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LOOK: Religious Groups in PH Team up to Boost Climate Action

Christian, Buddhist, Islam, and Hindu leaders all expressed a common goal: divesting from fossil fuels.

Religious institutions remain important partners in the fight against the harmful effects of climate change— this is one of the key messages during this year’s Interfaith Summit on Climate Emergency hosted by Living Laudato Si’ Philippines.

Attended by religious leaders and personalities who advocate for a cleaner, safer, and more sustainable environment, the summit discussed ways on how to mitigate the harmful effects brought about by climate change— the recent floods and disasters that affected thousands of Filipinos across the country is one testament of this.

Climate Emergency

Serving as a platform for different religions and religious denominations nationwide, the event called on people to divest from fossil fuels and other environmentally destructive industries such as coal-fired power, mining, and plastic production. It is widely believed that financial investments affect and fuel the climate crisis. (Read: Catholic Groups Urge Duterte to Reject Coal, Ban Fossil Fuels)

Speakers of the event, which include leaders from Christian, Buddhist, Islam, and Hindu denominations, all shared a common message: divesting from fossil fuels is shifting the resources to climate change solutions and therefore, investing in a sustainable future.

In 2017, environmental groups called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to stop the operations of fuel and coal-fired power plants in Limay, Bataan, after residents reported having health problems due to ashes released by the plants. (Photo from GMA News / The Bohol Chronicle)

“We are called to work together to achieve genuine resilience,” says Rodne Galicha, Executive Director at Living Laudato Si’ Philippines. “Vulnerable peoples communities are paying the price set by the polluters. They must be held accountable. Reparation at all levels is necessary, which should lead to ecological conversion for our common home.”

Different Religions, One Goal

Having a sustainable environment and economy should be a common goal for each and everyone, no matter what background. This is what Pope Francis’ encyclicals Laudato si’ and Fratelli Tutti teach. (Read: How a Slight Change in Your Diet Can Help Fight Climate Change)

Each religion has its own set of doctrines and traditions on the significance of caring for the planet. This means that caring— and now saving— the Earth is the responsibility of every human being living on this planet. It is imperative to turn their beliefs into actions when it comes to responding to this climate emergency. 

New York, New York, 23 September 2019. World leaders and delegates gather at the United Nations headquarters for a summit to address climate change. (Photo from Spencer Platt / Getty Images / Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute)

Sustainable Development Goals

In fact, taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts is one of the United Nations’ (UN) sustainable development goals. 

“Climate change is affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives. Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, and weather events are becoming more extreme,” the UN said. (Read: Greta Thunberg Tells It All in Hulu Original Documentary, ‘I Am Greta’)

They added, “Saving lives and livelihoods require urgent action to address both the pandemic and the climate emergency.”

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