During this time of climate emergency, the URI network is stepping up to make a change. Amid climate refugees, drought, deforestation, species extinction, and the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, scientists from around the world agree that there may still be a small amount of time remaining in which humans can reverse the climate catastrophe. The United Nations has presented 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to provide a framework for achieving a solution to our global challenges.
Why Faith Leaders and Faith Based Organizations?
Faith Leaders and Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) are pivotal in attaining the United Nations SDGs because of their ability to provide immediate, on-the-ground care and support to people. They can engender the trust of their communities and inspire action that brings social change and transformation to villages and cities around the globe.
Within this context, URI is partnering with the Faith for Earth Initiative (UNEP) and other local entities to build the capacities and network of Faith Leaders and community members to respond quickly and effectively to the climate crisis.
What is Faith for Earth?
The Faith for Earth Councilor trainings in all three countries will create informed and well-prepared teams (comprised of a diverse group of Faith Leaders, students and young activists, NGOs and other community leaders) ready to support and organize their communities in becoming aware of what’s at stake for humans and nature in the short term, and to take life-affirming action for the long term. The trainings will bring together various Faith Based Organizations, universities and schools, and religious leaders to determine potential actions for the protection of the environment. URI, UNEP, and the Faith for Earth initiative will have a presence in the training.
The Faith for Earth Initiative project will take place in three countries this year: India, Bosnia, and Lebanon.
The work in India is already underway. There is a growing awareness in India of biodiversity loss and grave concerns regarding water, soil integrity, and the roles humans play in reversing global warming. On February 2, coinciding with World Interfaith Harmony Week, the regional URI team also undertook a soft launch of the project “Faith for Earth Councilors: Capacity Building and Development Program,” which aims to unite faith and inspire collective action to tend and protect nature. The project will run through 5th June 2021; Environment Day.
The Faith for Earth Councilors will have the support of their Faith for Earth Councilor peers, as well as resources provided throughout the training and recognition from their Faith Based Organization. Faith for Earth Councilors will learn the basic principles of community organizing and share with their communities powerful ways forward by weaving together faith teachings, the SDGs, and location-specific environmental education.