Faith for Earth – A Call for Action was launched at the Faith for Nature: Multi-Faith Action Conference 5-8 October 2020, which was hosted by the Government of Iceland. This book is an interfaith collaboration that 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.
Teachers, students, leaders of religious congregations, and community organizers used the book to introduce and talk about critical environmental issues and how faith communities were addressing these issues. Intended primarily as an educational resource, it has also been used as a reference and inspiration for practice.
During the twenty years that have passed since the book’s publication, the planet has undergone profound and rapid changes. The impact of our actions and choices continues to escalate, causing the ever-worsening global climate emergency, altering natural global processes and major ecosystems, accelerating extinctions of countless forms of life, and deepening human suffering on an unprecedented scale.
Scientific evidence documenting the crisis is undeniable and grows with every passing day. At the same time, there has been a surge of faith-based action and advocacy on behalf of the environment from religious groups everywhere. The response is coming from every corner of the world, reflecting both the diversity of the ways we define our relationship with nature and the essential unity of values at the core of all our hope.
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 — 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. Also, in keeping with the urgency of the work that must be done to heal our planet, we have changed the book’s title. 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.
(Video of Book Launch. In this session, the book launch occupies the first 6’44” of this video. )
Message from the Faith for Earth initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme
I am privileged to have this opportunity to welcome you to Faith for Earth, A Call for Action, the new, revised edition of Earth and Faith, last published twenty years ago. It is an honor to have worked in partnership with the Parliament of the World’s Religions to produce this book.
Faith for Earth describes the essential, unshakeable reverence that all religions have for creation and nature, and provides an introduction to the world’s major life support systems. I hope it 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.
I write this with hope and optimism because I am convinced that the love for power and greed that led us to where we are today can be overcome by the power of love, science, and faith.
The UN has adopted Global Action for People and the Planet, its global environmental agenda, through 2030, but the faith agenda is eternity. Our concern should not be the just next generation; it should be all generations to come. We must make a global pact, on behalf of the natural world, to bring the values of faith to the practices of people and decisions of politicians. We need to work with the environment to avoid new global catastrophes. I call upon all the faith communities in the world to lead by example and join our Coalition in putting our Faith for Earth into action today
Iyad Abumoghli, Ph.D. Eng.
Director, Faith for Earth Strategic Engagement with Faith-based Organizations
Executive Office United Nations Environment Programme
Faith Action for Nature is a global event designed to lay the foundation for inter-faith collaboration for sustainable and regenerative development to achieve the SDGs. The concept and objectives of this conference will be in support of the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly to be held in February 2021 in Nairobi with the overall theme “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”. The Faith Action for Nature Conference will have the following objectives and outcomes:
A) Identify the relevance and way forward in mobilizing values, ethics, spirituality and faith-based action to achieve the SDGs.
B) Empower faith-based organizations in taking action for the SDGs and to cooperate for sustainable and regenerative development, with a view to endorsing the establishment of a global Faith for Earth Coalition.
On the basis of the discussions and its findings, the conference will call for proposing a draft resolution for the Fifth Session of the UN Environment Assembly, to be held in February 2021, making it the first UN resolution on the role of faith for sustainability, and issue a communique with a message from all major faiths to other international fora, including the Arctic Circle and COP 26.
With the Faith for Earth Strategy (2018), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has adopted an integrated approach for the partnership with faith-based organizations. By cooperating with faith-based organizations, religious and cultural values become part of UNEP’s efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Agenda 2030 and the implementation of its programme of work. The partnership shall enable inclusive, green and transformative development through adopting lifestyles and behavioral changes that are informed by faith-based and spiritual values. The integrated approach respects cultural diversity and religious, cultural and indigenous knowledge, and acknowledges and appreciates the value of faith when it comes to living in respect and harmony with planet earth. Coupling and informing strategies towards achieving the SDGs with faith-based approaches and values such as environmental stewardship or duty of care is the cornerstone for a common vision that focuses on valuing the needs of planet Earth.
The Faith for Earth Coalition is a means to realize this common vision by establishing a multistakeholder partnership with the overall aim to facilitate partnerships with faith leaders, faith-based organizations and people of faith at global, regional and local levels to inspire, empower and strengthen action and behavioral changes towards achieving the SGDs and implementing UNEP’s programme of work.
The Faith for Earth Coalition will have the character of a platform comprising of four Coalition Councils:
1. The Council of Eminent Leaders: Composed of high-level faith leaders representing major and minor world religions in terms of number of adherents.
2. The Youth Council: Composed of young faith leaders and members of youth movements advocating for living in respect and harmony with planet earth.
3. The Network of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of FBO’s: Composed of faith-based organizations with a focus on the environment or those working with (local) faith communities responding to the Sustainable Development Goals.
4. The Faith-Science Consortium: Composed of theologians, scientists and environmentalists to bridge the gap between environmental science and religions.