The Green Bible is a 2008 edition of the Christian holy
book, published by HarperCollins. There are more than 1,000 references
to the Earth in the Bible, and this 2008 copy is printed on recycled
paper using soy-based ink.
Likewise, Islam’s Koran also contains
numerous surahs (chapters) that both enlighten and command Muslims to
use and not abuse the natural bounty the Earth provides. “Do not commit
abuse on the Earth, spreading corruption.” (Al-Ankabut 29:36) is just
Meanwhile in Bali, adherents to Hinduism, the
island’s majority faith, believe in the trihita karana. This is the
belief that happiness derives from the relationship between people and
God, the relationship between people and people, and the relationship
between people and nature.
Religious writer and scholar
Fachruddin M. Mangunjaya raised a profound question in a recent paper on
climate change and religion: Who were the first environmental
campaigners? Answer: Followers of the world’s religions.
a lecturer in biology at the National University in Jakarta, told a
September 2012 climate change writing clinic for youths in Jakarta that
religion had been a major mover, which had established numerous world
Now with environmental crises and the impact of
climate change casting threats on human civilization, people are
returning to religious teachings and reassessing their meaning of and
obligations in life.
Fachruddin, a member of the International
Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC), cited a
gathering of leaders of nine world religions at England’s Windsor Castle
on Nov. 2-4, 2009. The Windsor celebration constituted a long-term
faith commitment to protect the living planet.
Leaders came from
the Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Shinto, Sikh and
Tao faiths. They vowed to draft an action plan to address climate
change based on their individual religions.
participated in the Windsor meet, listed seven key elements with which
the world’s religions could meaningfully contribute toward tackling
First: religion as an institution owns useable
assets. These could be property, facilities such as hospitals and houses
of worship, and cash. Second: education. Children and the public at
large can learn about the environment through formal and informal
Third: wisdom. People can learn about the irrefutable, supreme value of nature from holy scripture.
Four: lifestyle. This entails adopting a simple lifestyle, holding green audits, and calculating one’s carbon footprint.
media and advocacy. Spread the word through all available media outlets
from print to Twitter. This includes printing holy books on certified
Six: partnerships. Stage activities using funds gathered from the faithful.
Seven: celebrations. Major celebrations like the annual Muslim pilgrimage can promote green action.
seventh point led to the November 2011 publication of the Green Guide
to the Hajj, to encourage Muslim pilgrims to reduce their impact on the
Earth. An online version can be downloaded from www.arcworld.org During the 2010 haj season, 2.5
million pilgrims discarded more than 100 million plastic bottles,
according to Husna Ahmad, author of the guide.
argues that unlike the protracted negotiations at climate change
conferences, religion is free from cumbersome talk that achieves
The faithful should follow the tenets of
their beliefs. The question now is how to get all the faithful and the
public at large to wholeheartedly accept the facts about climate change
and pursue lines of action.
friendly pilgrimages and eco-labeling of halal products that use low
carbon energy are but two ways to get people on a massive scale to
change their living behavior to reduce the impact of climate change.
Faith matters in climate change and changing behavior. The writer teaches journalism at the Dr. Soetomo Press Institute, Jakarta.