“If you want to build for a sustainable future, we are the building blocks” – Martin Palmer, CEO, FaithInvest
On 19 October, Religions for Peace, FaithInvest and the International Network for Conservation and Religion came together, along with other faith leaders, to discuss initiatives, achievements and challenges faced in implementing environmental programmes and highlight the new partnership between FaithInvest and Religions for Peace in a comprehensive webinar.
With the impact of climate change already threatening the lives and livelihoods of people around the globe, time is of the essence when it comes to protecting the planet we live on. Faith-based organisations are in a uniquely powerful position to invest in initiatives that benefit the natural world and the people who share it.
It has been argued that the Covid-19 pandemic is a result of the disregard with which humans have treated the natural environment, particularly but not limited to our rainforests. Dr. Azza Karam, Secretary General for Religions for Peace, describes the rainforests as the “critical lungs of planet earth”.
The webinar heard how the growing divide between rich and poor in many countries has been exacerbated by coronavirus and that poverty will only be worsened as climate change progresses.
However, responses to this pandemic have outlined the important role that faith-based organisations have to play in meeting challenges related to health, wealth and wellbeing, as first responders and builders of personal and community resilience. We must work together to protect people and planet, and prevent further developmental and humanitarian crises from unfolding.
FaithInvest Chief Executive Martin Palmer says: “The pandemic has highlighted the fact that the faiths are suddenly centre stage. People are wanting something with values, something with substance. We need to step up to being stakeholders on the planet. We have in our hands the tools to change the framework of the planet and we’re increasingly being looked to, to do that.”
The speakers at this webinar included:
• Prof. Dr. Azza Karam, Secretary General, Religions for Peace
• Martin Palmer, Chief Executive, FaithInvest
• Alison Prout, Director, International Network for Conservation and Religion
• Dr. Francis Kuria, Secretary General, African Council of Religious Leaders - Religions for Peace
• Laura Vargas, Secretary General, Inter-Religious Council of Peru - Religions for Peace
• Renz Argao, Co-Moderator, Religions for Peace Asia-Pacific Interfaith Youth Network; Coordinator, International Youth Committee, Religions for Peace
• Ravneet Pal Singh, Senior Project Manager, EcoSikh
With an undisputed commitment to nurturing the natural world, the exciting new partnership between Religion for Peace and FaithInvest will involve sharing ways of developing environmental initiatives. The webinar heard that FaithInvest’s Long-Term Plans could support the achievement of RfP’s strategic priorities 2020-2025. The collaboration will drive multi-faith efforts on the environment, and grow the scale and impact of faith-consistent investment.
The Faith Long-term Plans (FLP) are commitments by the major faiths of the world to develop a set of measurable, real world initiatives that drive action on key issues such as climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development. More than 200 religious groups covering all faith traditions are being invited to take part in the programme, which mobilises the vast potential of religious organisations to contribute to alleviating suffering caused by the climate crisis and regeneration in a world after Covid-19.
As well as providing moral leadership through example, the Plans focus attention on
the importance of urgent action to address the climate and ecological crisis ahead of the UN’s COP26 climate negotiations, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The Plans will be launched in 2021 ahead of COP26.
You can watch the full webinar here or read a report on the webinar by Religions for Peace (download below).