Religious leaders call for spiritual solutions to climate change crisis

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  • November 2, 2011

OTTAWA - Representatives of 30 faith communities and organizations have asked politicians to mine the world’s religious traditions for the spiritual resources to meet the climate change crisis.

“Climate change is a global crisis and requires global solutions that put the well-being of all people first — especially the most vulnerable,” said the Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership on Climate Change, issued after a meeting here Oct. 23 and 24 organized by Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ).

“We recognize that at its root the unprecedented human contribution to climate change is symptomatic of a spiritual deficit: excessive self-interest, destructive competition and greed have given rise to unsustainable patterns of production and consumption,” the statement said.

Issued in advance of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in South Africa Nov. 29-Dec. 9, the statement called for a stock-taking on collective behaviour to transform cultures of “consumerism and waste” so as to develop sustainable economies based on values of “restraint, co-operation and reciprocity.”

The statement urged Canadian leaders to sign a binding international agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol that would commit nations to clear targets on carbon emission reduction; to develop national carbon emission targets and a renewal energy policy aimed at sustainability; and to implement “climate justice” by helping design a Green Climate Fund under the United Nations to mitigate the effects on the poorest countries.

“We cannot wait for others to act but instead must lead by example,” the statement said. “Religious organizations, public institutions and businesses all have important roles to play in promoting ethical consumption and more sustainable lifestyles and practices in their everyday operations.”

Signatories included the Anglican Church of Canada, the Canadian Council of Imams, the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec, the Federation of Hindu Temples of Canada, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada, the Salvation Army, the United Church of Canada, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives and CPJ.

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