Faith Ecology Network – Stars of Religious Enlightenment
In another contribution to EdenKeeper’s series on “What is Religious Enlightenment?” we want to introduce the Faith Ecology Network, based in Australia. An exciting example of enlightened members of diverse faiths joining together in common purpose, the FEN offers interfaith environmental enthusiasm and inspiration that is widely appreciated by all of us.
Encouraging people of all faiths “to wonder” at the marvelous complexities of Earth, the Columban Centre for Peace, Ecology, and Justice initiated a meeting in 2003. People from various faith traditions planned a seminar promoting faith member’s “will to care” about the Earth, and at this event the Faith Ecology Network (FEN) was born.
Introducing the Faith Ecology Network
In 2004 the website for FEN was established. FEN is administered by the Centre for Peace Ecology and Justice, part of the Columban Mission Institute. The network continues to grow, operating mostly with the generous in-kind support of members, and donations raised from their many popular events, forums, and publications.
Today, Faith Ecology Network members represent the Aboriginal, Anglican, Bahá’í, Buddhist, Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Hindu, Islamic, Quaker, Sikh, and Uniting Church faith traditions. Fostering religious reasons for environmental advocacy, the organization encourages action at local faith community levels, and attending rallies and public events.
As stated on their website, the word ‘ecology’ is significant to FEN, because members respect and want to learn from the world of science and environmental movements. They “affirm that ‘interconnection’ is fundamental to ecological thinking,” and state, “As people of faith we equally wanted to affirm the presence of a higher power or deity hidden-revealing within the earth itself.”
Sharing Appreciation for Faith and Ecology
Sharing mutual appreciation for Creator and creation, the Faith Ecology Network offers many resources and activities on topics regarding faith and ecology, including:
• Publications about faith and ecology, resources and news.
• Public forums based on common faith and ecology themes.
• Dialogue with environmental professionals.
• Development of common statements on issues.
• FEN members passing on information and resources to their faith communities.
• Support of members with an annual enrichment day.
Contributing to broader public awareness, FEN participates in environmental education seminars, radio interviews and contributes to a wide variety of publications. Inviting ecological scientists to speak at their public forums introduces professionalism, while different faith responses offer additional insights, increasing opportunities for further sharing, learning, and discussion.
FEN Statement on Climate Change
Faith Ecology Network members believe that “climate change is a challenge to the moral integrity of our nation, a challenge not just to politicians but to Australian society and its faith communities.” The following is a FEN sponsored Statement on Climate Change by a Coalition of Religions:
In a spirit of cooperation, drawing from our faiths we offer motivation and ethical principles to help peoples of Earth change their ways. We regard Earth as a gift from a power beyond us, called God by many, and acknowledge that we have responsibilities towards Earth. We are called to respect Earth’s gifts and relate in due humility to Earth’s living cycles.
We believe that there is sufficient scientific evidence to warrant grave concern about the rapidly growing effects of accelerated Climate Change on Earth’s oceans, land and atmosphere. It is calculated that negative effects will be most severe in Australia and Africa, and they will be disastrous for ocean island and river delta populations.
We support policies at all levels of government, business and non-government groups that show leadership in addressing accelerated Climate Change for present and future generations. We support policies that create ecologically sustainable economies and green jobs. We look for policies that help Australian society to systematically reduce the use of energy derived from fossils fuels and to promote alternative sources of clean energy. The more efficient use of energy in buildings and transport is an immediately achievable goal.
We support policies that show solidarity with the poorer nations of this planet. They will bear most of the negative effects of Climate Change even though long industrialised richer countries have contributed the most to greenhouse gas emissions. All countries need to work together when local and global measures of adaptation to Climate Change are being negotiated, but, newly industrialising countries should receive special consideration.
We commit ourselves to spread the truth about the causes and effects of accelerated Climate Change.
We commit ourselves to change our personal and institutional lifestyles to reduce our carbon and ecological footprint.
[2007 Faith Ecology Network, Australia]
A treasure trove of religious enlightenment, the Faith Ecology Network offers an exciting website for interfaith environmental activists and enthusiasts. Watch for more articles to follow here on EdenKeeper spotlighting the thought-provoking and enriching materials being shared by this excellent organization.
(Image note and source: Multifaith Prayer Vigil, FEN)