…and so, We Reached the 100 Mark!!

 By Jo Doumbia

After the taste of what is to come, 100+ degrees temperatures, I was forced to rethink my column!!

Scientific evidence documenting the crisis is undeniable and grows with every passing day. However, there is a surge of faith-based action and advocacy on behalf of the environment, reflecting both the diversity of the ways we define our relationship with nature and the essential unity of values at the core of all our hope. The essential, unshakeable reverence that all religions have for creation and nature is undeniable.

The private sector is also taking actions to ensure environmental soundness through sustainable investing and innovations. Many in the financial sector know that investing in a clean energy future and nature-based solutions pays dividends.

Nevertheless, we are in a race against time that will require political will, innovation, inclusion, tolerance, values and ethics, financing, and partnerships. Thus, this calls on everyone—countries, cities, counties, private sector, individuals, and faith-based organizations—to strengthen their actions to mitigate climate change, restore ecosystems, and protect the health of the planet without delay. The world has the scientific understanding, the technological capacity, and the financial means to do this. We need to trust our abilities and act accordingly. But it will also require progress on myriad smaller and manageable scales.

We need to think about how we commute and about the sustainability of our houses and buildings and nature’s wellbeing. Are we encouraging means of mass transportation? Are we reducing the need to commute by encouraging working from home? Do our houses/buildings produce their own energy? Do we rationalize the use of water? Are we treating and recycling our waste and moving to adopt a circular economy with zero waste? Are we caring for our biodiversity?

Furthermore, are we eating healthy food? Are we buying locally grown vegetables? Or are we importing off-season produce from countries that are thousands of miles away?

Technology is on our side. Our challenge is not that we do not know what to do—it is how quickly we can do it. The problem is massive, and such large and complex challenges will require transformational thinking and big movements. Faith-based organizations are in a great place to be part of the global accountability and monitoring system to achieve our climate solutions goals. We also need to rely on a common ethical system of values no matter what religion we believe.

If businesses alone were capable of solving these issues, we would not have the poverty, the unequal distribution of wealth, the increased conflict and use of violence for political purposes, the environmental destruction, and the unsustainable patterns of production and consumption that surround us today.

We have the knowledge, the technology, and the wealth to succeed. Moreover, for more than half a century, we have known that the choices we make will have serious consequences for the world of the future and for our children. It is clear that most often we have lacked the courage and the will to make the morally right choices, to do what we know is necessary.

Each and every one of us is responsible for the consequences of our choices. Each day that passes without us finding the courage to make the decisions we know are necessary adds to the unconscionable burden we bequeath to our children and grandchildren. The difficulty of the decisions we leave to them will far exceed the difficulty of the decisions we face today.

Without our renewed action, we can leave them a world that our parents would not recognize, bereft of much of the beauty, complexity, and richness we have squandered. Our actions are poised to break the bond between grandparents and grandchildren; we will not recognize the world in which we condemn them to live, and they will be strangers to the beauty and bounty of the world our parents let to us.

Thus, the context in which we will make our choices must include the full panoply of faith, science, and societal institutions. If these institutions are to become agents of the needed change, they will need to be enabled by knowledge and inspired by faith.