Faith for Earth: A Call for Action
© 2020 United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Environment Programme and Parliament of the World’s Religions (2020). Faith for Earth: A Call for Action. UNEP, Nairobi.
Faith for Earth: A Call for Action – describes the essential, unshakeable reverence that all religions have for creation and nature, and introduces the world’s major life support systems. We hope the book will give you information and inspiration to learn more about our planet, to share your knowledge and commitment to care for it, and to become part of the flourishing global interfaith movement that is increasingly bringing people together to protect and sustain life on Earth.
In the last 60 years, more than 40% of the world’s civil wars have been linked to control over natural resources such as land, oil, and water. Climate change is on track to make this situation worse, with unprecedented new impacts on the functioning ecosystems we depend upon for survival, as well as on where people can live and grow food, build cities, practice their faith, and raise their children in peace and health. The security implications of climate change are being recognized at the highest levels, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres has put it at the heart of our conflict prevention agenda. The Secretary-General announced in April 2020 that “the global crisis we are facing today due to COVID19 pandemic is the gravest challenge since the establishment of the UN 75 years ago,” but it also remains an irrefutable fact that climate change continues to be one of the most systemic environmental threats that humankind has ever faced.
We are in a race against time that will require political will, innovation, inclusion, tolerance, values and ethics, financing and partnerships. We are calling on everyone—countries, cities, the private sector, individuals, and faith-based organizations—to strengthen their actions to mitigate climate change, restore ecosystems, and protect the health of the planet without delay. The world has the scientific understanding, the technological capacity, and the financial means to do this. We need to trust our abilities and act accordingly.
Our challenge is not that we do not know what to do—it is how quickly we can do it. The problem is massive, and such large and complex challenges will require transformational thinking, integration, and big movements. But it will also require progress on myriad smaller and manageable scales. We need faith-based organizations to be part of the global accountability and monitoring system to achieve the sustainable development goals, and we need a common ethical system of values no matter what religion we believe.
As we begin this century’s third decade, the new edition — produced through a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and the Parliament of the World’s Religions Climate Action Program — offers an introduction to the magnitude of the task we now face and to the faith communities that are becoming a force for the global environmental future. It is time, as never before, to call on our faith, our values, our religious teachings and traditions – on Faith for Earth. And it is time for action.
This book was first published at the beginning of the twenty-first century. A joint project of the United Nations Environment Programme and the Interfaith Partnership for the Environment, it was titled Earth and Faith: A Book of Reflection for Action.
David Hales, Chair, Climate Action, Parliament of the World’s Religions
Kusumita P. Pedersen, Professor Emerita of Religious Studies, St. Francis College; Chair, Interfaith Center of New York
Tatiana Brailovskaya, Editor, Climate Action, Parliament of the World’s Religions; Principal, Nereus Communications
Michael Mahan, Mahan Design
FAITH CONSULTING EDITORS
John Grim, Co-director, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology; Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar, School of the Environment, Divinity School, and Department of Religious Studies, Yale University
Jeffrey D. Long, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Elizabethtown College
Mary Evelyn Tucker, Co-director, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology; Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar, School of the Environment, Divinity School, and Department of Religious Studies, Yale University
EARTH CONSULTING EDITORS
Brenda Ekwurzel, Senior Climate Scientist; Director, Climate Science, Climate & Energy Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
Edward Maibach, University Professor and Director, Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University
Faith for Earth is the result of the effort and goodwill of a multitude of people, and our gratitude belongs in many places.
Iyad Abumoghli, Director of the Faith for Earth Initiative at the United Nations Environment Programme, has provided un-flagging support for this new, updated overview about bringing faith and science together on behalf of the living world.
We are grateful for the encouragement and assistance of the members of the Core Working Group of the Parliament of the World’s Religions Climate Action Task Force:
- Imam Saffet Abid Catovic
- Dianne Dillon-Ridgley
- Manohar Singh Grewal
- Michael Terrien
- Michael Trice
In addition, we also owe special thanks for advice, references, attention to detail, and thorough review of draft text to:
- Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
- Purushottama Bilimoria
- Nikhil Bumb
- Christopher Key Chapple
- Arthur Dahl
- Kirit Daftary
- Dolly Dastoor
- Veena Howard
- Bawa Jain
- Naresh Jain
- Ken Kitatani
- Betty Lyons
- Arvind-Pal S. Mandair
- Gurinder Singh Mann
- Rabbi Rachel Mikva
- Carl Murrell
- Eric Noyes
- Gopal Patel
- Daniel Perell
- Rev. John Pawlikowski
- Rita D. Sherma
- Kuldeep Singh
- Sylvie Sun
- Arvind Vora
- Claudia He Yun
Thanks to Pritam Singh Grewal for his swift assistance with high-resolution imagery.
Joshua Basofin, former Director of Climate Action of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and Rev. Stephen Avino, Executive Director of the Parliament of the World’s Religions provided unwavering patience and support at every stage in the creation of this book.
Special thanks to Libby Bassett, Editor and Designer of the first edition of this book, Earth and Faith: A Book of Reflection for Action, published by UNEP in 2000. Earth and Faith was the framework and inspiration for the new edition.
Publication of Faith for Earth would not have been possible without funding received from the United Nations Environment Programme, Climate Action of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Sikh Gurdwara San Jose, and the Thomas Berry Foundation.