Beijing, China. Religious leaders have the moral responsibility to respond and combat the environmental crisis. This was the commitment Asian Conference of Religions for Peace (ACRP)/Religions for Peace Asia made at the multi-religious leaders Beijing Conference with the theme “Search for Moral and Religious Imperatives in Responding to Environmental Crisis: From Words to Actions” on May 19, 2017.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Yu Hai, director of the Environmental Strategy Division of Policy Research Center for Environment and Economy affiliated with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, presented the Green is Gold program of China and emphasized that “each religion has their own wisdom and best practices in safeguarding the environment.”
Following the call of Ecological civilization by Dr. Yu Hai, Dr. William Vendley, the Secretary General of Religions for Peace International, enjoins ACRP/RfP Asia and the global religious communities to take the environmental turn. The framework of our response is “based on the need of the earth, and not simply the need of China, or any corner of the world in promoting a sustainable earth,” he said.
The ecological crisis calls for a profound personal transformation. “Man is an integral part of the universe. And to achieve harmony between man and nature,” it is ethically imperative that man “live a simpler life,” according to Mr. Zhang Gaocheng, the Vice President of China Taoist Association and Abbot of the Tongbai Temple in Tiantai Mount in Zhejiang Province.
“The youth should enjoy and continue to care the environment,” said Mr. Takashi Hashimoto, vice moderator of the Religions for Peace Asia and Pacific Interfaith Youth Network (APIYN). Through the “clean, pray, and love” and tree planting programs, APIYN continues to engage Asian youth leaders respond to the climate change crisis.
In all these efforts to the environmental crisis, Dr. Lilia Sison, ACRP/RfP Asia Women Coordinator, reminded the “religious communities that their engagement should highlight the spiritual dimension of the environmental protection.” By calling the environmental crisis a moral crisis too, Dr. Din Syamsuddin, ACRP/RfP Asia Moderator, calls on ACRP/RfP Asia to start with the common principle that “nature is sacred,” and together in dialogue and in mutual understanding, developed a shared-theology of establishing an ecological civilization.