Catch up with Tread lightly 2023

Footsteps held its 8th Annual Tread Lightly on Tuesday evening 21 November at the Al-Mahdi Institute in Selly Oak as part of Birmingham’s National Interfaith Week activities.

‘Tread Lightly on this Earth 2023’ was a more reflective and spiritual occasion than previous Tread Lightly conferences.  This year the focus was on the way that religions and their writings provide faith community members, and people of no faith, with the hope, inspiration, and motivation to act in the light of the climate and biodiversity crisis we are facing. 

We had three speakers

  1. Islam and the Environment – Dr Zoheir Ali Esmail, Al-Mahdi Institute,
  2. Sikh and Hindu wisdom on the ‘illusion of separation’ from nature – Sonia Bhamra, photographic artist and
  3. Incorporating ‘care for the Earth’ into Christian sermons – Rev John Nightingale

Table discussions and questions to a speaker panel were also included together with an update on Footsteps’ plans for 2024. We closed with a Buddhist reflection.

The conference broke new ground and made connections for Footsteps, including the role of visual images in communicating the need to care for the environment.  One comment was that the conference demonstrated the need to keep working on how to apply faith to the environmental and biodiversity crises as they were not issues when the various scriptures were written.

The conference built on the Footsteps’ 2019 report Birmingham Climate Emergency – The Role for Faith Communities and how ‘faith traditions share a belief that we have a collective responsibility to ‘care for the Earth’ and to love and care for people.’ 

You can download the three main Tread Lightly 8 presentations below:

See the photo series ‘the Illusion of Separation’ on Sonia Bhamra’s website. Above: a detail from ‘Save our Forests’ used by permission of the artist.

The Buddhist reflection on Nourishment and Healing we heard read was:

‘Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption,

  • I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming.
  • I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness.
  • I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations.
  • I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment.
  • I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption.
  • I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth.’
‘Mindfulness Training #5, Plum Village’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *