Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Watershed Pilgrimage

The Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December is shaping up to be a "watershed event" according to the Director for Strategy at the UN Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC). What does this mean? The word watershed can mean either "a drainage area" or "the ridge dividing two drainage areas." In this case, the Paris Agreement is an opportunity for Governments to set aside their differences and join forces to chart a course avoiding further disruption to our only climate system OR failing that humanity will continue its relentless plunge the other way toward destruction. This Conference will be a watershed moment. Hold that thought.

The #PeoplesPilgrimage is an open source response from the human heart to the climate crisis. It's a way for everyone - of all faiths and none - to share our hopes and fears, and call for action on climate this year. Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light would like to plan and host an Arkansas Pilgrimage between now and December. We are open to suggestions for local or regional sacred places we want to protect from destruction of climate change.

Short of a better idea, what about this? The Arkansas House of Prayer is an interfaith haven set apart in nature, dedicated to contemplative prayer, meditation, and quiet. It also happens to be located precisely on a natural watershed. Rain on the north side flows to the Arkansas River by way of the Maumelle and Little Maumelle Rivers, whereas rain on the other side flows into the headwaters of Rock Creek and on south, then east to the Arkansas River by way of Fourche Creek. What if we were to use this (interfaith) sacred place and natural watershed as a symbol of the crucial "watershed" nature of COP21?

My suggestion would be for us to gather on the grounds of the House of Prayer for an opening ceremony, after which a small contingent would walk down Chenal Parkway north toward Chenonceau Blvd. The rest would walk south on the path along Chenal Parkway toward Rock Creek. It is two miles to Promenade at Chenal. Maybe we could rent one of the theaters at Chenal 9 IMAX for a documentary or a rally (or both). The group walking north to Aberdeen Court would bring a van back to the Promenade.