Press Release: World's Largest Faith Networks Join Forces for Climate Change

16 August 2021, 3:39 PM

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 16, 2021    

 

Contacts: 

Gaea Denker, Communications Manager, United Religions Initiative, at [email protected]

or Lauren Van Ham, URI Climate Action Coordinator, at [email protected]

 

World’s Largest Interfaith Organizations, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, UN Environment Programme, Join Forces For Climate Change

As cities swelter and unprecedented natural disasters impact countless millions, the world’s largest grassroots interfaith peacebuilding network, United Religions Initiative, has officially joined forces with the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to take action.

This unprecedented partnership will officially launch this September with the unveiling of a public online resource that will provide tools for change, and document the monumental efforts faith leaders and organizations across the world are already taking to address climate issues worldwide.

The resource, called Faith Action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), includes a database that has been years in the making by the partners. In it, is a living, evolving, searchable directory of the environmental work being undertaken by faith-based organizations across the globe to further the aims of the Faith for Earth Initiative of UNEP and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Categories of work include Affordable and Clean Energy, Clean Water and Sanitation, and more.

Says United Religions Initiative Interim Executive Director, Swamini Adityananda Saraswati, “Faith leaders of our world can no longer take a blind eye to the enormous repercussions of climate change. Now is the time for great and concerted action, if we are to ensure the survival of countless people. This partnership with UNEP, the Parliament of the World’s Religions and the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology demonstrates just that.”

The launch of the online resources being produced under this partnership will take place on September 2, 2021 at 11am Eastern Standard Time during a public event accessible without charge by registering here. The event will include remarks from leaders of interfaith, educational, and faith-based organizations, as well as a special demonstration.

Says The Right Rev. William E. Swing, President and Founding Trustee of URI and Former Episcopal Bishop of California: "This partnership is a much-needed opportunity for all people, from congregation members to policymakers, to understand the bigger picture of what faith organizations are doing to help the planet. I hope it will serve as an inspiration and a catalyst for further actions to protect our shared planet and benefit humanity."

“In the 21st century we are facing ecological challenges yet unseen throughout the arc of human history. This resource celebrates the rich biodiversity of beliefs, ecosystems, and goals necessary to envision a sustainable and flourishing Earth community,” says Mary Evelyn Tucker, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, Yale University. “Religious and spiritual values are necessary for a sustainable and flourishing future. We are proud to work alongside other like-minded organizations to provide this resource for the greater Earth community.”

“The fruits of this partnership are already blooming,” says URI Climate Action Coordinator Rev. Lauren Van Ham. “We need absolutely everyone to participate in the care and restoration of Earth; and our jointly-produced resources will provide information, ideas, and inspiration, while also showcasing environmental responses being conducted worldwide in the name of all that is Holy and Good.”  

“Tapping into more than a century of collective experience of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, URI, and UNEP Faith for Earth and the abundance of faith action to achieve sustainability are demonstrated by this powerful interactive tool,” says Iyad Abumoghli, Director Faith for Earth.

“As UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed correctly surmised, the support and activism of Faith-Based Organizations is essential to meeting the SDGs. Though sometimes overlooked in the context of global efforts to achieve the SDGs, faith progress towards the goals has been critical on a number of fronts, including adoption of renewable energy, conservation, access to clean water, and sustainable agriculture. We are proud to be a partner in this project, sharing this important work with the world,” says David Hales, Chair, Climate Action Task Force, Parliament of the World's Religions.

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Notes to Editor:

URI (United Religions Initiative) is the largest grassroots interfaith peacebuilding network in the world. It cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities. We implement our mission in 112 countries through local and global initiatives that build the capacity of over 1,000 member groups and organizations to engage in community action such as conflict resolution and reconciliation, environmental sustainability, education, women’s and youth programs, and advocacy for human rights.

URI holds the prestigious distinction of being a non-governmental organization (NGO) with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and has long-standing partnerships with several other UN agencies. For more information: https://www.uri.org

The Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology is an international multireligious project contributing to a new academic field and an engaged moral force of religious environmentalism. With its conferences, publications, monthly newsletter, and website, it explores religious worldviews, texts, and ethics in order to contribute to environmental solutions along with science, policy, law, economics, and appropriate technology. Its vision is a flourishing Earth community where religious and spiritual traditions join together for the shared well-being of ecosystems, life forms, and people on our common planetary home. For more information: https://fore.yale.edu

The Parliament of the World’s Religions is an interfaith convening organization that cultivates harmony among the world's religious and spiritual communities and fosters their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world. For more information: https://parliamentofreligions.org

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched The Faith for Earth Initiative in November 2017. The goal of Faith for Earth is to strategically engage with faith-based organizations and partner with them to collectively achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and fulfill the objectives of the 2030 Agenda. Faith for Earth has three main goals: to inspire and empower faith organizations and their leaders to advocate for protecting the environment, to green faith-based organizations’ investments and assets to support the implementation of SDGs, and to provide them with knowledge and networks to enable their leaders to effectively communicate with decision-makers and the public. For more information: https://www.unep.org, https://www.unep.org/about-un-environment/faith-earth-initiative