India has been a country of numerous faiths — Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism et al. These religions have had a huge influence on culture, traditions, ways of living, thought processes and actions of people.
The people, who believe, follow, endorse and adapt these faiths, do so as they provide love, companionship, brotherhood and inner peace. What is common in all faiths is the concern and care for nature.
A pluralistic and diverse country with a rich culture and heritage is confronting the global challenge of “climate change.”
Problems of climate change are growing by the day, and are slowly but steadily being recognized as a serious livelihood issue by all sections of society.
Changing seasonal patterns, forced alteration in agricultural productions, excess or deficient rainfall resulting in flooding or droughts, intra country forced, interstate migrations in search of livelihoods, destruction of eco-systems, variations in disease patterns all are visible effects of climate change.
These challenges require concerted efforts and it becomes imperative that need for individuals, organisations, institutions, people cutting across faiths, come together to save the planet and everything that we cherish and value. Millions shall be affected in the future.
The need of the hour is awareness, getting across strong messages to all stakeholders including community & faith leaders, policy and decision makers who have capacity to create a conducive environment so that we and our future generations can breathe clean air, have plenty of water, utilize natural resources judiciously and can make informed decisions for ensuring that global goals are met in time.
Creation of awareness along with individual and collective responsibility is indeed the key in addressing “climate change.”
Faith can play a crucial part in mobilizing & bringing people together, act as an aid in spreading this core message to different sections of society in a simple yet effective manner. This is realistic and possible as majority of people in our country are in many ways religious.
Faith-based institutions still have a stronghold over community life and this can be harnessed for both alerting us about the growing dimension of this global phenomenon and for implementing changes in our daily lives that may cumulatively in the long run arrest and hopefully reverse the damage we have done to the environment.
The essence of “Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust” in Delhi on the 12th of June is to act as a facilitator in bringing individuals, faith groups, and institutions together for creating awareness and pressurizing policymakers to introduce time-bound specific programs that limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C.
This event is a fantastic opportunity for people from diverse faiths to come together, celebrate & endorse messages of world faith leaders regarding the environment like the Encyclical, Interfaith Climate Declaration, etc. and create a common platform for individuals associated with “climate change” and a larger community.
The aim would be to urge the participation of faith-based organizations in a great social and environmental cause for ensuring climate justice.