Christians in the USA backed Bush in the last election, helping him defeat Kerry, at a time when Bush was still in denial over Climate Change. Theres a group called Creation Care, which holds that Christians have an obligation, described in the Book of Genesis, to "replenish the Earth" as God's stewards. "This is not …a green issue, it's a spiritual issue." Says Evalangelist Richard Cizik, friend of President G.W. Bush and Bono from U2. (2) Also author of ‘Saving God’s Green Earth’, pastor Tri Robinson talks about ‘environmental stewardship’. (3) There is a book called God is Green by Ian Bradley, discussing ‘ecology for Christians’. (4) The Bishop of London preached about the 'sin of flying' when being driven around in a gas-guzzling chauffeur driven car, but like Cameron claimed he had to carry things (robes & mitre) and when not on duty uses the tube. Another Christian says "We don't inherit the world from our parents, we borrow it from our children".
The Catholic Church is moving very slowly on this issue. The Vatican claims that it is studying the problem and, in the meantime, uses low energy light bulbs throughout its vast organisation, lets hope they reach a conclusion before too long.
According to Hinduism, the divine spirit is present in every molecule. Even trees, rivers and mountains are believed to have souls, and should be honoured and cared for. Hinduism stresses that true happiness comes from within not from outer possessions. This means that the search for material possessions, and the consumption of materials and energy it brings, should not be allowed to dominate life. (5)
Judaism wasnt given much time in the programme, but has given the world one ecological practice, the Sabbath for on that day one is to do no work. Also there is a belief that the Earth belongs not to us, but that we belong to it. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai said, 'Three things are of equal importance - earth, humans and rain'. Rabbi Levi ben Hiyyata said, '...to teach that without earth, there is no rain, and without rain, the earth cannot endure, and without either, humans cannot exist'. (7)
Green Party National Executive Treasurer Khalid Hussenbux stated that ‘the Koran proclaims the need to protect the Earth’. What do Muslims teach about ecology? Khalifa – trusteeship. Muslims believe that Allah created humans to be guardians of His creation. In other words, nature does not belong to us to do with as we wish, but is entrusted by Allah to our safe-keeping. It is said in the Qur’an that Allah invites us to enjoy the fruits of the earth, but to avoid excess leading to waste, ‘for Allah does not love wasters.’ Our responsibility is to keep balance and harmony in Allah’s creation. The Laws of Islam protect animals from cruelty, conserves forests, and limits the growth of cities. (8)
There is an alliance of environmental religious organisations, ARC, founded in 1995 by HRH Prince Philip! They ask the question, who were the first environmental campaigners? The world’s religions. Why? Because in all their sacred books, through their traditional practices and running as a thread through the protection of sacred sites runs care and compassion for the natural world (9) Spiritualist organisations don't get much of a mention but you can't have everything.
1. You can watch it on www.pbs.org/moyers/moyersonamerica/green/index.html