Days before the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23, 6-17 November) in Bonn, Germany, a group of faith-based organizations in Fiji has called on world leaders to redouble their commitments and to take urgent action against climate change.
In a special Multi-Faith Charter supported by the incoming Fijian Presidency of COP23, the group has announced its resolve to fight climate change and to inspire faith communities to fight to save the planet and humanity.
Here is the text of the charter:
As believers from several of the world’s faiths, we come together to express our deep concern over the warming climate that threatens the Earth, and especially our vulnerable seas and islands, which we hold in trust. We believe that we are not owners of the earth, but are its custodians, and that we are entrusted by the Creator with the stewardship of this planet.
We are responsible for the care of our rivers and oceans and all the flora and creatures that depend on the earth for life. We cannot fail to leave a healthy planet to our children and all future generations.
The scientific community’s consensus that climate change is caused by human activity is a call to action for all the nations of the earth. We confess that we have been poor stewards and that humankind’s wasteful behavior and unsustainable lifestyles have led to the crisis we are living today: climate change and massive loss of species – fish, corals, wild creatures – and degradation of forests, coastlines, glaciers and clean water sources.
As custodians of this great planet, it is our moral and ethical responsibility to collectively take urgent action to do all that is possible to combat climate change and save our planet and humanity.
The responsibility is ours, and the solutions lie in our hands through the scientific and technical knowledge we have amassed, in partnership with the traditional wisdom of indigenous peoples and the spiritual insights of people of faith the world over. We must sacrifice our current self-centered attitude and unsustainable habits and consumption patterns. We must now find and keep within us the will to do what is ethically and morally right, the foresight to forgo immediate gains for the greater good, and the hope that we can pass on to our children a legacy of living in harmony with nature.
We commit to work within our faith communities to encourage our people to take all actions necessary to consume resources responsibly, protect the world’s biodiversity and help reduce carbon emissions. Our faith challenges us individually and collectively to commit to this task in our daily lives. We will also encourage the faithful—and all people—to press their leaders for action at the international, regional and local levels to curb carbon emissions, to build community adaptation and resilience to impacts of climate change, and to adopt policies that will educate and encourage each individual to do his or her part.
It cannot be denied that there is an urgent moral and spiritual imperative to act decisively now. Our people need the assurance of a safer and more sustainable future for themselves and their children. We strongly call on all political leaders to redouble their commitments to act and, where necessary, show the courage that leadership demands. We affirm the statements made by faith communities over the history of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention. Specifically, we reaffirm the interfaith statement made in Marrakesh at COP22.
Urgently ask States to take bold action to rapidly reduce emissions, in line with the 1.5°C goal
Seek an effective Facilitative Dialogue that delivers:
o greater pre-2020 ambition
o improved NDC post-2020 emission reduction targets
o speeding the advance to net zero emission economies
o increased and innovative public and private finance to enable achievement of the 1.5°C goal
Urge the global community to support through sustainable financing, capacity building and technology transfer for ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk reduction as cost effective tools for all small island developing nations
And we warmly invite and encourage all men and women and groups of good will to endorse this statement by affixing their names at http://www.multifaith-cop23.com
See the COP23 Presidency website for more information.