Nairobi/Chicago — The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Parliament of the World's Religions today released a new book, "Faith for Earth -- A Call for Action", which gives readers a wide-ranging look at the history and diversity of faith teachings and their advocacy for the protection of the environment.
The online book and its print edition were launched today during the Faith for Nature Global Conference, (5th - 8th October) in Skálhol, Iceland.
The book provides a comprehensive overview of the faith traditions and scientific findings that underpin the understandings and reflections of world religions concerning environmental sustainability. It includes clear statements from sacred scripts and faith leaders.
It underlines that protecting the Earth, restoring ecosystems, preventing pollution, and leaving behind a healthy environment for the next generations is an ethical, moral and spiritual responsibility. With more than one hundred million houses of worship around the globe, adapting green building principles is a massive demonstration of commitment to sustainability.
"Our challenge is not that we don't know what to do--it's how quickly we can do it. We're in a race against time that will require political will, innovation, inclusion, tolerance, values and ethics, financing, and partnerships," Iyad Abumoghli, Director of UNEP's Faith for Earth Initiative.
"We're calling on everyone - countries, cities, the private sector, individuals, and faith-based organizations to become part of the flourishing global interfaith movement that is increasingly bringing people together to protect and sustain life on Earth", he added. "We hope the book will give people information and inspiration to learn more about our planet and become part of the flourishing global interfaith movement that is increasingly bringing people together to protect and sustain life on Earth."
"A majority of people today remain unfamiliar with religious teachings about valuing and caring for the natural world, especially teachings of traditions other than their own," said Kusumita P. Pedersen, the book's faith section author. "Faith for Earth can serve as a tool for increasing awareness, communication, and advocacy in both formal and informal ways."
David Hales, Chair of Climate Action at the Parliament and author of the book's environmental section, considers that the decades ahead are a "crucible of moral choices."
"For half a century, we've known that the choices we make will have serious consequences for the world of the future and for our children and grandchildren," he said.
"We are the first generation in human history that has the opportunity to achieve sustainable and just societies," he added. "To realize our opportunity, we have to choose responsibility -- not just say we choose it -- but commit to developing the capacity -- at every level -- to understand the material, physical, and moral consequences of the choices we make. Our choices will determine the future of the planet."
Faith for Earth was written and edited in consultation with dozens of faith leaders and religious scholars, and with scientific review from UNEP program directors, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication.
The online edition of Faith for Earth is available as a free download at UNEP's Faith for Earth website and through the Parliament's Climate Action website, and includes links to scores of interactive features, resources, and real-time information about global environmental trends.
Funding for Faith for Earth was provided by UNEP, the Thomas Berry Foundation, and Sikh Gurdwara San Jose, with additional support from individual donors.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP's Faith for Earth Initiative is uniting religions around the world to focus on environmental issues.
About the Parliament of the World's Religions Climate Action
The Parliament of the World's Religions was created to cultivate harmony among the world's religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful, and sustainable world. The Parliament's Climate Action Task Force recognizes that human experience and scientific evidence reinforce the reality that the danger posed by human-caused climate change is irrefutable and growing rapidly.
For more information, please contact:
Keishamaza Rukikaire, Head of News and Media, UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
Joshua Basofin, Director of Climate Action, Parliament of the World's Religions