The purpose of the United Religions Initiative is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, end religiously motivated violence and create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.
For the past ten years, the nations of the world have had an opportunity to restore environmental health to our planet through the implementation of Agenda 21, adopted at the UNCED Conference in Rio de Janeiro in June of 1992.
Despite improved technologies, a better understanding of economic systems and conditions, scientific conferences, and new international treaties to protect the environment, conditions are arguably worse than they were in 1992.
The inability of cultures to change to the sustainable practices required to reach the goals of Agenda 21 is largely due to attitudes of apathy, greed, skepticism, assigning blame, and blind faith in technology alone to find solutions. The result is a sense of hopelessness, that we are doomed to disaster.
Thus, we are facing a crisis of ethical and spiritual dimensions that calls for the engagement of the entire human community, across all lines of religion, nationality or culture. What is needed is a shared vision for Global Healing to motivate citizens of all nations to implement fundamental changes toward sustainability for this generation and generations to come.
We call upon the members of faith communities and NGOs, business and industry, and governments to create a new Culture of Global Healing based on the intrinsic value of nature.
We understand that there can be no peace without justice and no justice without sustainability.
We therefore call upon nations of the world to faithfully implement the principle of Respect for Nature of the UN Millennium Declaration; the call for Sustainable Development found in the UNEP GEO 3 report; and the agreed upon program of the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development.
As people of faith, we support the agenda outlined by UNEP in the book Earth and Faith. As Klaus Topfer states in this publication, "We have entered a new age -- an age where all of us will have to sign a new compact with our environment and enter into the larger community of all living beings. A new sense of our communion with planet Earth must enter our minds." We now call upon world leaders to implement the Earth and Faith agenda and use these principles to guide that implementation in creating a Culture of Global Healing:
1. All life is sacred and has intrinsic value regardless of the value judged by humans
2. Conserving biodiversity is in the best interest of both humans and other species
3. The human population must be stabilized to assure quality of life and to protect the rights of future generations.
4. Economic focus on the quality of and appreciation of life as opposed to standard of living must become a new norm.
5. Each person and segment of a culture has the responsibility to contribute in their own way to building a culture of Global Healing.
To build this new Culture of Global Healing, we call upon a partnership between UNEP and faith communities to develop new leadership to guide this culture change initiative. We encourage partnerships between faith communities and other NGOs, business and industry and indigenous people, each bringing important dimensions to creating the culture of Global Healing.
In addition, we avow our support of documents drafted by international consensus among multi-stakeholder, non-governmental groups, including but not limited to the Charter of the United Religions Initiative and the Earth Charter and the Four Worlds Principles for Building a Harmonious World.
We conclude in re-dedication to the Preamble and Principle 10 of the Charter of the United Religions Initiative, and we urge other groups to join in our pledge:
We unite to heal and protect the Earth.
We unite in responsible cooperative action to bring the wisdom and values of our religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions to bear on the economic, environmental, political and social challenges facing our Earth community.
Principle 10: We act from sound ecological practices to protect and preserve the Earth for both present and future generations.
Endorsed by: URI Global Assembly in Rio de Janeiro - August 23, 2002
The Autism Epidemic and Disappearing Bees: A Common Denominator?Last Updated on 2012-04-21 00:00:00
On a recent front page of The Salt Lake Tribune, a frightening, oversized headline read, "Highest rate in the nation, 1 in 32 Utah boys has autism." Less well publicized, another national story ran the same day: "New pesticides linked to bee population collapse." If you eat food and hope to do so a few years from now, this should be equally frightening. A common denominator may underlie both stories.
A recent Stanford University study, examining 192 pairs of twins, where one twin was autistic and one was not, found that genetics account for 38 percent of the risk of autism and environmental factors account for 62 percent.(1)
Suggesting an environmental and genetic tag team are other studies showing mothers of autistic children and autistic children themselves have a high rate of a genetic deficiency in the production of glutathione, an antioxidant and the... More »
Should Methane Be Our First Line of Attack to Slow Global Heating?Last Updated on 2012-04-09 00:00:00
Scientist Peter Cox, speaking at the University of Exeter (United Kingdom), recently suggests that the way to win the battle with greenhouse gases is to lower methane emissions. In fact, curbing methane may be the best way to stem dangerous warming.
A map showing U.S. methane emissions by county from landfills. Reproduced from NREL.
Methane is released in many ways: landfills, livestock, rice paddies, coal mines, and gas pipeline leaks. Cox has studied how carbon dioxide and methane influence plant growth. He believes that feedback mechanisms of methane could have twice the expected punch on the earth’s climate. Increased carbon dioxide acts as a fertilizer, making forests and vegetation grow more; this would in turn allow the vegetation to absorb more CO2. Methane does not contribute this counter-effect. Also, curbing methane release would minimize the... More »
CALL FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC) FOR INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTE 20TH JULY KILLINGS.Last Updated on 2011-08-01 00:00:00HUMAN RIGHTS CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE (HRCC), MALAWI CONGRESS OF TRADE UNIONS (MCTU ) , PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE (PAC), CHURCH AND SOCIETY OF LIVINGSTONIA SYNOD, CHURCH AND SOCIETY NKHOMA OF SYNOD, CIVIC AND POLITICAL SPACE PLATFORM, THE CENTRE FOR DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLE (CEDEP) AND CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND REHABILITATION (CHRR)
CALL FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC) FOR INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTE 20TH JULY KILLINGS.
1st August, 2011/Lilongwe Malawi
The Civil Society Organizations in Malawi which organized the 20th July 2011 national demonstration would like to make a special call to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague to investigate and possibly prosecute His Excellency Professor Bingu wa Mutharika, Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Hon Aaron Sangala and Inspector... More »
Bolivia Set to Pass Historic 'Law of Mother Earth' Which Will Grant Nature Equal Rights to Humans Last Updated on 2011-05-26 00:00:00
With the cooperation of politicians and grassroots organizations, Bolivia is set to pass the Law of Mother Earth which will grant nature the same rights and protections as humans. The piece of legislation, called la Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra, is intended to encourage a radical shift in conservation attitudes and actions, to enforce new control measures on industry, and to reduce environmental destruction.
The law redefines natural resources as blessings and confers the same rights to nature as to human beings, including: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered. Perhaps the most controversial point is the right "to not be... More »
One Year After Haiti Earthquake, Corporations Profit While People SufferLast Updated on 2011-01-13 16:58:24Published on Thursday, January 13, 2011 by CommonDreams.org
One Year After Haiti Earthquake, Corporations Profit While People Suffer
by Jordan Flaherty
One year after an earthquake devastated Haiti, much of the promised relief and reconstruction aid has not reached those most in need. In fact, the nation's tragedy has served as an opportunity to further enrich corporate interests.
The details of a recent lawsuit, as reported by Business Week, highlights the ways in which contractors - including some of the same players who profited from Hurricane Katrina-related reconstruction - have continued to use their political connections to gain profits from others' suffering, receiving contacts worth tens of millions of dollars while the Haitian people receive pennies at best. It also demonstrates ways in which charity and development efforts have mirrored and contributed to corporate... More »
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