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Hindu declaration on climate change

HONG KONG (SE): Over 60 leaders and organisations from the Hindu faith signed the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change, which was released on November 23.

The declaration is an initiative of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies—Bhumi Project, the Hindu American Foundation and an interfaith organisation, GreenFaith, together with an interfaith campaign for climate action, OurVoices.

The director of the Bhumi Project, Gopal Patel, said, “We are at an historic moment in time, as Hindus worldwide experience firsthand the effects of climate change. Through their religious beliefs, they are recognising their individual and collective responsibilities to address it.”

The declaration asks the world’s 900 million Hindus to transition to the use of clean energy, adopt a plant-based diet and lead lives in harmony with the natural world.

The declaration says that any action for climate change must be scientifically credible and historically fair, as well as being based on deep reductions in greenhouse gas emission through a rapid transition away from polluting technologies, especially toxic fossil fuels.

It also calls for a concentration on producing renewable energy to provide the millions living without electricity to live better lives and reduce poverty.

It quotes Mahatma Gandhi as positing, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do.”

It quotes the Mahābhārata (109.10) which states, “Dharma exists for the welfare of all beings. Hence, that by which the welfare of all living beings is sustained, that for sure is dharma.”

It also calls on all Hindus to expand their conception of dharma so as to consider the impact of personal actions on all other beings.

The declaration stresses that all national and international responses to climate change must be based on central Hindu principle that the divine is all and all life is to be treated with reverence and respect.


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