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Faith Initiative magazine features religions and environment this month

May 1, 2018:

Faith Initiative magazine this month has a series of important articles on faith and climate change, featuring articles by ARC's Martin Palmer and our partner organisations the Bhumi Project and EcoSikh , as well as Harfiyah Haleem from the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES).

Faith, climate change and the real issues: Article by Martin Palmer

I first started working on what we now call climate change issues in the early 1990’s after the World Council of Churches (WCC) highlighted the disappearing lands of Pacific Islanders. These Christian islanders had come to the once every seven years General Assembly of the WCC to tell other Christians of the way the sea level was rising and washing away the ancestral burial grounds of the people.

I found their personal stories deeply moving and began working with groups such as the now called Interfaith Power and Light movement in the USA seeking to address these issues through, amongst other things, supporting the use of alternative energy in faith buildings.

I attended my first COP meeting in Amsterdam in 2000 as an official member of the Mongolian delegation because we were working with the Mongolian Buddhist on eco-building of temples and on their programmes supporting a more ecological outlook in Mongolia specifically and throughout North Asian Buddhism generally. For example, this focused on recovering and restoring tradition ways of building not just temples but also houses in Mongolia which were supremely energy efficient.

I have turned down invitations to every since COP since because frankly they are not fit for purpose – or certainly were not until the Paris COP which began to change the overall approach. More on that later.

Sadly, over these last almost thirty years I have watched as ‘climate change’ has distorted the environmental movement almost beyond recognition. I say distorted because it has come to so dominate the environmental discourse that all other issues – marine life; forests; agriculture; species etc – have been relegated by it and can often now only be justified for action if you can prove a climate change element.

The problem is that despite the often dramatic if not at times hysterical outpourings of political, environmental and occasionally religious leaders, climate change is not the major environmental or social issue facing our world today.

Climate change is not the issue. Climate change is the consequence of something far deeper, far more important and far more difficult. And that is that we have put humanity at the centre of the meaning of life and have made all else – everything else in Creation, subservient to us.

Challenging our behaviour: article by Ravneet Singh of EcoSikh

Faiths all around the world are looking at sustainable energy, environment education and a great deal of both meditation and action, to make this planet greener, healthier and safer
Scattered in almost 20 nations, the 30 million Sikh population believe in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, and the rich traditions of Sikh history which describes the Sikhs as pioneers in environmental work, the hard workers and the ones who thrive for the wellbeing of all, we say sarbat da bhalla.

Punjab is the homeland of Sikhs where EcoSikh invests the majority of its energy and focus towards its ecological revival through behaviour change in the community worldwide.

Launched at Windsor Castle in 2009, EcoSikh is the Sikh community's contribution to the UN and Alliance of Religions and Coservation for a generational change project... it has been able to connect thousands of Sikh families through its most revered project the World Sikh Environment Day...

In Service to Mother Earth: article by Gopal Patel of Bhumi Project

In the 70 years since Indian independence, Hindu populations have grown significantly beyond the borders of India. We now find sizeable Hindu communities all over the world, most notably in North America, Europe, South East Asia, Africa and Australasia.

This spread of Hindu cultures means that Hindus are now more involved in global issues, and share more responsibility to work together towards solutions...

Continue to read all these articles here

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