Interfaith Rainforest Initiative
Interfaith Rainforest Initiative
Uniting people of all faiths to end tropical deforestation
The Interfaith Rainforest Initiative brings the commitment, influence and moral authority of religions to efforts to protect the world’s rainforests and the indigenous peoples that serve as their guardians.
“(rainforests) are our life support system”, Jane Goodall speaks on the film that launches the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative website. You might remember Jane Goodall’s work with the chimpanzees of Gombe, challenging preconceptions about primate intelligence and social structure, and also challenging conventions about women in science. Jane Goodall is powerful, a respected voice in the environmental world and it is good to hear her recognising the role of faiths in environmental action.
“…wiping out countless species from existence, marginalising the poor, and deepening inequality, threatening the survival of indigenous communities and destroying the best solution that we have for climate change…” Jane Goodall
She offers hope: “faiths unite us, rainforests are a sacred trust”
IRI’s work is rooted in local communities, local action and linked through the wider network of faith institutions. It is another of those quiet, powerful projects, working without drama and the glamour of media attention but working hard, working against a tide of tree felling and forest clearance.
“Rainforests sustain all life on the planet
They are irreplaceable. Not only do they exhibit creation in its most exquisite beauty, they provide millions of people with food, shelter, livelihoods, medicine and clean water. They are also the best climate solution we have. If protected and restored, rainforests can provide an indispensable contribution to sustainable development. Instead, they are at grave risk.”
A battle worth fighting?
CelebrationEarth! has (up to now) been rooted itself in the UK, working with groups active on a local scale here but this is one of those projects that draws us into a wider view. There are resources on their website that might inspire, news to challenge you, opportunities to be involved. Explore the site, think for yourself, talk to friends. In this month of CreationTide maybe look at what you could do on your doorstep and further afield. There are rewarding links you might make between an initiative like this and initiatives like the Loving Earth Project (using creativity to anchor your feelings and share your thoughts). For CelebrationEarth! if you plan a Rainforest event you might contact us about that being one of our 100Celebrations, if you create your own Rainforest meditation, prayer or liturgy, we might be able to share that as one of our 1000Prayers
Next time you stand in the supermarket and pick up some tasty exotic fruit maybe follow its journey back to a starting point, read the ingredients on the jar you’ve just bought for palm oil. We are connected. The rainforests are not that far away. What we do here can help them there: what we buy, how we direct our efforts, what we talk about, who we talk to and what we encourage other people to do.
Thanks to our friends at The Faith for Earth Initiative for introducing us to the work of IRI
Both photos c. G MacLellan
Chimps textile c/o Loving Earth Project