SparkDialog

Climate Change, Religion, and Ethics – A Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspective

Posted on Posted in podcasts

Climate change is often viewed as a political problem. But in reality, it is a scientific issue, and perhaps equally as important, it is a moral and spiritual issue.

How are religious communities responding?  Today we are talking to three people involved in various religious environmental organizations, each representing a different faith community – Soltan Bryce from the Green Muslims, Cassandra Carmichael from the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, and Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb from the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.

In responding to the climate crisis, the commonalities between these three religious traditions are clear. Each mandates care for the Earth and care for the poor, who will be affected first and hardest. The Earth is not a merely a gift to be used as we will – rather, it comes with great responsibility. We are stewards of this Earth.

In the Qur’an it’s clear the dictate that we have as Muslims to care for our environment and the word that is used is Khalifa – that literally translates into Steward. So we feel that in the heart of Islam there’s a dictate for us to care for the earth.
– Soltan Bryce

Each part of our world, of our ecosystem, from the smallest mosquito to the largest elephant, are interconnected. In the end, the entire globe is affected.  Changes to one of them will affect everything.

It hits you – as we say in the Yiddish – in the kishkas. In the guts. It’s much more personal when you can begin to realize that we are part of an interdependent web of creation and not simply in the environment or part of an ecosystem.
– Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb

The members of these religious environmental organizations are encouraging us not to delay in our response to climate change. Our actions have a direct effect on the environment.

But beyond this, these religious traditions offer something else – hope. Dealing with climate change may seem unsurmountable. It is a problem that no one person can solve, that no one treaty can cure. Instead, we have to come together, nation standing with nation, people joining forces regardless of creed, background, or economic standing. Working together, we begin to see past the differences that divide us. Oddly, perhaps it is overcoming the issue of climate change that will, in the end, bring us together.

In some ways climate change is asking us, calling on us to be in community in a way that we haven’t been before because only at that point will we really be able to “solve the issue of climate change”.
– Casandra Carmichael

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