Expert calls for exploring the linkage between climate crisis and faith

ISLAMABAD: Dr Adil Najam, President of World Wildlife Fund, has said the global community needs large-scale behavioural change to resolve the current climate challenges and explore the potential role of faith and values in this connection, irrespective of the fact if someone is religious or not.  
He was speaking at a special conversation on ‘Climate Change and Faith’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute here with its Executive Director as the host.  
Dr Najam said Behaviour change remains the focal point of the answer to climate crisis and irrespective of religious background, behaving responsibly is the solution moving forward. In times of crisis, he added, humans tend to gravitate towards their beliefs and values for comfort.
He further said after many decades, faith and its linkages with climate and environmental crisis have become a central discussion as humanity seeks answers to the contemporary challenges.  
Highlighting the surging interest in religions and faith, and their potential linkages with solutions to environmental challenges, Dr Najam said religion urges people to protect nature and biodiversity, therefore there is a need to adopting holistic approaches to protect the earth. For the sake of economic growth and development, modern society views religion as a barrier in realizing human potential and liberties, he said, adding that when population growth became a major point of discussion in the 1960s and 1970s, religion and faith were pushed back.
“As climate crisis has challenged survival of the planet, the emphasis on circular economy, responsible consumption and production, efficiency of work, and the intricate relationship between individual behaviours and nature have taken centre stage.”  At the same time, Dr Najam said, all religions underscore the role of individuals and their free will and its impact on the environment, so not every stimulus we face can be attributed to God’s will.
He said that people may argue that any unprecedented climate disaster may be God’s will, but it cannot be denied that human actions like deforestation contributed to it, despite religion urging us to protect nature and biodiversity.

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