On 18 November, in six multi-faith TEDx events around the globe, people of faith and conscience at the grassroots are kicking off organizing for the biggest-ever faith-climate day of action – Sacred People, Sacred Earth. What follows is the statement of Sacred People, Sacred Earth.
Sacred People, Sacred Earth: Statement
We are united by a fundamental belief that all people, all living things, and the Earth are sacred.
As we consider the state of the world today, our hearts overflow with concern.
We are frightened and frustrated by the damage that COVID-19 is inflicting on our communities. The pandemic has revealed cruel injustices. The vulnerable suffer the most severe impacts.
We know about this injustice. We have seen it before. These same communities are disproportionately and catastrophically affected by the accelerating climate emergency.
Grave threats are at our door as the world shelters in place.
We see the rise of increasingly unaccountable or authoritarian governments, exploitive economies, and extremist cultural forces which pit us against each other, target women and oppressed communities, and foster doubt about the science required to save life on Earth. This is a world of widespread poverty, racial and gender injustice, massive income inequality, and the devastation of nature. This version of civilization is unsustainable at every level. Worse impacts lie ahead if we do not act now.
A far better future is possible if our collective response to the pandemic and the climate crisis is guided by compassion, love and justice at a scale that meets this moment. We must not only provide the relief that so many need to survive. We must create a new culture, politics and economy of life that heals people and planet.
We envision a world transformed, in which humanity in all its diversity has developed a shared reverence for life on Earth.
Together, we are building resilient, caring communities and economies that meet everyone’s needs and protect the planet.
The era of conquest, extraction, and exploitation has given way to cooperation and community.
The good life is one of connectedness—with each other and all of nature. It is a world of flourishing life that replaces despair with joy, scarcity with shared abundance, and privilege with justly distributed power.
The work to create this future begins now.
In the months ahead, governments and financial institutions will spend massive sums in response to the pandemic. Governments will present climate commitments at COP26 in November 2021. These actions must not perpetuate an outdated economic system that relies on fossil fuels and the destruction of the very forests, waters, oceans and soils that make life possible.
Instead they should accelerate renewable energy development; ensure universal access to clean water and air, affordable clean energy, and food grown with respect for the land; create jobs paying family-sustaining wages to workers in safe conditions. Wealthy countries must take responsibility for a larger share of emissions reductions to support a global just transition. We must also prepare ourselves to welcome those who will be displaced by COVID and climate change.
Compassion, love and justice require no less of us all.
These are our demands:
- Businesses, banks and financial institutions must abandon systems based on exploitive returns.
- Financing must end immediately for new fossil fuel infrastructure.
- Financing must end immediately for agribusiness and extractive industries that immorally destroy tropical forests,
- Governments must commit to net zero greenhouse emissions by 2030.
- Governments must provide for a just transition for jeopardized workers and communities
- 100% clean energy for every single person.
- A just transition for affected workers and communities.
- We will move to power our homes and religious facilities with 100% renewable energy
- We will move purposefully towards sustainable, largely plant-based diets
- We will invest in climate solutions, particularly community, women, and Indigenous-led energy access enterprises.
- We will invest our personal investments in enterprises creating a sustainable future.
- We will join collective efforts to work for climate and environmental justice.
Sacred People, Sacred Earth is co-sponsored by Religions for Peace, Parliament of the World’s Religions, and United Religions Initiative.
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