The Vatican conference on religions & climate change

Satish Kumar speaking at the #Vatican on the 4th of October representing the JAIN Community, part of the 'Faith and Science: Towards COP26' event - #Faiths4COP26. Faith leaders and scientists come together to call on a global commitment to #ClimateAction ahead of COP26 - #TogetherForOurPlanet


Watch the conference in full courtesy of Vatican News >

Article written by Satish Kumar. 

The climate crisis is forcing the world to examine the human-nature relationship in a profound manner. The COP26 meeting in Glasgow will bring the political leaders of the world together to address the crisis caused by the industrial activities of human kind. 

The real cause of climate change is unlimited human greed for endless economic growth and material prosperity which leads to huge amount of waste, pollution and carbon emissions in the atmosphere. Therefore the climate crisis is also a moral and spiritual crisis. 

In order to address this problematic predicament of humanity Pope Francis invited the religious leaders and leading scientists of the world to come to the Vatican and speak with a united voice and urge the political leaders of the world, gathering in Glasgow, to take the climate catastrophe seriously and rise above their narrow national interests and work together to protect our precious planet Earth, our common home. 

Representatives of Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish and Jain communities, together with a number of leading scientists, all together 65 of us, were invited to Rome on the 4th of October. I was privileged to be invited to this esteemed gathering. 

It was a privilege to be in such an intimate company of Pope Francis and other religious leaders, in two of the most beautiful rooms in the Vatican. We were able to exchange our views.  I gave my talk about the importance of Ahimsa, or non-violence in the context of climate crisis. It was an honour to have Pope Francis in the audience. 

The conference was co-sponsored by the Vatican and the British Embassy as well as the Italian Embassy to the Holy Sea. We had all vegetarian dinner at the residence of the British Ambassador. I don’t think a few years ago it would have been possible to have all vegetarian dinner at a British Embassy! Times are changing and people are responding to the crisis of climate change. I also had the pleasure of meeting Alok Sharma, the president of COP 26 in Glasgow and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Web before dinner in the garden of the British Embassy. Both of them attended the Vatican conference.

It was wonderful to see so many religious leaders and scientists speaking with united voice to address the climate crisis.

The fundamental message of this conference was that all of us, faith leaders, political leaders and scientists need to rise above our petty differences, be they political or theological, and work together in the common interest of caring for our common home, the Earth home. Our house is on fire! Let us do everything to put this fire out before it is too late. 

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