Embracing Our Common Future: An Interfaith Call to Action on Climate Change

October 20, 2015

At the World Parliament of Religions this past week leaders issued a declaration on Embracing Our Common Future: An Interfaith Call to Action on Climate Change, inspired by statements by Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama.   In it they stated:

The damaging impacts of climate change are already extensive. Many of them appear irreversible. If human behavior does not change, these impacts will become far more extreme, resulting in turmoil and suffering on an enormous scale with immense harm to both humans and other forms of life.

People affected are, and will be, disproportionately the poor, marginalized and vulnerable, including women and children- those who have done least to create this crisis. This is a massive injustice.

Earth is one interconnected whole. What we do to the Earth, we do to ourselves.

Earth is our home. We have nowhere else to go– and time is running out.

But we can pass through the climate crisis to a new and better future. This problem can be solved with the technology and resources that we already have, coupled with restraint of consumption. Significant progress has been made, in which religious and interfaith groups have been an important factor.

What is needed now is total commitment and effective action by every one of us.

Effective action today needs to be focused on two imperatives:

To keep Earth livable by reducing and then ending emissions of greenhouse gases, moving to the post-carbon global economy based on clean, safe, and renewable energy

To do this while achieving fair access to energy for all, fulfilling basic needs and ending poverty for all people in all countries.

Because the climate crisis is unprecedented in its scale and complexity, no single government, institution or religion can bring about the urgently needed solution. Action is needed at all levels: personal, local, national, regional, and international.

As members of religious and spiritual communities, we affirm these values and principles, which are taught by all our traditions and will guide our actions.

We are profoundly interconnected with Nature, on which we depend for our existence.  

We must respect and care for Nature and all life.

We uphold the dignity and rights of every human being.

We must provide for the needs and well-being of all people.

We must act with love and compassion, and for justice and fairness.

We are morally responsible for our chosen actions.

We have duties to future generations, who will bear the consequences of our action or inaction.

We commit ourselves to take action and to act together, as one human community.

We pledge to do all that is necessary to achieve the following goals with the speed that the crisis demands…The future we embrace will be a new ecological civilization and a world of peace, justice and sustainability, with the flourishing of the diversity of life.  We will build this future as one human family within the greater Earth community.

The meeting is also calling for action on Indigenous survival, including overturning the Doctrine of (Christian Discovery).  The religious leaders stated that this is necessary for the “good of all humanity and the life of our Mother…“Reclaiming the Heart of Our Humanity” and will rest upon our collective actions.

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