Leaders of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Hindu eco-movements came together online this week to give reflections at the halfway point of the COP26 conference and discuss the interfaith response to the climate emergency.
The event, entitled COP26: Faith Communities’ Response to the Climate Emergency was hosted by EcoSynagogue in partnership with the Board of Deputies and was chaired by EcoSynagogue’s Rabbi Mark Goldsmith.
Helen Stephens of Eco Church announced the launch of a scheme to protect land across Britain to restore 75,000 acres of land back to nature. She said: “By regenerating different types of ecosystem such as forests and wetlands we can absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere.
She added: “My hope for COP26 is that leaders will be bold and have the courage to make the commitments that are needed.”
Prubhiyot Singh of ECOSikhUK quoted the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev who said: “Earth is our Guru. Water is our father, earth is our mother. They give us life, we sleep in their laps night and day in which the entire world plays.” Prubhiyot added: “I think that line encompasses everything about why we need to look after our planet Earth and our natural world.”
Stephen Curran from Eco-Congregation Scotland said: “Climate action begins at home, we’re all responsible we can all do more. Climate action also begins at home.”
Mark Bryant from UFEES/EcoIslam said his strategy “is motivating the Muslim world into to engaging positively to redress the environmental emergencies and call upon them to live up to their responsibilities as guardians God’s creations and to leave a liveable earth for future generations.”
Tanya Sakhnovich of EcoSynagogue explained that the organisation aimed to provide “a mainstream Jewish voice in the climate emergency conversation”.
Gopal Patel of Bhumi Global said that his organisation worked with Hindus all over the world on issues of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. He said: “There is a real need for faith leaders to speak out into the public square. Our voice is so much needed.”
In conclusion, Board of Deputies Chief Executive Michael Wegier said: “One of the newest projects we have is this wonderful partnership with EcoSynagogue, adding, “It has been an absolute privilege to hear about the extraordinary work you are doing and are leading on behalf of this planet”
You can watch the full event here: