Religious Leaders Urge G7 Environment Ministers to Protect the Planet
In a joint statement, released on 9 June at an interfaith dialogue held in Bologna, Italy, religious leaders representing Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim communities called on the G7 environment ministers to protect our planet. As part of their call to action, they agreed to work together to overcome conflicts for the common goal of protecting the environment and the planet we call our home.
“We, as faith leaders and faith-based organizations, stand in solidarity with people and communities all over the world who are affected by the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation and commit to galvanizing greater awareness and action that promotes more sustainable consumption and lifestyles and protects our natural environment, both on land and water,” the joint statement read. (Climate Home)
The interfaith dialogue was organized by Connect4Climate, a global partnership program under the Communication for Climate Change Multi-Donor Trust Fund of the World Bank Group, in preparation for an upcoming G7 environment meeting. The faith representatives discussed how their own religious traditions stress the need for environmental protection and the role religion and religious communities can play in addressing climate change. They emphasized the necessity of developing a global green economy and building a more mindful and consciousness society to eliminate poverty. “We cannot address poverty without addressing environmental protection and climate change,” said Reverend Russel, a Christian minister, during the interfaith dialogue. (Lifegate)
“Let us remind our nations that the Earth is not a possession, but a partner on our journey,” Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, wrote in a letter to the interfaith dialogue. Pope Francis also sent a message to the meeting: “Action is the key word in order to transform this desert into a forest.” (Lifegate)
“Never stop looking for consensus among governments to protect Our Common Home,” said Mons. Matteo Maria Zuppi, the archbishop of Greater Bologna. (Lifegate)
The representatives emphasized the need for human kind to moderate consumption and protect the environment for all living beings. “Mankind has an obligation to make the planet a better home for all”, stressed Alfonso Arbib, president of the Assemblea Rabbinica dell’Unione delle Comunità Ebraiche Italiane. (Lifegate)
After the dialogue, all religious leaders signed the “Bologna Interfaith Charter: Living Our Values, Acting for Our Common Home,” to be sent to the G7 environment ministers on the first day of the G7 meeting. The charter asserts that: “The Bologna G7 Environment Meeting is taking place at a moment of both great peril and great promise. With the Paris Agreement in danger, we must do everything possible to ensure its successful implementation. Due to the scale and pace of harm that has already been inflicted upon our planet, we are the last generation who can turn this crisis around before it is too late. At the same time, implementing climate change solutions creates new opportunities to improve human well-being and promote a more just economy.” (Lifegate)
The G7 consists of seven nations—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—which together represent more than 64 per cent of net global wealth. It is a grouping that holds a lot of responsibility for climate change, but also has the capacity to promote a greener, sustainable future.