9.3 The Sacred Lifeline Project

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Location, location, location!

Where should we set up the laboratories for the Butterfly system and showcase prototype implementations? At a side meeting of a large Interfaith gathering in Paris prior to COP-21, it was felt that we should target prominent sacred sites for such projects. Approximately, 100 million people travel to sacred sites around the world each year. Therefore, if these intentional communities are showcased in sacred sites, then it becomes easier to spread awareness of the emergence of the Butterfly.

The Sacred Lifeline project envisions a network of radically inclusive, sustainable, off-grid, zero-waste communities, modeling and exemplifying a compassionate, vegan lifestyle, while advancing the sustainability goals of the parent towns and cities. These communities will be located in well-recognized sacred sites around the world to provide opportunities for a steady flow of pilgrims and visitors to experience such a lifestyle during their visits. Roughly half the community would be mentors/educators and permanent residents while the other half would consist of short-term visitors, or longer-term college students working on sustainability projects. The communities will develop and adopt open-source software tools and technologies to ensure that their ecological footprint does not exceed half the Earth if the whole world were to live that way. The open-source software tools and technologies developed in the Sacred Lifeline project will then inspire and enable these pilgrims and visitors to continue their lifestyle experience remotely. The goal is to spread this view of how to operationalize sacredness to every part of the Earth until we realize a radically inclusive, equitable human society that is in harmony with a thriving natural world.

Living arrangements in the Sacred Lifeline project would be designed to facilitate individual privacy while connecting with Nature and creating community around food production, preparation, sharing and enjoyment. We will implement the Sacred Lifeline project through partnerships with universities, academic institutions, NGOs, businesses and local markets, thereby connecting those who are transitioning towards a sustainable, compassionate lifestyle with suppliers of triple green products which are kind to humans (toxin-free), kind to the planet (pollution-free) and kind to animals (cruelty-free).

The Sacred Lifeline project will also help to close feedback loops in the current system, for example, through recycling waste water, composting food waste and agro-ecological farming. It will also provide affordable housing and healthy, organic, plant-based food preparation and delivery. There will be an Inter-Spiritual All-Faiths temple in each project location to signify the unity of all faith and wisdom traditions, including secular humanism and indigenous wisdom traditions, in this endeavor. The World Council of Religious Leaders is actively participating in the Sacred Lifeline project to bring the faith community onboard.

Each Sacred Lifeline center will also offer specialized courses in meditation, yoga and other techniques to build resiliency in these troubled, transitional times. Revenues generated at each Sacred Lifeline center would be used to fund re-wilding projects through the Earth Restoration Corps. The goal is to quickly realize the enormous carbon sequestration potential of regenerating native forests as the whole world goes vegan.

We are planning the inaugural Sacred Lifeline project in Crestone, Colorado, under the auspices of the Manitou Foundation[11], and in alignment with the enduring vision of Hanne Strong and her husband, the late Maurice Strong. To date, the Manitou Foundation has granted over two thousand acres of land to various spiritual, educational and environmental groups in Crestone and created a close-knit community of practitioners in the various faith and wisdom traditions of the world. In this “refuge for world truths” in the splendor of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, there are already over 25 different spiritual centers, including Buddhists, Shintos, Hindus, Sufis and Carmelite nuns. Not only is Crestone recognized as a spiritually uplifting place worldwide, but it is also a sacred place for the indigenous communities of North America. Therefore, it is an ideal place for a pioneering model community of the Sacred Lifeline project.

The Chrysalis Center at Crestone of the Sacred Lifeline Project will include a Vegan Experience Pavilion to connect Veganism and Ahimsa or non-violence in thought, word, and deed, as an essential response to climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification, toxic pollution and other environmental crises as well as our health, ethical and spiritual crises. We intend this Chrysalis Centre at Crestone to become a pilgrimage site for the global vegan community. The prime location of the Chrysalis Center presents greater visibility for Crestone in the global community.

With regard to local benefits, the surplus plant-based foods grown and prepared at the Chrysalis Center would be made available to the larger Crestone community and in return, the food waste from the Crestone community would be composted on the site in order to close the nutrient loop and replenish the soil.