BIC Addis Ababa: Climate action requires scientific and religious knowledge, says BIC
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – The Addis Ababa office of the BahÃ¡’Ã International Community (BIC) recently brought together scientists, representatives of religious communities and civil society organizations to explore how scientific and religious knowledge can inform discussions about climate change.
â€œUltimately, at the heart of the environmental crisis is a spiritual crisis,â€ says Solomon Belay of the Addis Ababa office.
Dr Belay continues to explain that despite the growing attention to discourse on the environment, particularly in the run-up to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference – also known as COP 26 – in November , there are few forums for discussion that specifically examine how science and religion can guide an effective response to the environmental crisis.
He adds: â€œWe are all stewards of the environment, every person, institution and nation. The magnitude of the problem requires united action that is informed by the best available scientific evidence and grounded in spiritual principles, such as justice and the unity of humanity.
The rally is part of the Addis Ababa office’s efforts to contribute to environmental discourse and was co-hosted with the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACCP) and the United Religions Initiative (URI) .
Panelists discussed how solutions to the environmental crisis cannot be found in just one system of society. “Science alone is not enough, and economic solutions alone are not enough,” said Francesca de Gasparis, member of the Institute for the Environment of Religious Communities in Southern Africa (SAFCEI), during the meeting.
“Faith has a very important role to play,” she continued, “because it is the link with hearts and minds and has the power to inspire constructive action.”
Atieno Mboya, a representative from the Addis Ababa office, described how religion can be a force in creating new patterns of individual and collective life, saying: â€œOne of the challenges of extremes of wealth and poverty is that those who suffer most from the impact of climate change are also those who suffer from the inequitable distribution of resources.
She continued, “Our economic models must be revisited in light of the spiritual principles offered by religion, such as the unity of humanity, to ensure the well-being of the planet and of all peoples.”
Arthur Dahl, environmental scholar and chair of the International Environment Forum, stressed that the Baha’i principle of the harmony of science and religion is central to discussions on climate justice and social progress. â€œThe worsening environmental crisis is driven by a growing consumer culture and a narrow view of short-term material gain. “
â€œPreserving the environment requires not only new technologies,â€ he continued, â€œbut also a new awareness of ourselves and our place in the world. This is what we are up against, a complete reconceptualization of our relationship to nature and the relationships that support society.
As a result of this meeting, titled â€œThe Link Between Climate Change, Faith and Scienceâ€, the Addis Ababa office plans to continue exploring related themes with various social actors, scientists and religious communities, in particular with regard to issues such as agriculture, sustainability and migration, in the social reality of African countries.