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Vancouver’s Faith Groups Respond to Climate Crisis

Press Release

Vancouver’s Faith Groups Respond to Climate Crisis

KAIROS, a group of religious organizations working together for eco-justice, has urged participation from people of faith in the October 24th Global Day of Climate Action and the local “Bridge to a Cool Planet” event scheduled for the Cambie Bridge, Science World and Christ Church Cathedral.  Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Unitarian, Sikh, Buddhist and Hindu groups have participated in previous events and have made significant efforts to support actions to avert a climate crisis. Recently religious leaders have called for a moratorium on Tar Sands Development, the creation of a carbon tax, supported specific targets for greenhouse gas reductions at the Copenhagen conference, and urged their members to live simple and sustainable lifestyles. Groups which differ theologically find common ground in protecting and preserving the planets earth, air and water for future generations. They emphasize both personal and collective responsibility for the impact of human activity on the climate and have begun to reframe “social justice” issues such as poverty, relief work and global peace as “eco-justice” issues that are determined by the stewardship of planetary resources. Ecumenical and interfaith cooperation has developed in many areas and adds both ethical and spiritual weight to the efforts to impress political leaders with the necessity of decisive action on the climate. Local Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Unitarian and other groups “walk the walk” in their own activities by reducing their carbon footprint, developing educational programs and incorporating into celebrations and liturgies a renewed respect for the natural world that goes beyond the secular and scientific statistics. Some have even argued for an “ecological reformation” that re-examines tradition religious beliefs in the light of our improved understanding of the intimate interrelationship of all living things. The sacred “web of life” has been endangered by thoughtless and greedy human activities. Faith groups are working to “care for creation” in concrete ways that will protect and preserve it into the future.

A Call to People of Faith

The world’s great faith traditions of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Baha’i and many others acknowledge the great gift of fertile soil, clear air and pure water. They also recognize the sacred trust of preserving and sustaining these elements of life for all people today and for future generations. In this time of planetary peril when the effects of human activity push us toward a climate crisis and rupture our relations with the natural world, we call on people of all faiths to join in calling for decisive action by our representatives at the Copenhagen Climate Conference and to rally with hundreds of other concerned citizens in Vancouver on October 24th at noon on the Cambie Street Bridge in support of efforts to live simply and sustainably on the Earth and equitably with our neighbours. People of faith have sought social justice in the past for the poor and the oppressed. Let us now join in efforts to extend justice to the web of life that sustains us all and that suffers from our waste and greed. Let us view with compassion the species that we have put at risk and restore the harmony and balance that our activities disturb. Let us act out of our deepest values and the heritage of wisdom passed to us by our best teachings. We live in the bounty and the beauty of the natural world, let us do our best to protect and preserve it even as we celebrate with joy and gratitude ageless sacred source of all life.

Bob Worcester, President

MultiFaith Action Society