Just last week, the Washington Post reported that our Arctic Sea ice is melting much faster than climate experts anticipated. “Sea levels could rise nearly twice as much as previously predicted by the end of this century if carbon dioxide emissions continue unabated, an outcome that could devastate coastal communities around the globe, according to new research published Wednesday.”
Last fall in Paris, the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change reached an historic agreement on curbing green house gas emissions. But that agreement isn’t formal until nations officially ratify on April 18 in a meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York. Moreover, while a remarkable achievement for this governance body, the agreement doesn’t go nearly far enough to preserve the possibility of a livable planet.
In response, people of faith from around the world are publicly signing on to a new Interfaith Statement on Climate Change. This statement declares support for country-level ratification and implementation of the Paris agreement followed by an increase in reduction pledges and a commitment to a just transition to clean energy. It also insists that wealthy nations cooperate to meet the needs of those already-marginalized communities who are and will suffer from inevitable climate change.
The faith community is playing an increasingly important role in normalizing climate action and holding governments accountable. Recognition is growing that it is our responsibility not just to follow but to lead in the transition to a just and sustainable world, for the benefit of all. The Dharma offers a vital perspective in this growing movement. As the Dharma Teachers’ Statement on Climate Change says,
When we come together to celebrate our love for the natural world and all of the beings that inhabit it, and when we take a stand to counter the forces of craving, aversion, and delusion, we reclaim our own inner stability and strength and live closer to the truth, closer to the Dharma. Together, we can seek to ensure that our descendants and fellow species inherit a livable planet. Individually and collectively, we will be honoring the great legacy of the Dharma and fulfill our heart’s deepest wish to serve and protect all life.
With representatives from Plum Village, SGI, Shambhala, and other members of the Global Buddhist Climate Change Collective, One Earth Sangha is proud to have contributed to the support of this statement. We invite you now to sign this and share it widely, not just within your mindfulness and Buddhist networks but with all those who resonate with the need to act on climate as a matter of moral responsibility.
Six Key Points from the Interfaith Climate Change Statement:
- Urge governments to rapidly sign, ratify and implement the Paris Agreement, and to increase pledges to reduce emissions in line with keeping the global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels;
- Insist on rapid emissions reduction and peaking by 2020, in order to keep the 1.5C goal within reach;
- Strongly advocate for greater flows of finance, especially for adaptation and loss and damage;
- Urge the swift phase out of all fossil fuel subsidies and a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050;
- Encourage faith communities to reduce emissions in their homes, workplaces and centres of worship and to support and stand in solidarity with communities already impacted by climate change; and
- Call for fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment in renewables and low carbon solutions, including within our own communities, and/or by engaging companies on climate change.
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