The Interfaith Rainforest Initiative: A Call to Religious Communities to Help Protect our Rainforests

August 26, 2020

This article was first featured by Abby of Hope Interfaith Cooperation Circle and is republished by the Parliament with permission from the author.

We are all beginning to understand more deeply, the importance of rectifying our mismanagement of our environment. In 10-15 years, we may reach a tipping point of mass extinction of numerous species, caused by humans, that poses a huge risk to our own survival. We are eroding the capabilities of the planet to maintain human life and life in general which will unleash the failure of ecosystems, destabilize economies, and governments, and trigger famine and refugee crises.

In order to stem this crises there has to be an immediate halt to deforestation, and a complete reform of the wildlife trade that will replace sustainability over profits. A strong call must be made to reduce human enterprise, especially our consumption demands on the biosphere, and create tools for educating and activating the public about this unfolding extinction.

I felt a personal sense of urgency to raise awareness about this impending crises and helped to create this video with Dr. Jane Goodall,  Dr. Charles  McNeil, and Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, and myself to highlight the important work of the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative. Communities of faith working together as the moral, spiritual voices which are shared in these valuable tools created by the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative can educate the public and mobilize our respective communities to actively participate in stemming these crises.

Importantly, the nexus between the pandemic that we are currently facing and our increasing incursions into the rainforests is creating greater levels of animal to human pathogenic transfers that are unleashing harmful zoonotic diseases that are spreading globally. Communities of faith have a critical role to play in helping us to return to right relationship with our environment and honor the sacredness of life in its myriad of manifestations.

Click here to watch the video on YouTube.

Land Acknowledgment

The Parliament of the World's Religions acknowledges it is situated on the traditional homelands of the Bodéwadmik (Potawatomi), Hoocąk (Winnebago/Ho’Chunk), Jiwere (Otoe), Nutachi (Missouria), and Baxoje (Iowas); Kiash Matchitiwuk (Menominee); Meshkwahkîha (Meskwaki); Asâkîwaki (Sauk); Myaamiaki (Miami), Waayaahtanwaki (Wea), and Peeyankihšiaki (Piankashaw); Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo); Inoka (Illini Confederacy); Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), and Odawak (Odawa).

PoWR recognizes the region we now call Chicago remains home to a diversity of Indigenous peoples today and this land upon which we walk, live, and play continues to be Indigenous land.

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