Shining a Light on Spiritual Activism


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A Fierce Light shone on the 22 people who gathered for the second presentation in TransitionKW’s Tools of Change Movie Night trilogy at the REEP house on February 27tThe film, by media activist Velcro Ripper, spotlighted the roles of spirituality and activism in social movements. It profiles some famous personalities and common folk whose commitment and determination led to significant change in the face of opposition from superior political, financial and even armed forces. It highlighted social activist initiatives and leaders including: the American Civil Rights movement, Mahatma Gandhi, Desmond Tutu and a community garden in East L.A.

TransitionKW’s Movie Night series was the brainchild of Tracey Rayner who organized the event facilitated by Nick Belanger. Nick welcomed the audience, outlined the format for the evening and gave a brief history of the Transition movement, it’s purpose and goals. He spoke of the first Transition Town which was established in the U.K. In 2005. It’s goal was to equip the local community for the dual challenges of climate change and peak oil. From that humble beginning, the Transition movement has spread to 10,00 communities from Britain to Brazil, Australia to America, Portugal to Slovenia and here in Canada. TransitionKW is working to help build a more sustainable, connected, equitable and environmentally aware community in the Region of Waterloo. To do this, TransitonKW’s mission is to inform, inspire, support and provide useful tools as we move towards a more local, resilient and sustainable future.

An outstanding example of environmentally sustainable living served as the venue for the evening. REEP House, 20 Mill St., Kitchener, is the home of REEP Green Solutions. Julain van Mossel-Forrester, Communications Manager, REEP Green Solutions, outlined the mission of the environmental non-profit organization. It empowers our community towards healthier homes and sustainable living by providing the services, tools and programs people need to use energy and water wisely. If you haven’t visited REEP house yet, I recommend that you put it near the top of your to do list.

Before the lights were dimmed, Nick ask the audience to consider what the movie said to them about: if we were all spiritual, would the world look different; if we were all secular, what would the world look like; what qualities would be gained or lost? The responses that came out of the break-out groups were both insightful and thought provoking.

After the movie, audience members discussed a range of questions and impressions that came out of A Fierce Light. They talked about: the difference between rebels and revolutionaries, being reactive versus creative; spiritualism being a source of strength in the face of adversity; what one individual could do to bring about positive change – you are your community; the need for compassion when we encounter injustice; what Gandhi meant when he talked about “soul force”; what happens when spiritual people turn active and active people turn spiritual; the need for humanity in response to a threatened planet; the true meaning of spiritual activism and the various forms it can take as demonstrated by the women from Quebec dancing her way through a protest rally.

These and a host of other questions, thoughts and suggestions made for a lively exchange. Perhaps the main takeaway from the evening was that we are all individuals initially, but we can all make a difference by living in a way that influences and inspires others. It doesn’t have to be the big movement, it can just be a small moment We can all create “my place in the world” by keeping in mind that “right here, right now is the only place hope lives”.

Written by Bruce Dumbleton

About Sylvie Spraakman

Environmental engineer, environmental activist, and community volunteer. Loves KW!
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