Five Questions for Rhonda Fabian
Rhonda Fabian of Rose Valley is convener of the first Climate, Consciousness, and Community Summit, which will be held April 20-23 at several locations in Media and Wallingford. She is also editor of Kosmos Journal, a quarterly e-magazine. Summit registration and other information is at kosmosjournal.org.
The Swarthmorean: How did the summit come about in Media?
Rhonda Babian: Findhorn Community in Scotland, a major European conference and eco-center, is staging a global event, called Climate and Consciousness, streamed live to various ‘hubs’ around the world. Kosmos Journal decided to organize one of the larger hubs. Media is part of the growing Transition Town Movement, a global initiative to reduce carbon in the atmosphere by working together as communities to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, improve emergency preparedness, and get back to basics like knowing your neighbors and supporting local economy. So partnering with Transition Town Media (TTM) seemed natural to Kosmos. And it is my home.
TS: What is your role as convener?
RB: We all know, deep in our heart, that the Earth is in trouble, but we don’t know what we can do about it. The problems seem too big. That is why we come together — to learn and find inspiration. As convener, I am just a conduit for the wisdom and spirit of service that already exists here in Swarthmore/Media and in my greater Kosmos community.
Kosmos Journal was entrusted to me, as editor, by its 90-year-old founder, Nancy Roof, following two decades of conscious publishing about the many challenges confronting humanity. We enjoy consultative status at the UN, as an NGO, and thus are in touch with some of the clearest thinkers on the planet about our global commons, changing climates, social justice, and so on. I am lucky to have access to such thinkers and to live in a community where many people, especially young people, are already aware of what’s happening.
TS: How do the ideals/goals of the Summit sync with your personal priorities? How did you become globally oriented?
RB: It is in our human nature to take care of what we love. Until we learn to fall in love again with the Earth, our actions to take care of it will fall short. I have always felt most peaceful and alive in nature. My family had modest means, but as a child I could ride my bike to the ocean and roam the woods with my dog. Later in life I began to chase other dreams, and for a while I forgot my deep connection to the Earth.
Now, as a Buddhist ordained by my teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, I have learned the insight of interbeing, that each aspect of creation relies on every other aspect in order to exist. We humans have been given special gifts for a special task — to be stewards of our precious planet. We have not done our best in this regard.
TS: Might there be future events with a different theme, or is all that subsumed in the climate focus?
RB: The intersectionality between climate and disparity, food, and even race is well documented and discussed. Many more events like this are needed so that we can all become more aware of these complex issues. It’s difficult to focus on climate effects we might not confront for 10, 20, even 30 years. And yet we can see many of these effects beginning to arise: severe weather events, water shortages, refugee crises, species loss, to name a few. We will be remembered for what we did or failed to do at this time in human history.
TS: Beyond attending the summit, what can each of us do to help understand and deal with climate change?
RB: Each of us can learn ways to take care of ourselves and our families that also protect the Earth. We can become conscious stewards of the places where we live. We can take on one small project at a time that will contribute to a more positive future for everyone. We do not have to do this work alone. Gatherings like the Climate Summit can give us a lot of encouragement, ideas and hope. This is joyful work we can undertake together, in harmony with all life.