ISKCON recently organized the International Summit on Environment and Economy (SEE-2015) in the port city of Kochi, India, in an attempt to bring together various stakeholders to discuss and deliberate to unearth the deeper aspects of the environmental and business ethics problems so as to arrive at well-rounded and holistic solutions.
The two-day event held on 9th and 10th of October was inaugurated by Mr. Prakash Javadekar, India’s Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Presenting the keynote address, Minister Javadekar appreciated ISKCON’s role in promoting natural lifestyle through its 65 self-sustainable eco villages around the world along with its food distribution program.
“Some believe that it is impossible to achieve environment preservation and development simultaneously. But, I believe they can happen together. For this, we need to develop sustainable communities, and sustainable development means providing jobs through development without disturbing the environment,” said Prakash Javadekar.
SEE-2015 serves as a thoughtful precursor to the United Nations Climate Change Conferences (UNFCCC) in November at Paris, which would host 195 countries. Minister Javadekar requested that an overview of the deliberations at this summit be sent to him for reference before the upcoming climate change meetings in Paris.
While the October 9th session was dedicated to the theme of “Environment and Sustainability”, the October 10th session deliberated on the topic of “Business and Leadership Ethics”.
The Summit, a first of its kind meeting for ISKCON and the city of Kochi, saw in attendance leading environmental experts, businessmen, government officials, faith-leaders, professors and college students from various Indian cities along with delegates from 6 other countries.
“Conferences on these themes have been held in the past, so we wanted to offer a forum where all the stake holders are brought under the same roof to get balanced viewpoints. The conference consisted of individual presentation along with panel discussions to allow the audience to share their views or ask questions,” said Yudhistir Govinda Das, Co-organizer of the event.
A host of noted speakers from India and abroad who spoke on the first day included Dr Chandrashekar Hariharan, a national figure in the area of green residential enclave, Dr Ramchunder Singh who has served as the Executive Director of the International Energy Forum and advisor to the Government of South Africa along with UV Krishna Mohan Rao who heads UVKM Associates and has served as a consultant to United Nations, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and USAID.
Brian Bloch a renowned ADR expert who serves as a consultant to the US Interior Department, Jeevandas Narayan, Managing Director of State Bank of Travancore, and Rajeev Dubey who serves as the President for HR & Corporate Services for the Mahindra Group were some of the speakers for the second day.
Climate Justice, Sustainability, Energy Management, Companies of the Future, Ethics and Leadership Environment & World Religions, Yoga of Business was some of the topics that were covered.
Bhakti Vinoda Swami who oversees ISKCON activities in parts of South India and the co-organizer of the Summit spoke on the subject of ‘The Climate Change Within’ said “we are passing through a crucial juncture in the history and face great challenges which requires a holistic and ethical approach to deal with. This is something our founder, Srila Prabhupada, stressed very much on. “
“One of the key areas of this Summit was to help people become sensitized about these issues and recognize the idea that we need solutions that address not just external aspects of the problem but also the internal,” said Anuttama Dasa, ISKCON’s International Director of Communications, Governing Body Member and a speaker at the summit.[ environment ] [ south india ] [ climate summit ] [ Kochi ]