October 30, 2009

Climate change unites religious leaders

by David Masters

Religious leaders from Britain’s largest faith communities have together called for “urgent measures” to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and Catholic Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols were joined by Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Baha’i, Jain and Zoroastrian representatives in a meeting at Lambeth Palace.

Following the meeting, the leaders issued a joint statement warning that climate change presents a “very real threat to the world’s poor and to our fragile creation.”

“We recognise unequivocally that there is a moral imperative to tackle the causes of global warming,” they added.

Rowan Williams, the leader of the Anglican Church, said the meeting was the first of its kind in the UK.

“We all have to do more to face the challenges of climate change,” he said.

“Faith communities have a crucial role to play.”

Jonathan Sacks used the story of Noah to point out that the world could end up under water if people don’t work together to fight climate change.

“We are taken from the earth and therefore owe it a sense of kinship and responsibility,” he said.

“We believe our very existence as human beings come wrapped up in environmental imperatives and ecological responsibility.”

Like Williams, Sacks believes religion has a vital role to play in the fight against global warming.

“What religion allows us to do is take the big ideas and translate them into daily rituals,” Sacks said.

Ed Miliband, government minister for energy and climate change, welcomed the statement by the faith leaders.

“Tackling climate change is a cause that unites people of all faiths,” Miliband said.

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