Statement on “Earth: Our Common Home”
December 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of Earthrise, the view of Earth by the first humans to travel into deep space. This was their Christmas message then:
“From the crew of Apollo 8, we close with goodnight, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth”
As a coalition of believers from nine different faith traditions, we affirm that the Earth is sacred. We, believers of many faiths, are in solidarity with all people concerned for the Earth. Just as 40 years ago, the astronauts saw the Earth with eyes of faith so do we. It is our common home, the only known home of all peoples and all known life. The Earth is part of the faith story of all our religious traditions. During the FEN Series, Sheikh Naeem Wali said:
“The cosmos is a realm of signs. All of our faiths have signs and symbols that play a key role. However, we are ignoring many of those signs and symbols, and so we cut ourselves off from connecting to higher realities”
As well as words, Faith is about attitudes and actions. We recognise that we have failed to care for the Earth in words, attitudes or actions. Our attitudes must change and it is now time for action. We must create hope founded on guiding principles. To help bring us back to our senses, we need reinvigorated, focused and strong leadership from our all faith communities.
Aboriginal knowledge teaches that making connections to Country requires respect, maturity and responsibility. All Australians now have the opportunity learn about this Land so that we can eventually find a personal connection to Country. We must nurture a healthy relationship with the Earth. We must return to a sense of awe.
All life should survive. We must not be the cause of the extinction of any species. Our way of life from now on must be based on our knowledge and understanding of biodiversity and interdependence.
We recognise that we can make a difference through personal action. Our personal consumption contributes to the global impacts of destructive consumerism. We see selfishness, yet we believe in the capacity of people to live simply so that others may simply live. We urgently need to grow community and cooperation leading to a new global order to address greed and ensure all people, indeed all life, are cared for.
Due to injustices, not everyone has the same power to choose. We lament the boundaries that exist between people. The Earth suffers. The poor are the first who experience that pain.
As people of faith, we do not simply despair about the state of the Earth. We commit ourselves to work for justice, especially for those living in poverty. We commit ourselves as individuals and institutions to work towards a sustainable ecological footprint. We encourage others to do the same. We do this with hope and determination to make a positive impact on our common future.
Made in Sydney at the Faith Ecology Network Seminar Series, October 2008 by participants from Aboriginal, Anglican, Bahá’í, Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish and Uniting Church traditions.