Religious Leaders Unite to Call for a Just, Legally Binding Agreement at Cop17

Article excerpt

Climate change is becoming a hot topic in Africa, and African religious leaders, who could be talking about saving souls, are taking a stand. We recognise that ordinary people can make an enormous difference.

Since our "We Have Faith - Act Now for Climate Justice" campaign kicked off earlier this year, we have often been asked why faith leaders are speaking out. The answers are important: they point the way to ensuring a future for coming generations. And we cannot afford to fail.

Climate change is fundamentally a moral and spiritual issue and will only be solved by applying moral principles. Africa is a continent of the faithful, and the sacred texts of all of our faiths point to caring for the environment and all humankind.

The Qur'an states "None of you believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself", and the Baha'i leader Baha'u'llah said, "Ascribe not that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee". Christians and Jews are called to "Love thy neighbour as thyself". We need to see that our neighbour is all of life and that we are totally dependent on the wellbeing of the planet. Buddhism's Maha Ghosananda says: "When we accept that we are part of a great human family, then we will sit, talk, make peace."

All religions also call for equitable sharing of resources and respect and care for the natural world.

"We Have Faith" is a multi-faith campaign in which religious leaders are calling on world governments at the COP17 climate talks in Durban at the end of the year to reach a just, legally binding agreement to curb carbon emissions, and for a renewal of the Kyoto Protocol.

Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Baha'ia and Christian leaders have joined "Have Faith - Act Now".

We invite concerned citizens of South Africa, Africa and the world to sign our "We Have Faith" petition on www.wehavefaithactnow.org and invite all faith groups to come to our rally on November 27 at King's Park Stadium in Durban and join our day of prayer on December 4 by holding prayers in their faith constituency for a just outcome to the COP17 talks.

We are coming together out of desperate necessity. After 16 years of international negotiations, current pledges by the nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are still predicted to lead to worsening climate change. Scientists say that average global temperatures have increased by 0.8*C in the past 100 years, most of this in the last three decades. …