The Islamic climate change declaration could be more effective than Pope Francis’s encyclical

The New Republic reports: Pope Francis may have soaked up headlines earlier this summer when he published a whopping 192-page encyclical on climate change, but this week Muslims issued a declaration that could influence an even larger population than the Catholic decree. The declaration, announced Tuesday as part of the two-day International Islamic Climate Change Symposium in Istanbul, further exemplifies the trend of faith-based climate activism ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in December.

Like the papal encyclical, the Islamic Climate Change Declaration calls for a rejection of human greed for natural resources, respect of nature’s “perfect equilibrium,” and recognition of the “moral obligation” to conserve. More concretely, it hopes to rally the world’s wealthiest and oil-producing countries — several of which are predominantly Muslim — to act as leaders in cutting emissions and helping less affluent governments make the same reductions. Corporations were asked to commit to waste-free business plans and divest from economies driven by traditional fuel sources.

The Muslim legacy of environmentalism has long been overshadowed by Christian-focused environmental stewardship, but the declaration could potentially have a larger reach than its Catholic counterpart. According to an April Pew study, Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, with around 1.6 billion followers. By 2050, there will be as many Muslims as there are Christians of all denominations. The global population of Catholics barely tops 1 billion. [Continue reading…]

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