Mountain Landscape

Take action today
for people and planet

 Seven Key Areas 

3. Wisdom

Many faiths – and indeed many secular organisations as well – recognise that the environmental crisis is a spiritual issue, an external sign of deep malaise. Therefore its solution can only be found through exploring the root causes of this degradation; in particular, in fostering an ethos or an atmosphere of compassion and care for the natural world. While many wish to legislate our way out of these crises, the faiths wish to guide, not with ethics and codes but by example and mindfulness, care and companionship, rooted in their experience down the centuries and millennia.

The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness. It affords protection to all beings, offering shade even to the axe-man who destroys it ~ Gautama Buddha

Passing on wisdom and knowledge

Theological foundations for environmental action and care have been around, in every major faith, for a long time. Environmental issues are now high on the public agenda in many countries. Yet many faiths must ask themselves why environmentalism is still a relatively marginal concern in their thought and practice. In addition, all faiths have a tradition of care for those who are going through suffering or crisis, and they have tried and tested ways of teaching their future leaders to pass on the wisdom of the ages, adapted to the requirements of the present day. Wisdom is multi-generational, something to be shared among all ages. The passing on of wisdom and knowledge to the next generation is key to the success of any environmental movement.

Man in Library

TRAINING

  1. How do you train your religious teachers and future religious leaders on environmental issues?

  2. How could the training curriculum for faith leaders address our relationship with nature? Can they be equipped to support efforts to protect nature?

  3. Have you based your training curricula on the theology and value your faith holds?

  4. Has training been made accessible to all faith members as and when it is appropriate?

  5. Have you considered how training courses may be funded when this is required?

Young Buddhist Monks

CRISIS and ADAPTATION

  1. What is the role of crisis in your theology and how have you dealt with crises in the past? How does your faith respond to our ecological crisis today?

  2. What strategies or tools from your experience could you apply to responding to climate change and threats to biodiversity?

  3. Have you created a plan for your faith to care for those affected by climate change or environmental catastrophe, so that in case of flood, or famine or typhoon, you are as prepared?

  4. How will you care for marginalised groups in society when a crisis occurs? Have you considered the impact of race, gender, age etc?

  5. Have you assessed the trajectory of a potential crisis in the long term and what kind of adaptation may be needed in the future?

  6. Have you consulted the science regarding environmental adaptation and climate solutions to ensure your plans are best suited to your local environment or context?

Sky

LITURGIES, SCRIPTURES
and PRAYER

  1. Can your liturgies, study of scriptures, services and orders of prayer and practice be developed in line with your theology to include not only your tradition of caring for the natural world but also your values of treading lightly on the earth and judging people by how they behave, not by what they own?

  2. Do you have existing prayers, meditations, and liturgies that are specific to the environment and nature? Are these used or practised regularly?

  3. How you could better integrate nature and creation into prayer and meditation?

Church on a Mountain

SACRED PLACES

  1. What role have your sacred places traditionally played in helping preserve habitats for wildlife? For example, churchyards are often vital eco-systems in urban areas; sacred mountains are sanctuaries for many endangered animals; and holy water sources – wells, streams and lakes – can be the last refuge for creatures whose habitats have been destroyed or polluted.

  2. Why are these spaces sacred and what does your theology say about the sacred nature of the place?

  3. Are you the main stakeholder within the sacred space? Who are the other stakeholders and what is their interest in the space?

  4. Have the sacred spaces been mapped and assessed for monitoring?

  5. Is there potential to involve the public or your wider community in the protection and maintenance of the space?

Praying In Mosque

THEOLOGY OF NATURE, WATER and NATURAL RESOURCES 

  1. Every major faith has developed a statement about its relationship with nature.

  2. Have you read the statements from your faith tradition?

  3. Has your faith or your faith tradition created and published theological statements about the human relationship with water, with forests, with land or with pollution?

  4. Can you find these? Publicise them? Quote from them? Make them easily available in your libraries and on your website?

  5. If your own tradition has not created these, can it do so?

Gentle Stream

STORIES and PRACTICES

  1. Are there any stories or traditional practices, now no longer used, that highlight how your tradition has always cared for creation and the natural environment? Can these be revived?

  2. How will you tell these stories, and what is the audience you are trying to reach and inspire?

  3. Does your faith have prohibitions about what to eat and what to hunt, and can those practices be applied to any pointless waste of resources?

Hebrew Prayer Books

G. PRAYER and 
MEDITATION

  1. Can you pray for a better, more harmonious world; for human beings to find solutions to those problems they can change, and to accept those problems they cannot?

  2. Many people within many religions have occasions to pray or meditate for something to change, and occasions to be grateful for what they have. Can gratitude for, or mindfulness of, the abundant gifts of nature, and, for example, all the work involved in creating your food, play a greater part in your practice?

  3. Have you considered where to pray or meditate? Could times of dedicated prayer and meditation be held outside in nature or areas related to what you are praying for?

Reading a Prayer Book

Supporting US church leaders in carrying out their divine responsibility to the Earth

 Center for Earth Ethics 

The US-based Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) is a non-profit Christian organisation working towards a vision of the world where value is measured by the sustained well-being of people and planet. Its work is carried out through four main programmes, centred on an understanding that systematic changes are needed in both policy and culture.

  • Eco-Ministry

  • Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement

  • Original Caretakers

  • Sustainability and Global Affairs

In April 2021, CEE, along with the Climate Reality Project, hosted an online programme of Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training. The training offered expert guidance on three topics: stopping fossil fuel expansion, accelerating climate solutions, and driving federal climate action in the US.

 

Rev. Darin Lamar Jones, director of operations at CEE, said “The reason we should involve ourselves in ethical action is because we have a divine responsibility and role in allowing the world to engage in the harmony originally envisioned by God.”

 CASE STUDY 

'We have a divine responsibility and role in allowing the world to engage in the harmony originally envisioned by God' – Rev Darin Lamar Jones

Forest

CASE STUDY
Eco-congregations point the way for sustainable living 

Read more

CASE STUDY
Sikhs and Hindus
produce green guides
for their temples 

CCaMichaelCoghlan.jpg

CASE STUDY
Scottish Christians develop 'Church Check-Up' toolkit 

Interested in finding out more?

If your organisation is interested in learning more about the Faith Plans programme, please contact us. And don't forget to sign up to our newsletters to be notified of new resources and webinars.

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