I am overjoyed to read the recently published Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change. This declaration is much briefer than the statement from the Vatican, and more to the point. It is my sincere hope that people will take this declaration to heart and heed its call to change. I applaud the writers of this document, and thank them for their efforts to save our common home.
The writers made three points that particularly resonate with me. Their call for compassion in the treatment of all things is most important, and a point that needs to be brought home to people, as it provides the motivation for ethical treatment of the environment and each other. This is the root of the ethics that grow from a contemplative practice, and provides a unitive worldview. If we are all One, how can we hurt each other? When working from a base of compassion and Oneness, harming others is unthinkable.
I was especially glad to see them call on business to abandon the growth model of economics and adopt a sustainable model. This call has the potential to bring about the greatest benefit for the climate and for all of us, as it is the economic considerations involved in change that have caused the delay in moving toward greener modes of living and working. This is also the most problematic, as a merely sustainable economy provides less spectacular financial return, and does not appeal to those who prefer aggressive business practices and large financial returns. The majority of the people involved in decision-making in business are attached to their power, and have little concern for those less fortunate. They will not give up their positions of privilege without a struggle.
Finally, their request for collaboration with “all groups” in working for the climate is just what is needed, as none of us can make any inroads in this problem without help from each other. Each faith group needs to address this issue with its members in a way that makes sense for them, and that will provide the motivation to make the necessary changes. People need to see that the environmental degradation we have now is a spiritual and moral issue, and that we all can make a difference, regardless of our faith tradition. I echo their call to work together:
“If we each offer the best of our respective traditions, we may yet see a way through our difficulties.”
And I say, amen.
Copyright © 2015 Teresa Chupp. All rights reserved.