Story | 08 Jan, 2021

Seeds of Hope & Action: New educational resources to inspire transformative action

CEESP News: by Dr Alexandra Masako Goossens-Ishii*

The global Covid-19 pandemic has awakened us to the interdependence between all living beings and their environment. Educational tools that inspire hope in each person to initiate a positive change are key to overcome feelings of powerlessness. This article highlights new resources introduced during the “Spiritual Dimensions of a New Era” virtual dialogue.

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Photo: Soka Gakkai

Panels of the Seeds of Hope & Action Exhibition. Photo by Soka Gakkai

The global Covid-19 pandemic has awakened us to the interdependence between all living beings and their environment, as we realized that the pandemic crisis directly related to the deep imbalances we have created in our ecosystems because of our exploitation of natural resources and consumption-driven lifestyles that are exceeding the capacity of Mother Earth to sustain us.

The pandemic has also impacted environment, biodiversity and climate change discussions as more and stronger voices are calling for taking this opportunity to reshape the 21st century economy towards real carbon neutrality, protecting biodiversity and putting social justice and human rights at the center.

Participants in the CEESP Virtual Dialogue on “Spiritual Dimensions for a New Normal” held in June 2020 highlighted the potential of each person to initiate change in their own community. Education that inspires hope in this potential is key to transformative action.

This is what the SGI and Earth Charter International aimed for in developing the “Seeds of Hope & Action: Making the SDGs a Reality” (SOHA) exhibition, which encourages viewers to overcome feelings of powerlessness and highlights the fact that a single individual can initiate positive change.

While stressing our interconnectedness with the rest of the community of life and the need to broaden our sphere of compassion, the 24-panel SOHA exhibition also introduces a positive vision for sustainable living that can contribute to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also includes stories of hope from six individuals from South Sudan and Bangladesh to Lebanon and Brazil who have successfully taken action for change with their own values and beliefs. For instance, Jomber Chota Inuma, an Indigenous Reforestation Expert from the Soka Institute for Environmental Studies and Research of the Amazon, shares about his efforts to regenerate the forest by planting more than 20,000 native species on the site of the Soka Institute. He now leads a program of seed collection and seedling production and 4,000 trees have been planted in Manaus.

The SOHA exhibition is an updated version of the “Seeds of Hope: Visions of sustainability, steps toward change” exhibition created in 2010 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Earth Charter. The initial section introduces the idea of interconnection with inspiring quotes from different spiritual and faith traditions. There are newly added panels on climate change, the SDGs and the Mapting app, which is a free mobile App to discover the SDGs and promote sustainable actions and projects through picture and video sharing.

Seeds of Hope & Action: New educational resources to inspire transformative actionPhoto: Dr Alexandra Masako, Soka Gakkai
The SOHA exhibition now also includes QR codes providing links to further information for online use. An interactive page has been created to collect online viewers’ ideas for action inspired by the exhibition.

* Dr Alexandra Masako Goossens-Ishii is Programme Coordinator at the Soka Gakkai International Office for UN Affairs, Geneva