The Interfaith Rainforest Initiative is launching the Resource Guide on Rainforest Protection for Religious Communities on World Environment Day, June 5, 2020.
The Resource Guide provides important information about the causes and consequences of tropical deforestation, and, of great relevance to us all, establishes a critical causal connection between deforestation and pandemics. COVID-19, Ebola, SARS, Avian flu, and other recent pandemics arise from animal to human pathogenic transfers that are closely tied to tropical deforestation, environmental degradation, and mismanagement of nature.
The Resource Guide includes perspectives from ten* religious traditions, setting forth the spiritual and moral imperative to protect rainforests and the indigenous peoples who are its inhabitants, and describes how religious communities can become active in protecting rainforests, including:
The new Resource Guide will be available on the Parliament’s website on June 5. The website currently offers extensive resources about the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative, including issue primers, toolkits, newsletters, a concept note, a Faiths for Forest Declaration, and fact sheets and programs for the five countries that contain substantial rainforests: Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Following the launch of the Resource Guide, the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative will release Forests and Pandemics, How Protecting Tropical Rainforests Can Prevent Coronaviruses and Other Emerging Diseases in the second week of June, 2020. A primer for religious leaders and faith communities, Forests and Pandemics will provide more information about zoonotic diseases and their causal connection to deforestation. The Parliament will announce and post this primer on its website as well.
The Parliament of the World’s Religions is a supporting member of the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative, and was present at its inaugural launch in Oslo, Norway in June, 2017. This interfaith initiative is an international, multifaith alliance that works to bring moral urgency and faith-based leadership and action to global efforts to end tropical deforestation. The world’s public health is in jeopardy from these pandemics, and the prevention of tropical deforestation is a matter of humanity’s survival.
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