Twenty years on from the Ohito Declaration
6 April, 2015:
||The Ohito Declaration 20 years ago encapsulated the urge many faiths were feeling, to protect this extraordinary planet
Two decades ago today leading faith environmentalists met in Ohito, Japan, and signed the Ohito Declaration. The environment has got worse since. But the religions have certainly worked harder to save it.
In March and April 1995 ARC and the Mokito Okada Association (MOA) hosted an international workshop of faith-based environment activists and organisations in Ohito, Japan. It was chaired by Fazlun Khalid of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES.) .
The objective was to discover common ground between nine faith traditions: all very different and from different cultures and parts of the world, but all with the shared aim of protecting the living planet. And from that common ground to find directions they can work in tangent to protect nature.
The outcome was the Ohito Declaration for Religion, Land and Conservation, and it produced ten common environmental spiritual principles and ten areas of action where the faiths found common ground.
The full Ohito Declaration
The 10 Spiritual Environmental Principles
1. Religious beliefs and traditions call us to care for the earth.
2. For people of faith maintaining and sustaining environmental life systems is a religious responsibility.
3. Nature should be treated with respect and compassion, thus forming a basis for our sense of responsibility for conserving plants, animals, land, water, air and energy.
4. Environmental understanding is enhanced when people learn from the example of prophets and of nature itself.
5. Markets and trade arrangements should reflect the spiritual needs of people and their communities to ensure health, justice and harmony. Justice and equity principles of faith traditions should be used for maintaining and sustaining environmental life systems.
6. People of faith should give more emphasis to a higher quality of life in preference to a higher standard of living, recognising that greed and avarice are root causes of environmental degradation and human debasement.
7. All faiths should fully recognise and promote the role of women in environmental sustainability.
8. People of faith should be fully involved in the conservation and development process. Development of the environment must take better account of its effects on the community and its religious beliefs.
9. Faith communities should endorse multilateral consultation in a form that recognises the value of local/indigenous wisdom and current scientific information.
10. In the context of faith perspective, emphasis should be given not only to the globalisation of human endeavours but also to participatory community action.
The 10 Recommended Courses of Action
1. We call upon religious leaders to emphasize environmental issues within religious teaching: faith should be taught and practiced as if nature mattered.
2. We call upon religious communities to commit themselves to sustainable practices and encourage community use of their land.
3. We call upon religious leaders to recognise the need for ongoing environmental education and training for themselves and all those engaged in religious instruction.
4. We call upon people of faith to promote environmental education within their community especially among their youth and children.
5. We call upon people of faith to implement individual, community and institutional action plans at local, national and global levels that flow from their spiritual practices and where possible to work with other faith communities.
6. We call upon religious leaders and faith communities to pursue peace-making as an essential component of conservation action.
7. We call upon religious leaders and communities to be actively involved in caring for the environment to sponsor sustainable food production and consumption.
8. We call upon people of faith to take up the challenge of instituting fair-trading practices devoid of financial, economic and political exploitation.
9. We call upon the world’s religious leaders and world institutions to establish and maintain a networking system that will encourage sustainable agriculture and environmental life systems.
10 We call upon faith communities to act immediately, to undertake self-review and auditing processes on conservation issues on a regular basis.
Signed on 6 April 1995 by:
Fazlun Khalid – Conference Chairman
Shoji Mizuno – Assistant Chairman
Jo Edwards – Conference Secretary
Paul Hanley – Baha’i
Jimmy Seow – Baha’i
Venerable Lobsang Gawa – Buddhist
Stephanie Kaza – Buddhist
Lucian Gavrila – Christian
Eddie Idle – Christian
Pat Lupo OSB – Christian
Shri Shiba Sankar Chakraborty– Hindu
Swami Akhandanand Sarasvati – Hindu
Shri Sanjay Rattan – Hindu
Shri Sewak Sharan – Hindu
Meir Lipshatz – Jew
Abdur Razzaq Lubis – Muslim
Fuad Nadi – Muslim
Mohammad Sharif Weideman – Muslim
Shigenobu Kanayma – MOA
Teruo Taniguchi – MOA