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Faiths rise to tackle ecological crisis after COP26

Faith Plans provides a timely opportunity for faith communities to say how they will tackle the ecological crisis within this decade. A report by Faith Plans Programme Manager Catherine Devitt.

People representing faith traditions from all around the world gathered online on 16 December 2021 to hear about how, in the aftermath of COP26, faith groups are rising to act on climate change and environmental destruction.

Oil covered rubber gloves

Moderator, Gopal Patel of Bhumi Global, opened the event emphasising the role of faith as a motivating factor to drive action, and how faiths of all traditions are now putting their values front and centre in leading on genuine and positive change for a safe and secure future.

In her contribution, Dr. Lorna Gold of FaithInvest, cited recent evidence of worsening climate impacts to communicate the urgency for action. As stakeholders in the future of the planet, faith communities are waking up to recognise the scale of resources at their disposal that can be mobilised to tackle the crises, in addition to the scale of the problem.

Drawing on the CYNESA (Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa) experiences of developing a Faith Plan, Allen Ottaro explained how it is crucial that their engagement with young people on environmental action addresses other prevailing social and economic problems. Their Faith Plans journey has involved reflection on what they have accomplished to date to incorporate past learning, and to identify resources available. He recommended collaboration, dialogue, and widespread consultation, especially with young people, to chart how everyone can work together in creating and implementing a Faith Plan.

Reverend Susan Hendershot of Interfaith Power and Light echoed the consensus of the gathering – faiths are moved into action because of their beliefs and values. In their programmes, faith communities are encouraged to create a green team to take practical steps towards reducing their energy consumption.

Following engaging discussion with the panel during which common themes included the need for collaboration and hope, Lorna wrapped up the event by outlining next steps for the Faith Plans programme. The Faith Plans website includes useful resources and guidance for many different faiths and, throughout 2022, the programme will host a series of practical, discussion-based workshops. The first workshop How to develop a Faith Plan: Early Lessons for Long-term Success takes place on 20 January 2022.

Register for the workshop here.


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