To the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru
30 November 2014
To those assembled for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru
Valued collaborators in the building of a sustainable future,
The human family today shares one global destiny in one global homeland. This is a truth the implications of which can no longer be ignored. We therefore welcome this occasion for representatives of government, religion, and civil society to discuss how duties toward the collective trust that is our shared planet can be most effectively discharged.
Historically, humanity’s growing impact on the climate was closely tied to remarkable advances in industry and production. Placing our ongoing advancement on more ecologically sustainable foundations will require a similarly robust spirit of ingenuity and intellectual inquiry. The scale of innovation needed will require a vast expansion in scientific and technological endeavour, not merely on the part of select populations, but across all segments of the global community. The challenges ahead will demand the generation, application, and diffusion of knowledge by all the earth’s inhabitants and in light of our shared planetary future.
But science, information, and knowledge alone – however vital – will be insufficient to address the concerns of global climate change. Religion, and the values and morals it inculcates, will also be necessary. The capacity to build a shared sense of vision and pursue it through acts of collective volition, to sacrifice for the well-being of the whole, to trust, and to give freely and generously to others will be critical to the work ahead. These will not arise through political expediency or mere environmental pragmatism. Rather, they will need to draw on the deepest sources of human inspiration and motivation. Religious communities and their leaders therefore have an indispensable role to play in the realm of climate change.
Religion and science provide complementary insights into the shaping of individual and collective life. Both impact choices and priorities, and both will be required in the just and sustainable ordering of the affairs of humankind.
The work of addressing global climate change ultimately revolves around the aim of human lives well lived. This is a goal cherished by people, cultures and religions the world over. In it can therefore be found a powerful point of unity to support the work ahead. Our ardent prayer is that the achievements won at this conference will provide firm foundations on which the well-being and prosperity of humanity can be ever more effectively pursued for both this and future generations.
We wish you all success in your deliberations,
The Bahá'í International Community
Last updated 29 August 2015