New paper says Faith Plans is the 'boldest faith environment initiative to date'


Faith Plans is delighted and heartened by the conclusion of a new paper that says the Faith Plans programme represents 'the most prominent and boldest environmental initiative to date by the global faith community'.


The paper was co-authored by Dr Antonino Puglisi, a member of the Focolare movement, and Prof Dr Johan Buitendag of the University of Pretoria, and explores the importance of a faith-based approach to tackling the environmental crisis. Entitled 'A faith-based environmental approach for people and the planet: Some inter-religious perspectives on our Earth-embeddedness', it was published by AOSIS Publishing on 28 June 2022.


'It is becoming increasingly clear that a lasting and effective social commitment must consider cultural, sociological and religious dimensions. In particular, the current environmental crisis has demonstrated how effectively religious communities have mobilised to respond to climate change.'

The research for the paper was part of the project, ‘Understanding Reality (Theology and Nature)’, directed by Prof. Dr Johan Buitendag at the Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.


The paper cites numerous practical examples of how faiths from Buddhism and Hinduism to Christianity, Judaism and Islam have taken concrete steps to protect and preserve the environment. This can be anything from a high level edict, mandating believers to take action to protect endangered species of animals, forests and lands, or as complex as spiritual direct action, such as the Buddhist monks in Cambodia who bless trees to reduce forest crime such as illegal logging.


'With their emphasis on wisdom, social cohesion and interrelationships, religions can be a strategic player in ensuring effective integral human development.'

In the past, the report goes on to say, protected management and governance were primarily based on scientific research. But, by moving beyond the purely scientific lens, to incorporating spiritual perspectives, this serves to 'engage and empower an array of stakeholders from different cultural and religious backgrounds'. In other words, it not only broadens the narrative, but it serves as a tool for greater engagement by stakeholders who might previously have been excluded.


The paper explores the origins and evolution of faith action for people and planet, and concludes that the Faith Plans programme represents 'the most prominent and boldest environmental initiative to date by the global faith community'.


'The United Nations (UN) and many governments are increasingly recognising the vital contribution of religious leaders and organisations in political processes.'

FaithInvest welcomes this paper, with its strong emphasis on the central role of faiths in working to tackle the environmental crisis, as we seek to fulfil our mission for people and planet.


The paper is available to download from the AOSIS website.


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'A faith-based environmental approach for people and the planet: Some inter-religious perspectives on our Earth-embeddedness' © 2022 Antonino Puglisi, Johan Buitendag | The work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0 Visit AOSIS Publishing for more information or download the full paper here: HTML | EPUB | XML | PDF (912KB)