Sr Catherine Donovan, Cllr Dan Boyle, Sr Mary Crowley

This past Saturday, in celebration of Earth Day earlier in the week, we gathered in the grounds at Ardfoyle, facing the brisk chill of an April morning. We came together to celebrate with a profound sense of shared purpose for the event, “Sacred Earth: Interfaith Perspectives on Sustainability,” organised by the Cork Three Faiths Forum in collaboration with the OLA and SMA Justice Offices, to explore the shared values of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity on environmental stewardship.

Fahmeda Naheed of the Cork Three Faiths Forum opened the day with a heartfelt welcome, followed by Cllr Dan Boyle, representing the Lord Mayor of Cork City, lending his support to our shared cause. The air was cool but the atmosphere warm with community spirit.

David Attenborough’s compelling video reminded us of our capacity to make lasting changes for our planet’s future, and this set the tone for the morning’s proceedings. Fahmeda Naheed, Clair Lalor, and Elaine Murray each spoke eloquently about how their faiths, Muslim, Judaism, and Christianity emphasise the importance of utilising resources judiciously, cultivating mindfulness towards wasteful consumer practices, abstaining from wanton destruction, nurturing nature, and upholding the sustainability of human life.

Maria Young from Green Spaces for Health provided invaluable insights by sharing actionable ideas aimed at promoting environmental stewardship and well-being. She offered practical strategies and initiatives that individuals and communities can implement to foster healthier ecosystems. Maria inspired attendees to actively engage in initiatives that prioritise the rewilding of our open spaces.

Ersha Naheed, although only 15, spoke with urgency, captivating the audience with her impassioned speech, resonating with a sense of urgency that served as a poignant reminder of our collective responsibility towards future generations. With unwavering determination and eloquence beyond her years, Ersha Naheed articulated the pressing need for immediate action to address the environmental challenges facing our world. Her words carried a weight that transcended generational boundaries, igniting a sense of duty and commitment within each listener. Through her compelling advocacy, Ersha Naheed not only shed light on the urgency of the environmental crisis but also inspired hope for a better tomorrow, where the voices of the youth play a pivotal role in shaping a sustainable and equitable future for all.

We took time for silent reflection, which allowed us to consider the messages of the day against the quiet backdrop of the convent’s gardens, starkly beautiful in the cold. The event closed with a communal prayer, a moment of unity that captured our collective commitment to act as guardians of our planet.

Thank you to all who joined us, braving the cold to affirm our responsibility to the Earth. Your participation not only enriched the dialogue but also reinforced our community’s dedication to nurturing and protecting our shared home.

See the photographs in the Facebook album: