On moral ground
How morality can win the war on climate change
DR. MANZOOR AHMAD YETOO
The climate movement must go beyond preaching economics and science. We must create a moral imperative that inspires us to act. To get people involved in the war on climate change we must weave environmental awareness into our codes of conduct.
The reasons why more people are not demanding action on the environment is a moral undoing. If we are to see a critical mass of support for efforts to combat climate change, we must understand that in addition to an economic and ecological crisis, we are also facing a moral crisis. To bridge the gulf between morality and climate change we need to go to the places where morality still has value.
Religions are a primary source of ethical conduct, and as such they are an ideal platform for communicating a moral argument. Although governments and businesses have a central role, churches, temples, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship may be the best venues for disseminating the moral dimension of the climate change issue. We need to tap into the deeply embedded preexisting morality of the vast majority of people who consider themselves followers of religion. (Even those who do not subscribe to religion also respond to moral arguments about the need for action on climate change).
Religious leaders from all the major traditions see action on climate change as a moral imperative. As reviewed in an extensive list of climate change initiative, all the world’s major religious traditions espouse a harmonious relationship between people and the planet.
One group called Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, is a collaborative initiative of religious leaders and groups that are promoting a moral call to action on climate change. This group feels compelled by their “traditions and collective conscience to take action on this deeply moral challenge. [They] believe that a moral voice is essential in inspiring action on climate change, since scientific and economic arguments alone have not moved the United States to adequately address this deepening crisis.”
Interfaith is calling for policies that dramatically reduce wasted energy, support renewable energy and phase-out all fossil fuel subsidies. Despite the radical change they advocate, their message is positive. They seek a “brighter vision” to unite the world around “a set of clear widely held moral principles.”
Their third guiding moral principle is to protect the Earth, they reiterate the aboriginal beliefs that we have a moral obligation to be good stewards of the Earth and all of its creatures and processes. Interfaith vision advocates a moral response to climate change while acknowledging scientific research.
They have circulated their Interfaith Declaration on Climate Change, and an Interfaith Statement on Climate Change was submitted by representatives of the world’s religions at the COP17 in Durban, South Africa.
“We recognize that climate change is not merely an economic or technical problem, but rather at its core is a moral, spiritual and cultural one. We therefore pledge to join together to teach and guide the people who follow the call of our faiths.”
In an article titled “Rekindling the Moral call to Action”climate change is construed as a “fundamental moral and humanitarian issue.” The article urges action from leaders and works towards a unified effort to combat climate change.
We need be creative and develop evidence-based approaches that help people understand climate change as a moral imperative. Despite the subtle psychological nuances needed to effectively communicate the point, the moral argument is capable of unleashing unprecedented activity.
(The author is an expert in occupational safety, environment and carbon trading & climate change certified from USA and UK. He is empanelled with Indo European Chamber of Commerce and industry. Feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Sun, 4 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 4 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 5 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST
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