2 Dec : The grandiose "Interfaith Climate Manifesto" signed at Uppsala (Sweden) during November 28-29 "Interfaith Climate Summit" was a wonderful document but it lacked the anticipated moral strength because of absence of various faiths, Hindus assert.
Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that an interfaith document to be effective needed to be all-inclusive. But this "interfaith" Manifesto was missing Hindu signatories who represented about 14 percent of the world population. Hinduism was the oldest and the third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly.
Some other world religions, like Bahaism, Jainism, Shintoism, Confucianism, and Zoroastrianism, also went unrepresented.
Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was commendable to see diverse religious leaders, religions and denominations coming together to bless the environmental causes in Uppsala, but the organizers should have given adequate and fair representation to major world religions.
Zed argued that because of the absence of various faith groups, this "interfaith" Manifesto would not carry the expected moral solidarity and force when presented to United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN Commission on Sustainable Development next year in New York, various world governments, and religious networks.
Purposes of the Summit listed included "to communicate an urgent, hopeful, ethical-religious message to the global community about the need…to slow down global warming". How the Summit message would be effective globally when many communities went unrepresented or underrepresented, Zed asked.
The Summit brochure said: "It will draw attention to our shared responsibility to give hope to the world, and also to eliminate the adverse effects of global warming." How the responsibility could be shared when many major faith groups representing large chunks of population were simply ignored, Zed pointed out.
Here is the breakdown of the 26 faith leaders signing the Manifesto, as provided by the Church of Sweden website: Christian 12, Muslim four, Buddhist three, Jew three, Dao two, Sikh one, Native American one.
But Zed otherwise admired Church of Sweden and its Archbishop Anders Wejryd for taking the world leadership role in organizing this much-needed Summit and thus making religions climate friendly. Faiths coming out in support of the environment was a remarkable signal, he added.
Humanity was facing a threatening ecological crisis and religions should not stay out as silent spectators. We may believe in different religions, yet we share the same home—our Earth. We must learn to happily progress or miserably perish together. For man can live individually but can only survive collectively, Rajan Zed says quoting scriptures.