power of youth interfaith dialogue practitioners to heal the planet of environmental degradation.”

Mother Earth Network

"Our purpose is to provide an international platform for collective advocacy and information sharing on forest conservation and environmental management issues by motivating people, institutions, and religious groups to participate in the green programs."