Director of Movement Building Lorna Gold writes:
The past few weeks have been tumultuous in so many ways. The pandemic, finally, seems to be receding and life is returning to normal after two years of strange hiatus. But no sooner have people started to smile again (without masks) than war has come to the shores of Europe. It has come with a brutal force, everyone has been left stunned.
The distant threat of a nuclear conflagration, which was so present more than 30 years ago when I was a child, has exploded into the centre of world politics once more.
Meanwhile, the dire warnings of scientists in the latest IPCC Climate Report could not be starker: the physical impacts of climate change are already being felt by more than 40% of the world’s population – and many, if not most, are already suffering. Our world seems to be on fire.
At FaithInvest, the war in Ukraine and the looming climate crisis both point in the same direction: the need to re-double our efforts to encourage faiths to invest in the world God wants.
As people of faith, we may articulate this world in different ways, through different cultural lenses. However, we can all agree that the future we want is a world of peace, harmony, unity, respect, generosity and compassion. It is a world where people care for each other and for the beautiful, unique planet we have been entrusted with. This is the world we need to invest in! There is no time to lose in ensuring that our investments are consistent with that future.
Building the future we want
Never before have the choices of how and what to invest in been so stark than they are today – and faith communities are stepping up. Against the backdrop of destruction, the faith-inspired movement for a sustainable, safe future has been going from strength to strength.
Since the faith leaders' statement on 4 October 2021 and the UN COP26 climate conference in November last year, FaithInvest has continued to mobilise and organise faith groups to produce Faith Plans for People and Planet, with new groups joining every week. The Faith Plans are long-term commitments by faiths to use their assets, buildings, land, investments and influence to drive practical action on climate change, the environment and sustainable development.
We have started work with the Laudato Si' Movement to build a new Laudato Si' Investor Hub on FaithInvest, which will be launched in May and help to galvanise efforts to direct finances into positive investing for a sustainable future.
Moreover, we are already in early discussions with partners all over the world on planning towards the next UN climate conference, COP27 in Egypt. We are keen to use the run up to that event to mark all the work faiths have been doing since Zug in 2017 to invest for peace and sustainability.
These are grim times for many, if not all of us. It could seem in the midst of all this that there is nothing left to hope for. Yet the crises the world is now facing serve to highlight the opposite. Leonard Cohen, in his beautiful song, Anthem, has a line in it which has come to mind often lately:
Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering,
There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.
This line always helps me get through the toughest times and continue to believe that darkness and light are always in a divine dance.