Learnings in Bangkok

Chaya Praya River Bangkok

Bangkok sprawls across a huge delta, where the Chao Phraya River slowly enters the Gulf of Siam, generating and renewing immense wetlands (now largely rice fields and prawn farms). For ten days (Aug 4 – 15, 2008), an extraordinary group of 23 people met in Bangkok, to enflesh their dreams of a better world for us all, where human and earth rights are both respected.

With deep roots in the Catholic tradition, and specifically the Franciscan and Edmund Rice charisms, they opened themselves to three major streams of thought – the scientific, the technical and the legal. Their aims? To see the world, and their local area, in a new way, so that they could renew or initiate local projects, involving people and Earth in new partnerships.

They came from Kiribati, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Timor Leste, most of them from poor villages and damaged ecosystems. Through the science of ecology, they saw themselves as part of their local ecosystems. Through the practical techniques of organic farming, they learnt further skills in producing food sustainably, within those ecosystems. Through studies in international environmental law, they were prepared to protect their local ecosystems from external threats.

In the tropical wetlands of Thailand, the group experienced the powerful cross-fertilisation of numerous streams and currents – the ideas, skills and attitudes of the others present. On the deep soil of their own spiritual lives, they received the rich offerings of many possibilities. Like the delta creating new land, pushing out into the sea, they emerged with new hopes and new plans.

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