Jerusalem conference promotes interfaith environmental activism

A panel discussion at the Faith and Ecology Conference in Jerusalem, which drew Jewish, Christian, and Muslim participants on Wednesday. Credit: The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development.

( More than 100 clergy members, seminary students, and others brainstormed how to use religion for environmental education and action at Wednesday's Faith and Ecology Conference in Jerusalem. The event drew Jewish, Christian, and Muslim participants. 

The conference was part of the United Planet Faith & Science Initiative, which is committed to bringing religious and scientific leaders together to address environmental issues such as climate change. In addition to the Jerusalem conference, the initiative is hosting events this year in New York and Lima (Peru's capital).

Wednesday's speakers included religious leaders from all three Abrahamic faiths, such as Bishop William Shomali from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Member of Knesset Rabbi Dov Lipman. Additionally, the conference hosted workshops as well as video sessions with pre-recorded addresses from the Dalai Lama and former U.K. Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

“We need to collaborate together—Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus. Ecology unites the religions. If we speak together as religious leaders, our impact is really stronger,” Shomali said.

“The holy city of Jerusalem sometimes goes astray to points of violence, but really we can make it a gate to Heaven. The world really belongs to God, and all of us are temporary residents in this world, which we have been given to take care of,” said former Knesset member Rabbi Michael Melchior, co-founder of the Knesset environmental caucus.

Posted on October 23, 2014 .