Parallel Session 5: The Heartware of Sustainability – Faith, Spirituality, and Local Wisdom

Oct 25
Room 105, Maha Chulalongkorn Building

With ethics as a balancing force, the philosophy for sustainability deeply connects with spirituality.  Contemporary examination of old economic and social dilemmas provide hind-sights and empirical evidence of how spirituality can provide much needed guidance to strengthen responses toward economic, social and ecological sustainability.   As postulated by Dhiman & Marquez (Dhiman S & Marquez J (eds). 2018. Spirituality and Sustainability. New Horizons and Exemplary Approaches. Springer), if material development is to be sustainable, spiritual progress should be internalized as a good part of the algorithm of human development.  Therefore, whereas states and non-state entities may exert their influences, it often comes back to the reliable spiritual powers of individuals to heal themselves, their community and the biosphere which is vital to survival of all living beings.

There are of course many valid interpretations of “spirituality”.  One would be held by the believers of God, with their text of wisdom that becomes the moral guidelines.  In connecting with “sustainability”, “spirituality” would provide guidelines that harbor the 5 R principles, namely reference (to the text), redistribution (of welfare), respect (of others), restraint (in consumption and production) and restoring (resources that are finite and vulnerable).    One example, from Indonesia, took an innovative approach, harnessing education at the grassroots, and then combining Islamic principles of environmental protection with traditional conservation methods (Mangunjaya FM & McKay, JE. 2012. Reviving an Islamic approach for environmental conservation in Indonesia. Worldviews 16: 286–305).  

Society, however, continues to face the challenges toward developing adequate understanding of these principles and putting them into practice with Faith, Spirituality and Wisdom at the heart of sustainability.  This session will illustrate the why, when and how.