WINDSOR, United Kingdom — Leaders representing the world’s major religions, including the Baha’i Faith, gathered yesterday at historic Windsor Castle to formally launch a series of action plans involving their communities in a long-term effort to protect the environment.
They were joined by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and HRH The Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in a celebratory meeting that emphasized the role religion can play to inspire grassroots change and make “peace with the planet.”
“I have long believed that when governments and civil society work toward a common goal, transformational change is possible,” said Mr. Ban. “Faiths and religions are a central part of that equation.
“Indeed, the world’s faith communities occupy a unique position in discussions on the fate of our planet and the accelerating impacts of climate change,” he said. [Read more…]
Baha’i delegates Arthur Lyon Dahl and Tahirih Naylor receive certificates. They are pictured with Prince Philip, founder of ARC; Martin Palmer of ARC; and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon
Related Story – Barney Leith’s observations on the Windsor Summit.
In observance of Blog Action Day 2009 we joined more than 13,000 bloggers from around the world with a post on climate change. At last count, the topic had been probed by bloggers in 155 countries, reaching a combined readership of more than 18 million. This may set a record for social networking. It is certainly timely as an expression of support for a fair, binding and effective international agreement on climate change in Copenhagen in December!
Climate change comprises one of the greatest challenges the human race has ever faced, and (as noted in numerous posts on this site and others), it has profound moral and ethical dimensions. Those who have contributed least to the problem stand to suffer the greatest consequences. Nonetheless, ultimately we all lose if we don’t act responsibly now, both to mitigate the causes of climate change and help those who are vulnerable adapt to its impacts.
Climate change is testing humanity’s vision and will. Shall entrenched national and sectarian interests prevail, or shall we seize the opportunity hidden within climate change to rise to a new level of human maturity – the next stage in our collective evolution?
Such a step will require us all, individually and collectively, to recognize ourselves as citizens of one world and take responsibility for the wellbeing of all the inhabitants of the planet. An effective future agreement on climate change must have at its core the principle of the oneness of humanity.
Baha’i World News Service Story ( September 23, 2009)
NEW YORK — The inequities and injustices that are likely to occur on a global level because of climate change mean that world leaders must carefully examine the moral and ethical dimensions of global warming, said Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“The impacts of climate change are going to be inequitable, unequal, and severe in many parts of the world,” said Dr. Pachauri, who spoke today at a breakfast meeting at the Baha’i International Community offices.
“We have to think at a much higher level. And I think this is where ethics comes in so critically as the missing dimension in this debate,” he said. [Read more…]
Go to the Baha’i International Community – UN Office site for a copy of the Appeal and video coverage of Dr. Pachauri’s talk.
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of Nobel-prize winning IPCC
(Baha’i World News Service Story – September 17, 2009)
WASHINGTON — People’s spiritual beliefs affect their attitude toward climate change, with religious groups increasingly helping to frame humanity’s response to environmental issues.
That was one of the messages from a session at the 33rd annual conference of the Association for Baha’i Studies, held in mid-August in Washington, D.C. The gathering drew nearly 1,000 participants from some 20 countries.
The theme of the conference was “Environments,” and one of the plenary speakers was Peter G. Brown, a geography professor at McGill University in Montreal who has participated in the Moral Economy Project of the Quaker Institute for the Future.
The 90 minute video, HOME, is a powerful narrative of life on Earth and the impact of humans on Earth’s life systems. It begs the question – what are we to do given this information? It’s worth a watch and a discussion.
The August 2009 issue of Sustainability: the Journal of Record featured a roundtable discussion entitled, “Greening the Flock: How Should Religious Institutions Foster Sustainability?”. PeterAdriance, NGO Liaison for the Baha’is of the U.S., moderated the discussion with nine other leaders in the field: William Aiken (Sokka Gakkai International-USA Buddhist Association); Peter G. Brown (Moral Economy Project – Quaker); Cassandra Carmichael (National Council of Churches); Nicola Coddington (NY Interfaith Power and Light); Rabbi Fred Dobb (Reform Judaism); Rachel Novick (Office of Sustainability, Notre Dame University); Fr. John Rausch (Catholic Committee of Appalachia); Rabbi Daniel Swartz (Reform Judaism); and John Wood (Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies).
The discussion touched on the role of religion in fostering sustainability, the level of guidance provided by religious texts, the dynamic balance between practical and spiritual elements, the relationship between science and religion, and how religions can contribute to sustainability efforts on college campuses.
Click here for a PDF of the article
(Reproduced by permission from Sustainability: The Journal of Record, August 2009, http://www.liebertpub.com/sus)
The Scottish Parliament in early August established an ambitious emissions reductions target by passing a law to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. A noteworthy decision in itself – the action was driven at least in part by Scotland’s recognition of its moral duty to the rest of the world. The story is told by Don Brown, who heard first-hand the compelling testimony of Scottish governmental leaders during their debate. In his August 31 post on the award-winning website, ClimateEthics.org, Brown quotes several of them speaking on the moral basis of their decision.
As the climate negotiations heat up on the way to Copenhagen, the Scottish story offers a good example for decision-makers in recognizing their moral duty to the rest of the world and future generations. Bold action is needed to stem the causes of climate change and help people adapt to its unavoidable effects. Such a principled approach offers the best prospect for long-term economic, social and environmental well-being.