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Language: English / Gàidhlig


Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 09 November 2021 [Draft]

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Covid-19, Young Persons Guarantee and National Training Transition Fund, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, Long Covid


Time for Reflection

Good afternoon. I remind members of the Covid-related measures that are in place and that face coverings should be worn when moving around the chamber and across the Holyrood campus.

The first item of business is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader today is Aparna Ramesh, who is Interfaith Scotland’s development officer and secretary of the Hindu Temple of Scotland in Rutherglen.

Aparna Ramesh (Interfaith Scotland and Hindu Temple of Scotland)

Namaste. Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, I thank you for the opportunity to address you today.

I will begin with a few lines from Hindu scriptures.

“Mata bhumih putro’ham prthivyah.”

In translation, that means, “The Earth is my mother and I am her child.”

“Samudhra Vasane Devi, Parvatha sthana mandale
Vishnu Pathni namasthubyam, Paadha sparsham kshamasvame”.

My morning begins every day with that prayer to our Mother Earth. In Hinduism, the Earth is revered as Mother, and we are her children. Thus, we have a responsibility to this Earth, which supports our lives and livelihood. We can fulfil that by treating the Earth and all our fellow living beings with respect and kindness. To me, that is what climate action is trying to achieve.

I grew up in India, where I was taught not to waste water or any resources that are provided by nature. It is also the place where I faced water scarcity and floods in the same year. Such adverse climate conditions have only got worse over the years, but people are resilient. Humanity has proved time and again that, in the face of adversity, we can come together and work to overcome it.

Humanity is at a pivotal point in the fight against climate crisis and, with the 26th United Nations climate change conference of the parties—COP26—happening in Glasgow now, it might very well be the time that the most important decisions are being made in this battle. It fills me with hope to see people from around the world overcoming barriers of language, culture, distance and disease to come together for the planet.

With this being Interfaith Scotland’s year of climate action, faith communities and interfaith groups across Scotland have actively been working towards the goals of sustainability and climate education. From 31 October to 7 November, we celebrated Scottish interfaith week, which began with a prayer vigil in George Square in Glasgow. Religious leaders and people of different faith communities across the United Kingdom led the prayer. People of all faiths and none came together in person and joined us online to pray for a positive outcome from COP26.

Together for the planet is the theme for COP26, and I hope that it continues to be the motto for humanity’s future.

Ohm Shanthi Shanthi Shanthi hi!

I thank Aparna Ramesh for her words. I am sorry that we were unable to provide a videolink today.