International Conference, 1 – 3 November 2010, CEE, Ahmedabad, India
  Threads of Sustainability  

This plenary was held in the serene environment of the Sabarmati Ashram on the banks of river Sabarmati, from where Mahatma Gandhi had once orchestrated India 's historic and unprecedented freedom struggle based on the principle of non-violence or Ahimsa. The panel of speakers at the plenary session included Prof Steven Rockefeller, Chair, Earth Charter International Council; Prof. Mary Evelyn Tucker, Forum on Religion and Ecology and Earth Charter International Council; Rabbi Seotendorp, Earth Charter Commissioner; Vishwaguru Paramhans Swami and little Avatarpuri representing Yoga for Daily Life; Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Art of Living; Sister Valerine Bernard representing the Brahma Kumaris; Michael Slaby of the Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values; Kartikeya Sarabhai, Director, Centre for Environment Education and Tridip Suhrud from the Sabarmati Ashram.

Aptly titled ‘threads of sustainability', the plenary session was initiated by Rabbi Seotendorp who said that the key to unlock most challenges lay in dialogue. He handed out threads of handspun khadi to the dignitaries on the dais, asking each one to speak of their vision for future, pledge to do one thing for sustainability that they had not done before and then exchange the thread with someone at the conference with whom they had not as yet connected with. Vishwaguru Paramhans Swami said the thread of sustainability was first received when we were in our mother's womb all should remember this similar connection with Mother Earth too. Mary Evelyn Tucker asked everyone to show reverence to all life forms, gratitude for living, and humility for honoring the place of humans in nature. She said Gandhi and his Ashram give this message. She asked the audience to learn from Gandhiji's life, and understand the ‘migratory wisdom' that is displayed by birds in nature such as the Red Night Sand Piper. Sister Valerine Bernard narrating story of her life said that it was important to take the inner journey (of self contemplation). Emphasizing that nature is our wealth and that it was not right to harm nature, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar urged the audience to protect and care for it. He said that the Earth Charter shows us the way to do so. Steven Rockefeller concluded by remembering Kamala Chaudhuri and her immense contribution towards drafting of the EC for a more sustainable world. In this plenary it was generally acknowledged that there was much to learn from Gandhi and Nature.