Religious leaders: Rainforest protection a ‘moral imperative’

Religious leaders from around the world are meeting for the first time with conservationists and scientists in Norway this week to develop the ethical case for protecting tropical forests.

“There is a dimension to this fight that will require a global, tectonic shift in values,” said Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, in a statement. “It is not the realm of policy, commerce or science, but of spirit, faith and moral conviction.”

The event marks the launch of the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative. From June 19 through 21, heads of various religions, including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism, are sitting down with government officials, indigenous leaders, and NGO representatives to hammer out a roadmap for rainforest conservation at the Nobel Peace Center. The aim is to address the massive loss of forest happening every year, equivalent to an area the size of Austria according to the organizers of the conference, by leveraging the growing sentiment in many of the world’s spiritual and religious communities that we all have an obligation to protect these areas.

Phil Norton


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