The power of prayer and ethical behaviour are vital tools in the fight against climate change, according to an interfaith panel of respected religious figures.
Several senior representatives of different religions discussed how faith in God can contribute to the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha at a side-event organised by the World Council of Churches (WCC).
The “Ethical and Religious Insights on the Climate Crisis” began with a short film that the WCC made in Tuvalu, a small island state in the Pacific that could be wiped out if sea levels continue to rise.
One of the islanders described the issues his country is facing today, including the death of fish stocks and destruction of coral that acts as a barrier against coastal erosion from the sea.
Despite the threat of climate change to their country, the film showed that much of the population retains its faith in God and are optimistic about their fate. They just need the rest of the world to agree ways to dramatically reduce carbon emissions.
One of the island’s religious workers said: “We believe this is our home and our home was given by God. We ask the international community to do something to save us from going under the sea.”
After the film, the event heard from Sister Jayanti Kirpalani from the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University – Europe, who partly blamed climate change on the fact that much of the world population had rejected spirituality and the importance of the soul. “As a result there is no respect for other forms of life,” she said, adding that through prayer, “it is possible to heal nature and reverse the process of damage that we have been responsible for”.
Archbishop Seraphim Kykotis of Zimbabwe and Angola said that all religions and followers of religions had a duty to lead sustainable lifestyles. “I want to emphasise that most religions in their sacred texts uphold the need to care for creation.”
Father John T. Brinkman, of Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, a Catholic priest who has attended several UN climate change conferences, gave a presentation on the need for delegates to act ethically during negotiations. “Unless and until humanity achieves an ethical stance that recognises the intrinsic value of nature, all our efforts may well end in failure,” he said.