The United Religions Initiative Cooperation Circle
Revivers of Indigenous Spirituality and Ecosystems (RISE)
A multiregional, URI-member organization, made up of indigenous spiritual leaders and their supporters, dedicated to building living heritage centers and local community organizations to protect the healing powers and the integrity of their traditions and ecosystems
Our Challenge, our mission and response
A majority of the worlds indigenous traditions and ecosystems are endangered. Generations of adults and school children have been taught that their beliefs are primitive superstitions. Knowing better, and in the era of climate change, we feel we have have three choices:
Mourn their loss.
Create written and film documentation.
Support their leaders and grassroots practitioners in preserving indigenous wisdoms and healthy ecosystems for future generations.
To create this support, and to preserve, share and apply this wisdom to end climate change is the mission of the RISE Circle.
This circle first formed in December 2014, during a Summit Gathering of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), held in the old fishing village of Yoff, Dakar, Senegal. The occasion for creating the circle was an invitation to members of GEN, who also were indigenous spiritual practioners to attend a ritual in a Ndeup spirit shrine. The ritual was a healing ceremony held to mitigate modern dangers to the shrine intself and to its neighbors. In concern for these and similar dangers a total of nine local and visiting practitioners sealed during this ceremony a pact to form a protective alliance of earth-based healers around the world. Additional members joined this group six months later at GEN's summer summit.
This first Circle became a multiregional Cooperation Circle (CC) of the United Nations' United Religions initiative, in October of 2015. Our second grassroots CC of Yoff Ndeup priestesses was in April 2016:
URI at the United Nations
1. URI holds a unique position at the United Nations. Although it's not part of the UN System of member governments, it has its own organizational base at UN Headquarters (URI-UN), which serves as a bridge between the UN and the URI's organizations around the world.
URI-UN hosts and co-sponsors peace and justice oriented events for UN country representatives, including: panel discussions offering religious and indigenous perspectives on UN issues; workshops, luncheons for diplomats, NGOs and UN staff and more. URI also serves on both the UN’s Department of Public Information and its Economic and Social Council.
URI itself (http://www.uri.org/) is a global grassroots interfaith network that engages people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world.
Its structure is made up of organizations called Cooperation Circles (CCs). The work of these CCs is URI's main program, independently organized, self-governing and self-funding. In 95 countries, in groups of a minimum of seven persons up to tens of thousands, they include at least 3 religious faiths or indigenous traditions as they build cooperation among people of all faiths and traditions
Some examples of CC projects include:
Working with government officials, teachers and police to increase social cohesion and stem violence before it starts in urban areas of Catalonia
Urban reforestation in New Delhi, India
And in our own cases, working in RISE cooperation circles to:
preserve and recover our endangered indigenous traditions;
apply their wisdom to restoring our ecosystems and
make our voices heard by government officials, school systems and local and global partners.
Our Main Hypothesis
This picture of Dr. Abdou Rahman Tamba, Jeckanaay - (Mandinka) Shaman, explaining his restored coastal ecosystem of Pointe Sarene, in the Thiès Region of Senegal, illustrates the effects we hope to see in the first formal research hypothesis, which is that:
Ho: Spiritually inspired restoration of the environment has more potential capacity, than secular approaches to restoring and maintaining the ecological conditions needed to reverse climate change.
Dr Tamba is the founder and President of Senegal's oldest environmental NGO, SOS Environment, and a Scientific Director of GEN Africa.
His restored ecosystem has a comparatively cool, fresh climate, abundant fish and water birds, extensive permaculture and medicinal herb gardens and orchards, portions of which are stabilized using vetiver grass, as a hedge against errosion and as a cash crop for land management and roof thatching.