Year 3, Month 10, Day 21: The Air, The Air Is Everywhere

The Jakarta Post opines that the faithful are motivated to do something about climate change as a consequence of their beliefs. Okay, if you say so…

The Green Bible is a 2008 edition of the Christian holy book, published by HarperCollins. There are more than 1,000 references to the Earth in the Bible, and this 2008 copy is printed on recycled paper using soy-based ink.

Likewise, Islam’s Koran also contains numerous surahs (chapters) that both enlighten and command Muslims to use and not abuse the natural bounty the Earth provides. “Do not commit abuse on the Earth, spreading corruption.” (Al-Ankabut 29:36) is just one example.

Meanwhile in Bali, adherents to Hinduism, the island’s majority faith, believe in the trihita karana. This is the belief that happiness derives from the relationship between people and God, the relationship between people and people, and the relationship between people and nature.

Religious writer and scholar Fachruddin M. Mangunjaya raised a profound question in a recent paper on climate change and religion: Who were the first environmental campaigners? Answer: Followers of the world’s religions.

Fachruddin, a lecturer in biology at the National University in Jakarta, told a September 2012 climate change writing clinic for youths in Jakarta that religion had been a major mover, which had established numerous world civilizations.

Now with environmental crises and the impact of climate change casting threats on human civilization, people are returning to religious teachings and reassessing their meaning of and obligations in life.

I’ll believe it when I see it. Oh, wait… Sent October 14:

When it comes to taking meaningful action on climate change, many followers of the great religious traditions find inspiration and motivation in their beliefs. But it is a grave error to assume that all religiously-driven individuals will be receptive to the scientific facts of the climate crisis. In the United States, many devout Christians decided long ago that science could only be regarded as an enemy of their faith — and this antipathy towards scientific method and results carries over into their attitude towards environmental problems, which are strongly identified with the scientists who research and describe them.

A significant minority of Christians also adhere to doctrines which preach the imminence of a “day of judgement” in which the Earth as we know it will be destroyed and afterlife preference given to “true believers.” It is self-evident that such a belief is antithetical to any notion of sustainability as a desirable goal.

If we are to reconcile the directives of faith and the long-term requirements of our planetary environment, religious leaders must work with scientists in the interests of our civilization, our species, and the web of life of which we humans are a part.

Warren Senders


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