Faith in Climate: religious communities and climate change

Faith in Climate: religious communities and climate change

Through dialogue among science, religion and indigenous traditions, the Faith in Climate initiative seeks to expand mobilization and enhance the engagement of faith communities in the challenges of the climate crisis and the urgency of action

Brazil | 24 August 2015 – ongoing

Religion has always played a central role in Brazilian society and, therefore, in its politics. The Catholic Church’s historical influence and, more recently, the evangelical groups, mainly due to the numerical growth in the past years, are the two prominent examples. Nevertheless, our religious diversity includes many other faith groups (Judaism, Buddhism, Afro-Brazilian Candomblé, Umbanda, Indigenous Knowledge Systems and others). According to recent research, only ten percent of the Brazilian population doesn’t have a religion. In brief, Brazil is essentially a Nation of several faiths. Considering that religious leaders are great communicators and important mediators, actions against climate change must, strategically, involve them in reaching society more and better.

Within this background, the project Fé no Clima (Faith in Climate) was founded in Brazil by a group of leaders from different religions in August 2015, the same year as two major events: Pope Francis’ Laudato Sí and the CoP 21 Paris Agreement on climate change.

Fé no Clima is a collective and continuous initiative coordinated by the Institute of Studies on Religion (ISER) that aims to gather, inform and engage diverse religious communities about the impacts of climate change and the urgency of taking action. Our main goal is to mobilize spiritual leaders capable of communicating within their faith communities, and influence climate change policy in Brazil.

Recent setbacks in the Brazilian environmental policy, intensified by the pandemic, shed light on the connections among ecological, social, climate, and health crises. On the other hand, the pandemic brought new meaning to religion and science as the primary sources of shelter, cure, and hope. In a country where 90% of the population follows some faith, but there is still a low involvement of spiritual leaders in environmental issues, we believe that Brazilian religious groups have a strong potential for impact and transformation.

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Editor’s Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.