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Leaders Gathered at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions Offer Urgent Call for the Amazon

August 25, 2023

On Wednesday, August 16th the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative and the Parliament of the World’s Religions hosted a critical discussion on Indigenous peoples, their spiritualities and the shared moral responsibility across faiths to protect the Amazon and the rights and cultures of Indigenous peoples and traditional communities at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago.

Moderated by Lewis Cardinal and Zaya Guarani, this assembly featured keynotes from some of the most prominent Indigenous leaders of the Amazon sharing the urgent call to protect the forest and the traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples, as well as highlighting the vital role of multilateral interfaith action to support the critical and often dangerous work of the leaders of the Amazon.

An Urgent Call to Protect the Amazon

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;
  1. 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
  1. 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
  1. 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.

And now it’s your turn, we invite faith, spiritual, and civic leaders and the global interfaith movement to answer the urgent call to protect the amazon!

Answer the Call at Together.Earth

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