Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ethics and Sustainability: The Religions of the World Are United

The UNEP Interfaith Partnership on the Environment’s 2000 publication Earth and Faith: A Book of
Reflection for Action states, “The spiritual challenge of the ecological crisis draws us back to our religious
traditions to reflect on and celebrate the natural world in its most profound sense of mystery
as a manifestation and experience of the sacred.” The publication presents a summary of points of
agreement among the world religions on environmental ethics:
• The natural world has value in itself and does not exist solely to serve human needs.
• There is a significant continuity of being between human and nonhuman living beings, even
though humans have a distinctive role. This continuity can be felt and experienced.
• Nonhuman living beings are morally significant, in the eyes of God and/or in the cosmic order.
• The dependence of human life on the natural world should be acknowledged in ritual and
other expressions of appreciation and gratitude.
• Moral norms such as justice, compassion, and reciprocity apply (in appropriate ways) both to
human beings and nonhuman beings. The well-being of humans and the well-being of nonhuman
beings are inseparably connected.
• There are legitimate and illegitimate uses of nature.
• Greed and destructiveness are condemned. Restraint and protection are commended.
• Human beings are obliged to be aware and responsible in living in harmony with the natural
world, and should follow the specific practices for this prescribed by their traditions.
Source: UNEP Interfaith Partnership on the Environment 2000

A Child-Friendly City guarantees the right of young citizens to:

• Influence decisions about their city
• Express their opinion on the city
• Participate in family, community, and social life
• Receive basic services such as health care, education, and shelter
• Drink safe water and have access to proper sanitation
• Be protected from exploitation, violence, and abuse
• Walk safely in the streets on their own
• Meet friends and play
• Have green spaces for plants and animals
• Live in an unpolluted environment
• Participate in cultural and social events
• Be an equal citizen of their city with access to every service, regardless of ethnic
origin, religion, income, gender, or disability