Inter-faith Initiative Pushes to Mobilize Billions in Fight Against Climate Change

jew-christian-islam-muslim-judaismNearly one month before the climate talks in Copenhagen begin, a crucial event to reach out to the eighty-five per cent of humanity who follow a religion kicked off in London’s Windsor Castle.

From 2-4 November, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon co-hosted the global gathering of inter-faith leaders: Faith Commitments for a Living Planet. The meeting has important implications for the Middle East where faith plays a dominant role in culture and society.

At the event organized by Prince Philip and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), religious leaders from all the major faith traditions highlighted the earth’s fragility, and discussed initiatives to protect it against the ravages of climate change.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr. Ban stressed that, “without full support and cooperation of religious leaders it will be very difficult to obtain… a binding agreement in Copenhagen”.

World leaders will have a window of opportunity to seal a climate deal in Copenhagen this December, and “negotiations should be firmly supported by global citizens and
particularly when it comes to religious leaders since there are so many followers”, the UN Secretary General added.

According to the ARC, faith-based groups own nearly eight percent of habitable land on Earth, operate dozens of media groups and more than half the world’s schools, and control seven percent of financial investments worth trillions.

The various points of agreement on environmental ethics among the different religions illustrate the potential for the world’s faithful to spur positive environmental practices.

According to the UNEP publication Earth and Faith: A Book of Reflection for Action, the world religions condemn greed and destructiveness, and universally urge restraint and protection.

The event launched dozens of long-term commitments by all the major faith traditions including; transitioning to solar-powered Taoist Temples in China; creating faith-based eco-labelling systems in Islam, Hinduism and Judaism and greening all types of religious buildings, among other initiatives.

The event concluded on 4 November – one month before the key climate talks – with a panel discussion titled Many Heavens: One Earth – Faiths, the Environment and Copenhagen.

Participants included intergovernmental organizations and leading practitioners such as Sally Bingham, founder of Interfaith Power and Light and Olav Kjorven, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN.

::UNEP

Image via decals planet

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12 thoughts on “Inter-faith Initiative Pushes to Mobilize Billions in Fight Against Climate Change”

  1. CamdenRandel says:

    When it comes to environmental issues, religious leaders should be deeply involved as they can influence a lot of people that are their followers. Our salvation is in ourselves and in the good deeds that we do. Keeping this planet healthy there for preserving life should be on the agenda of any religious leader.

  2. CamdenRandel says:

    When it comes to environmental issues, religious leaders should be deeply involved as they can influence a lot of people that are their followers. Our salvation is in ourselves and in the good deeds that we do. Keeping this planet healthy there for preserving life should be on the agenda of any religious leader.

  3. CamdenRandel says:

    When it comes to environmental issues, religious leaders should be deeply involved as they can influence a lot of people that are their followers. Our salvation is in ourselves and in the good deeds that we do. Keeping this planet healthy there for preserving life should be on the agenda of any religious leader.

  4. Dear Sol, We'd be happy to have you report from the event. It sounds like an amazing opportunity. Too bad Australia is so far away for most of us in the Middle East. -Karin

  5. sol katz says:

    A Chance to Join “Faith and Greenery” at a Global LevelOn Dec. 3-9, 2009, the largest meeting of world religious leaders in history to focus on issues of “faith and greenery” is convening in Melbourne, Australia under the sponsorship of the Parliament of the World's Religions. The majority of the Parliament sessions, all of which include inter religious dialog alluded to in this article, are focused on the issue of “faith and greenery”, and the Parliament includes many sessions on exactly the topics that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed in the UK. In addition, Mary Evelyn Tucker, quoted in the Economist article on this speech, will be making a major new address on the topic. Readers are invited to attend the sessions and contribute to the Parliament. This is a rare opportunity to help this new approach toward helping the global faith communities become seriously involved in environmental issues. You can read more about its background, see the extensive program, and register online at: http://www.parliamentofreligions.org

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