June 2023 – Inter-Religious environmentalism Culture Cafe

URI MENA hostes a Cultural Cafe on the topic “interfaith cooperation for environment peacebuilding”. We had a high number of participants from various Cooperation Circles in the office. Online, people from eight countries joined. 

What is interfaith environmenatlism?

It incorporates the advantages of environmental peacebuilding and sustainable development together while acknowledging the importance of bringing together different religious and cultural communities. It promotes collaboration between members of different religious groups to save the environment.

Why is interfaith environmentalism useful?

  • reach communities through religious leaders
  • Acceptance
  • the network already exists
  • religious or spiritual people are generally open to protecting the environment
  • opportunity and an obligation to help guide the world toward sustainability
  • requires innovative measures that will work in a wide variety of social and cultural settings
  • Religious leaders deal with the current environmental issues from their religious understanding of earth and man.
  • build bridges; it will promote interreligious goodwill and reduce tensions, Also, negative stereotypes and prejudices towards others involved are likely to fade.
  • settle existing conflicts along religiously motivated lines

What are challenges? 

  • religious aspects, it has focused almost exclusively on what is called the “world religions.”
  • spiritual people or atheists excluded?
  • fuel religiously motivated violence within communities

Further links to read about interfaith environmental projects from URI people around the globe.

Interfaith Peace Building On Natural Resources Management of Kampot provence, Cambodia celebrates Buddha Day by affirming their commitments to the mangrove forest and to each other: https://www.uri.org/uri-story/20180705-love-forest-love-life

Humanity is facing a severe climate crisis and the majority of civil wars are linked to control over natural resources e.g. land, oil and water. No matter where people live on this earth, they are confronted with this crisis. As for the majority of the world population religious values are driving their behavior, the United Nations initiated the Faith for Earth programme to call on religious leaders and religious communities to engage in environmental protection and climate activism: https://www.uri-mena.org/portfolio-item/faith-for-earth-initiative-for-the-mena-region/