Skeptics of course have long argued that the cause of climate change looked more like a religion than science, quoting some pretty wild statements from people ranging from Rajendra Pachauri (“For me the protection of planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than my mission, it is my religion.“) to Former Senator Tim Wirth (“We’ve got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”)
They may have more ammunition to work with. As The Jakarta Post writes, “The People’s Pilgrimage — by individuals around the world to urge for a strong climate change treaty to emerge from the UN climate change negotiations in Paris this November — initiated its India tour on Friday. ” More about the People’s Pilgrimage is on their website, found here. It is organized by OurVoices, (‘Bringing faith to climate talks’), a non profit organized by The Conservation Foundation in the UK (‘Supporting Positive Environmental Action Since 1982’) and GreenFaith in the U.S. (‘Interfaith Partners for the Environment’)
The People’s Pilgrimage is strongly supported by Operation Noah (‘Let’s show global leaders how small and precious our planet is!’) .
This is in addition to the Islamic call for action on climate change (“Muslims have a religious duty to take action against climate change”), which of course follows on from Pope Francis’ recent encyclical called ‘Laudato Si’ urging more care be given to all things environmental, including the climate.
The Buddhists actually beat Pope Francis to the punch, releasing their own declaration on climate change, ‘The Time to Act is Now.’ The Hindus presented a declaration in 2009, but I can’t find out if it was adopted or not. Judaism has presented a number of statements and made some commitments as well–The Jewish Environmental and Energy Imperative, signed by 50 Jewish leaders “across the political and religious spectrum,” also establishes a goal of reducing Jewish community greenhouse gases by 83 percent of 2005 levels by 2050.
Back in the day, environmentalism as a cause was alternately praised and cursed as the new religion. Well, that has actually continued in recent times. It looks like the religions of the world have found a successful counter-strategy. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
Just as Flood Myths resemble each other no matter where you pray, it looks as though the religious response to climate change will be pretty uniform as well.
As I am not a respecter of religion I can only say that the much-needed movement to prepare for and adapt to climate change is not appreciably helped by this band-wagon effect. Perhaps the churches are helped more.