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Closing Call to Action at the IRI Dialogue with Indigenous Leaders

Emcee Lewis Cardinal shared the closing call to action of the assembly “An Urgent Call to Protect the Amazon: An Interfaith Rainforest Initiative Dialogue with Indigenous Leaders” at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, USA.

Ladies and gentleman, in the light of this spirit of prayer and unity, please allow me, as Chair of the Indigenous Task Force for this Parliament, to read out loud our collective Call to Action as we bring our event to a close. Please listen to see whether you can stand in solidarity with this Call to Action::

We, leaders gathered for the Parliament of the World’s Religions, offer this urgent call to action for the Amazon and the indigenous peoples and traditional communities who serve as its guardians.

We do so in solidarity with the indigenous peoples and traditional communities who call the Amazon home and who are at the forefront of efforts to protect their lands and territories, and informed by the scientific and research community warning of the dire consequences of the continued destruction and degradation of the Amazon;

Recognizing that the Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest, with the richest biodiversity on the planet, and home to some 30 million people and over 400 indigenous peoples;

Knowing that halting and reversing destruction of the Amazon is essential to contain the climate and biodiversity crises that threaten our planet;

Understanding that protection of the Amazon requires the protection of indigenous peoples, respect for their cultures, traditions and spiritualities, and legal security of their lands and territories; and

Acknowledging that we have a viable platform for action on these issues in the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative, and recognizing the recent call made by this partnership at the Amazon Summit;

We commit to take action to:

  1. Raise awareness and promote teaching about the seriousness of deforestation and the spiritual imperative and urgency of acting to protect forests and the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon;
  2.  Assist our respective places of worship, communities and organizations to take action, to bring our networks to bear to encourage deforestation-free lifestyles and business practices
  3.  Advocate for governments and public authorities of the Amazon to commit to zero deforestation by 2030 and prevent threats to indigenous and environmental defenders; and
  4.  Advocate for governments and foundations of industrialized countries to mobilize the financial resources and investment that is needed to realize the vision of a healthy Amazon.

We share a conviction that our voices, spiritual resources and common commitment can bring new and needed urgency to the critically important work of protecting the Amazon and its guardians over the long term, and place ourselves at the disposal of achieving that goal.

Esteemed member of the Parliament, we thank you deeply for your prayers and commitment, and invite you to stand in solidarity with this Call to Action.

We also warmly invite you to join all the speakers in a reception at the end of the hall, where we can share precious time together to reflect on what we have learned this evening and what we will do to help.

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