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Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 142.
Are people who believe in a Creator charged with caring for the creation? For people of faith, do our religious beliefs call upon us to act as the responsible stewards of nature? The Baha’i teachings say that nature is the embodiment of God’s name, “the Maker, the Creator.” What does that mean for our beliefs and our lives? Does God want us to be green?
Increasingly, Faith traditions from all parts of the world have begun to answer a resounding Yes! to that important question:
The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. – Pope Francis, Laudato Si, the Papal Encyclical on Climate Change and Poverty.
Pollution and global warming pose an even greater threat than war, and the fight to preserve the environment could be the most positive way of bringing humanity together. – Sheikh Ali Gomaa, Islamic Grand Mufti of Egypt
Each believer and each leader, each field and each discipline, each institution and each individual must be touched by the call to change our greedy ways and destructive habits. – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, Spiritual Leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church, speaking at the U.N. Interfaith Summit on Climate Change, 2014.
Centuries of rapacious exploitation of the planet have caught up with us… it may be too late to avert drastic climate change …and such calamitous challenges as population displacement, food and water shortage, catastrophic weather, and rampant disease. – The Hindu Declaration on Climate Change, from the 2009 Parliament of World Religions.
Excessive pollution from fossil fuels threatens to destroy the gifts bestowed on us by God, whom we know as Allah – gifts such as a functioning climate, healthy air to breathe, regular seasons, and living oceans. But our attitude to these gifts has been short-sighted, and we have abused them. What will future generations say of us, who leave them a degraded planet as our legacy? How will we face our Lord and Creator? – The Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change
…humans must be proactive and take responsibility for our contributions to climate change—big and small. – Official statement of the Southern Baptist Church, 2008.
The worst possible aspect of climate change is that it will be irreversible and irrevocable. Therefore, there is the urgency to do whatever we can to protect the environment while we can. – The Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhist leader
We now face the unprecedented challenge of climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions, and the need for serious and urgent action on this issue has never been clearer. Climate change is fundamentally a social justice issue that marries our mandate to be good stewards of the earth with our call to care for the least among us. – 2009 Resolution of the Commission on Social Action to the Union for Reform Judaism.
Christians, noting the fact that most of the climate change problem is human induced, are reminded that when God made humanity he commissioned us to exercise stewardship over the earth and its creatures. Climate change is the latest evidence of our failure to exercise proper stewardship, and constitutes a critical opportunity for us to do better. – Official statement of the Evangelical Climate Initiative
The principle of the oneness of humankind must become the ruling principle of international life. This principle does not seek to undermine national autonomy or suppress cultural or intellectual diversity. Rather, it makes it possible to view the climate change challenge through a new lens—one that perceives humanity as a unified whole, not unlike the cells of the human body, infinitely differentiated in form and function yet united in a common purpose which exceeds that of its component parts. This principle constitutes more than a call for cooperation; it seeks to remold anachronistic and unjust patterns of human interaction in a manner that reflects the relationships that bind us as members of one human race. – “Seizing the Opportunity: Redefining the Challenge of Climate Change,” Statement of the Baha’i International Community, December 2008.
As you can see, the world’s great Faiths have an increasing level of agreement and common purpose in this cause. Statements from the leaders of just about every major religion on Earth advise us to care for our planet and protect our environment, as a basic part of our spiritual life.
Can you imagine the power of that unified perspective if it begins to extend itself to all people of faith?