Can anti-capitalist religious groups help the climate fight – Does it work?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to the University of Cambridge Professor Tobias Muller and Esra zyürekReligious groups can help fight climate change, but they need to give up our “profit-driven economy”.

Religious communities can make the difference in winning the fight against climate change

December 2, 2021 3.59 am AEDT

Tobias MullerLecturer in Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge

Esra zyürekAbrahamic Professor of Equity and Shared Values, University of Cambridge

The threat of climate change signals a “Red code for humanity, and we are running out of time to transition away from carbon and prevent catastrophic warming of the planet. Our best chance is to convince existing organizations with financial, political and social power to pioneer dramatic change. Faith communities – to which 4 billion people worldwide belong, with more economic value 900 billion pounds (£676bn) in the US alone – could be the force we need.

When US President John Biden meets Pope Francis on October 29, climate change is a focus in their discussion. Later that day, the pope spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Thoughts of the day Join the Today program to claim “radical decision“From world leaders on climate. He warned that the intertwined crises of pandemic and climate change have created “a perfect storm” that is about to wreak havoc on human civilization.

Prior to COP26 At the UN climate conference in Glasgow, 40 religious leaders also gathered in the Vatican to make an unprecedented call to tackle the climate crisis.

If one country sinks, we all sink“, said Rajwant Singh, a Sikh leader from Washington D.C. and Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb of Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, Egypt, an organization not usually known for its political background. progressive politics, has called on young Muslims to “be ready to fight against any action that harms the environment”.

But these steps alone are not enough. As the pope suggested to BBC listeners, religious groups must acknowledge that profit-driven economy are making our planet uninhabitable.

Together, faith communities around the world make up an industry larger than most national economies. By telling the truth about the state of the planet and exercising uncompromising financial, social and political pressure on governments and corporations, they can shift the balance in a way that prevents the destruction of all that we hold sacred on Earth. These communities have the resources and resilience, but above all the moral responsibility, to do so.

In the light of many times they failed In fighting for justice and human dignity, religions can regain their place at the forefront of the struggle to define the future of humanity. To rephrase a famous slogan, there is no religion on a dead planet.

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As Venezuela has discovered, the problem with giving up our profit-driven economy, with giving up redundancy, it’s way too easy to distrust and make a large number of people plunge into lust and hunger.

Capitalism works because it is very responsive. Profit seekers try to anticipate demand, which often leads to at least a slight excess of necessities – no one has to go hungry.

Other systems not so much.

There’s nothing wrong with allowing people to make a profit, thereby ensuring everyone has enough to eat, even if this means food going to waste.

Religious leaders should be ashamed of themselves for suggesting the opposite, for advocating failed ideas that invariably lead to a guaranteed state of hunger and hunger on a large scale.

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