Religious leaders cooperate with Indigenous against climate change


European Union


Faith groups are calling for cooperation with Indigenous people about nature preservation. Photo AFP, Daniel Leal-Olivas

According to religious leaders, recognition of the rights and spiritualities of Indigenous peoples is essential for finding a solution for climate change.

The religious leaders were gathered for the official COP26 side event 'Making Peace with Nature: Heeding the Call of Indigenous Peoples', Religion News Service reported recently. The Episcopal Church organised the event, the Anglican Communion, the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative, Religions for Peace, and the World Council of Churches.

Religious leaders are increasingly looking to Indigenous peoples for guidance in taking care of nature, says Rev. Marc Andrus, head of the Episcopal Church's delegation to COP26. "They have been guardians from time immemorial."

According to Andrus, efforts to improve the environment and Indigenous rights must be made together with Indigenous peoples.

Rev. Mari Valjakka, pastor of Sámi at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and moderator of the Indigenous Peoples Reference Group of the World Council of Churches, explains that the Arctic, where the Indigenous group lives, is sacred to the Sámi. She argues that the transitioning to cleaner energy should not result in "green colonialism", where indigenous people force wind parks.

The partnership between religious leaders and Indigenous peoples is vital to people of faith, Rev. Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada, states. "It's in Indigenous ways of life and philosophies that people of all faiths will find the wisdom they need to sustain a liveable planet." In his opinion, Indigenous life and philosophy unite solidarity and communion with all of creation with humanity and the spirit.



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