05 November 2009

31 Days - An Open Letter to Local Leaders of Faith Communities

I thought you might like to know that you and your flock are being officially invited to join in the greatest initiative that world religions have ever taken on.

Agence France-Presse
reported earlier this week that the leaders from nine of the world's major faith groups met at Windsor Castle in the UK on Tuesday, November 3 to discuss how religion can get behind the fight against climate change. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the event under the banner "Faith Communities for a Living Planet."

This ecumenical meeting was co-staged by the United Nations and Prince Philip's Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC).
Representatives from Baha’ism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism, Sikhism, and Taoism were to present programs that "could motivate the largest civil society movement the world has ever seen," said U.N. Assistant Secretary General Olav Kjorven. "Eighty-five percent of humanity follow a religion, a figure that shows the power of faith to move billions," he pointed out.

Speaking of numbers, according to ARC, faith-based groups "own nearly 8 percent of habitable land on Earth, operate dozens of media groups and more than half the world’s schools, and control 7 percent of financial investments worth trillions.
" That's a lot of clout!

"We expect to send a strong signal from religion to governments that we are extremely committed. It’s about religions mobilizing their followers to act against climate change," Kjorven said in the interview.

Peter Newell is a professor at the University of East Anglia in England who has tracked climate activism for over 10 years. He believes that religion "the traction" to create a truly global movement. "It would be a huge mobilizing force if people started to frame the issue of climate change in religious terms," he has noted.
What we really need is a combined faith voice calling for a global emergency response and calling on climate scientists and the world's scientific organizations to join in out of a sense of morality - or at least a moral duty.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?