Sunday, September 7, 2008
Reflections on a Greener ISNA
It's been a couple weeks since our Green MUSLIM Movement session at the ISNA Convention in Columbus, Ohio, so it's time to reflect. Let me start by sharing a few thoughts and favorite moments from the convention here, and then follow up on the specifics of our session and next steps in the next post, insha'Allah.
I found myself stepping outside at ISNA often, to that little outdoor courtyard adjacent to the convention center's cafe. Sitting there in the shade of the young honey locust trees, I ate, caught up with old friends, made new ones and, of course, prepared for our session. Mostly, I was just coming out to breathe.
Not that it was stuffy in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, a new facility with high ceilings and much open space. Even though everything you'd need – food, drink, oxygen, lodging, convenience store, express shipping, etc. – is right there inside the building, it's hard to be inside for that long... sunshine and fresh air just can't be beat.
Speaking of air, the AC in the huge prayer hall kept the conditions in there refrigerator-like. I'm sure I wasn't the only one to notice that. It came up in conversation towards the end of the weekend when someone I was talking to noted that it's hard to have a "green" convention when the facility isn't. Very true.
I wonder what folks thought of praying on the corrugated cardboard rolled out there in that main hall? Perhaps praying on paper products indoors is the closest we can get to praying on plants outside? Does paper join us in tasbih and sujuud in a way that synthetic material doesn't?
Finally, the new moon and Ramadan... Muslims looking skywards, looking inwards. Some of us made our first taraweeh prayers of the month on those cardboard mats there in the main hall on Sunday evening, and fasted the next day. Some of us waited until Tuesday to start the blessed month. Regardless, Ramadan mubarak to all!