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Rabbi David Rosen Addresses the IRI Dialogue with Indigenous Leaders

Rabbi David Rosen addressed 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.

Thank you very much and my congratulations to all of you who are still sitting patiently after two hours. It is a great honor for me to be able to represent Religions for Peace at this important event. I am very proud, as you have heard, to have been part and parcel of the original launch of the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative in Oslo in 2017, and to have accompanied its work since, and to have played a part in facilitating the endorsement of the IRI program by the World Council of Religions for Peace in Lindau in 2019. I wish to express our gratitude, and I presume to say the gratitude of the enlightened world for the Parliament of the World Religion’s facilitation providing this platform for the voice of the Amazon Indigenous peoples. I want to express the gratitude of the world of those who are consciously grateful and of those who are not yet consciously grateful, of the enormous contribution of the Indigenous peoples to preserving our planet, to sustain it through their love of the rainforest and the cultures associated with it, to which they have shown such amazing, inspiring dedication over thousands of years.

We are all the beneficiaries of this love, this devotion, and this dedication. I wish to apologize for those of us who are the victims of our greed and of civilizational greed, who have shown a lack of sensitivity, sensibility of responsibility for the Indigenous peoples, who have contributed so much to us, and as a result of that insensitivity, we ourselves have posed a threat to the wellbeing and the flourishing of all creation.

Religions for Peace is privileged to have pioneered the interreligious rainforest initiative and joins with the parliament in a call to the world to preserve respect for the rainforest and the indigenous peoples and their cultures that live within it and preserve it.

And we issue from here a call, especially to religious traditions, who claim to revere the cosmos as the manifestation of the divine, to place this concern for the wellbeing of the indigenous peoples and the rainforest and their contribution to all of us as among the highest of priorities. Religions for Peace will be honored to sign off on the call for action in this regard. Let me conclude by referring to one of the most beautiful visions, amongst the many beautiful visions of the prophet Isaiah, of an era of universal peace. Isaiah 55 verse 18 declares, when you go forth in celebration and you shall be led in peace, the hills and the mountain shall burst forth in joy and happiness, and the trees of the field shall applaud with joy.

We may understand this verse to say the following. Living in joy and true peace can only come about when the hills, the fields, the trees can celebrate as part and parcel of a genuine restoration of harmony and of well-being in our world.

May this be fulfilled speedily in our days. Amen.

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