FAITHS FOR FORESTS DECLARATION
We begin from a place of profound concern for the state of the world’s rainforests, which are a sacred trust, an irreplaceable gift and essential to life on Earth.
From the Amazon to the Congo Basin to the rainforests of Southeast Asia, deforestation is rampant and it is accelerating. This destruction is an affront to all faiths and spiritual traditions. It is driving species loss, deepening poverty, undermining sustainable development, creating conflict and insecurity, and robbing humanity of the best solution we have to climate change.
We recognize that outdated and unsustainable patterns of development, production and consumption are driving deforestation and that a major, fundamental shift in values, lifestyles and public policies is needed to protect rainforests. Agriculture is now the primary driver of deforestation – an unnecessary trade-off, as we can feed a growing population with the land we already have.
We recognize tropical deforestation as an existential threat that demands urgent and decisive action. We share a profound moral obligation to make care for tropical forests a top spiritual priority. From all regions of the planet, and from all of the world’s religions and spiritual traditions, we commit to respond, together.
We pledge to mobilize our religious communities, from the grassroots to the most senior leadership, to join up with the coalition of indigenous, government, civil society, business and United Nations partners already working to protect forests. We will bring our spiritual resources to bear on this issue.
We commit to raise awareness about the deforestation crisis within our communities, places of worship and congregations as an expression of our care for the Earth and to advance religious teaching and education that reflects a moral commitment to protect rainforests. We will make ending deforestation a high spiritual calling.
We commit to advocating for governments to adopt, fulfill and expand upon commitments to protect forests and the rights of indigenous peoples. We will cast our ballots for those that stand for rainforests and environmental defenders.
We pledge to exert influence on the private sector and extractive industries that are converting tropical forests for agricultural land, commodities like beef, soy, palm oil and pulp and paper, and for mining, logging and oil and gas. We will change our consumption patterns and divest from businesses that profit from the destruction of tropical forests.
We commit to standing in solidarity with indigenous peoples and forest communities, to offer sanctuary and protection from threats of intimidation, violence, and incursion into their lands. We see that protecting rainforests is part of a larger moral fabric that includes social and economic justice, respect for human rights and human dignity, and achieving peace and equality.
Where we began with concern, we conclude with hope. We acknowledge that tropical deforestation can be stopped. We are guided by a shared reverence for nature and a resolve that, together as people of faith and part of one human family, we can end tropical deforestation.