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Indian faiths promote "One Earth One Human Family" as US pulls out of climate deal

June 6 2017:

PHOTO: ISLAMIC RELIEF INDIA

This article was published on Speaking Tree, India in June 2017. It references the Bhumi Project and EcoSikh, both of which have emerged from ARC's work, and now are leading programmes in India and in the USA

By Ranjeni A Singh

Even as the US pulls out of the Paris climate accord,environment activists from across the world have decided to keep up the fight against global warming.They say the US has blatantly ignored the science and reality behind the greatest threat to Mother Earth.

They reiterate that the perils of climate change have brought people closer to each other. So, can climate change be a cause for celebration? Yes — if concrete steps are taken to reverse the negative effects of climate change by people of all nations and faiths.It will bring people closer, for the unity of humanity is the result of love and harmony between human beings and nature.

A multi-faith event was organised in the Capital earlier this week to spread the message of ‘One Earth, One Human Family’ by The Bhumi Project, EcoSikh and Islamic Relief India.The event also marked the second anniversary of ‘Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust’— a worldwide day of prayer and action for the planet and a call for world leaders to commit to a 1.5 degree limit on global temperature rise — launched by the US-based GreenFaith.

At the Paris climate conference held in 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever legally binding climate deal that set out an action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

Akmal Shareef, director of Islamic Relief-India — an international humanitarian relief organisation — said that faith can be a powerful tool when used positively for conservation of nature. He said the role of the faith community is critical in today’s world, which is witnessing a spurt in violence.

“People from different faiths have to come together and take collective action to check the effects of climate change on future generations. Stressing on the use of Quranic verses to help people reconnect with nature, he said,“No faith speaks against nature, and it is our duty to restore the web of interdependence.”

Pinaki Dasgupta, coordinator,The Bhumi Project — a worldwide Hindu response to the environmental issues facing the planet — highlighted the need for using faith as a communication tool. He said religious leaders can effectively communicate the need to make small changes at individual levels to counter the ill-effects of global warming.

Dasgupta also stressed that for future engagements, there ought to be more representation from Buddhist, Christian, Jain and other denominations for making it a truly multifaith event. Dasgupta said the US action is based on myths and illusions.

“Also,it means that the recent meetings of the US President with global leaders and significantly the Pope, who had given him a copy of Encyclical for reading,didn’t have any effect on the thought process of President Trump. For now, all we can say is that commodification of the atmosphere has again begun as Mike Hulme, professor of Climate and Culture at King’s College London, said in his book, Why We Disagree About Climate Change.

Eco-Sikh’s South Asia project manager, Ravneet Singh reaffirmed the need for a strong community engagement through various innovative initiatives including geo-tagging of trees, climate leadership training to young people and cleanliness drives in places of worship.

The emphasis on the role of faith institutions has its roots in a decision taken in 2008 by the UNDP and Alliance of Religions and Conservation to involve major traditions in the world’s faiths and then drawing up generational plans of action for protecting our planet. The aim was to take the next seven or eight years to embed practices and protocol on how major faiths conduct their education; building programmes; celebrations; and energy sourcing.

At the meeting in New Delhi,a climate leadership training programme was also conducted by Supriya Singh of the Indian Youth Climate Network, where the audience was briefed on the science of climate change and ways to reduce carbon footprint by making small lifestyle changes.

Links

Speaking Tree, India

EcoSikh

Bhumi Project

Islamic Relief India

ARC Strategic Review 2016



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