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Lions Roar : January 2018
Obama had recently been elected Presi- dent, and with his commitment to sci- ence everyone thought his participation would help galvanize support for climate action. It was also the first time that civil society organizations from around the world were participating in the debate to such a great extent. Thousands of people poured into Copenhagen. We were one of the few spiritual groups. Our delegation consisted of about twenty religious teach- ers from various traditions. EIGHT YEARS AGO, the Contempla- tive Alliance brought a delegation of spiritual teachers to COP 15—the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. There was much optimism going into the conference because Barack FROM WHERE I SIT Why We Must March Only spiritual awakening will produce the deep inner and outer change we need, says DENA MERRIAM of the Contemplative Alliance. That’s why sincere practitioners of all faiths must stand up and be heard. What we encountered in Copenhagen made clear the urgent need for spiritual teachers, practitioners, and organizations to bring their meditation cushions, meta- phorically speaking, into the center of the public square. At the political level, there was complete dysfunction and break- down, and no agreement was reached. At the civil society level, there was full- blown frustration and anger. Our delegation of spiritual teachers was able to maintain an island of sanity, and many people told us how much they CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE JILLHARMSPHOTOGRAPHY DENA MERRIAM has worked for more than twenty years to strengthen the voices of the dharma traditions in the interfaith movement. She is the founder of the Global Peace Initiative of Women and a founding member of the Contemplative Alliance. Interfaith leaders lock arms to resist white supremacy and neofascism in Charlottesville, Virginia, target of a violent neo-Nazi rally. LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2018 15