Impact of religions will have ‘deeper roots ‘ than Copenhagen

Impact of religions will have ‘deeper roots’ than Copenhagen


31st October, 2009

Archbishop speaks of the lasting impact of a religious movement to tackle climate change ahead of major summit of religious leaders

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has spoken out about the crucial role of the world’s religions in tackling climate change ahead of a major summit of faith leaders.

Speaking at Lambeth Palace this week, the Archbishop said religions held the ‘moral vision’ and that ultimately their impact would have ‘deeper roots’ than anything achievable at the Copenhagen summit.

His comments come as leaders from nine of the world’s major faiths – Baha’ism, Christianity, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Dhintoism and Sikhism – gather at a major summit in Windsor next week to announce commitments to tackling climate change.

Faith commitments

Among the practical measures being announced is a commitment by  The Northern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania to plant 8.5 million trees, and by Sikhs to source sustainable fuel for India’s Sikh gurdwaras, or temples, which cater for 30 million people every day.

Leaders will also announce a new Islamic eco label for goods and services, eco-tourism packages for pilgrimages (still the world’s biggest tourism events) and the turning of Shabbat into an environmental celebration of avoiding consumption.

Biggest civil movement

The event, being organised by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), has been described as ‘the biggest civil society movement on climate change in history,’ by the UN.

Faith communities own between 7-8 per cent of the habitable land surface of the planet, run (or are involved in) half the world’s schools and control more than 7 per cent of international financial investments.

UN Assistant Secretary-General Ola Kjorven said with more than 85 per cent of the world’s population adhering to a religion the commitments made at the Windsor summit had the potential to be, ‘the biggest mobilisation of people and communities that we have ever seen on this issue.’

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