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Jakarta Post

Religious communities to tackle climate change

  • Hans Nicholas Jong

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, September 5, 2015   /  04:12 pm

Leaders from six major religions in Indonesia have decided to band together to address climate change by pledging to involve their religious communities in combating one of the most pressing issues facing mankind today.

Muhammadiyah, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI), the Indonesian Buddhist Community (Walubi) and the Indonesian Parisadha Hindu Council (PHDI), will start a movement called Indonesia Bergerak untuk Menyelamatkan Bumi, or Indonesia'€™s Move to Save the Earth (IBMB).

'€œWe have agreed to establish a movement that will mobilize the faithful in Indonesia to deal with climate change and global warming, which have affected us greatly. We have agreed to collectively campaign, advocate, educate and raise people'€™s awareness to save the earth,'€ MUI chairman Din Syamsuddin told reporters after a meeting with representatives from religious communities in Jakarta on Friday.

He said that the movement would mobilize supporters to influence the country'€™s direction on climate change, including giving advice on Indonesia'€™s Intended National Determined Contribution (INDC), which was recently submitted to President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo.

The INDC is due to be submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Sept. 20. The government is offering the public the opportunity to offer suggestions for the latest draft of the INDC.

'€œThe working team will soon hold meetings to draft a plan of action, including things related to the global agenda like the 21st Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris,'€ Din said.

In order to boost the participation of religious communities in sustainable development, Din would represent Indonesia at the UN Meeting on Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in Bristol, UK, from Sept. 8-9.

The meeting was initiated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a key part of the UN'€™s post 2015 process to create a follow up to the Millennium Development Goals of 2000.

Fachruddin Mangunjaya, deputy chairman of Center for Islamic Studies at the National University (UNAS), said that the movement had the potential to bring about change given the important role that religion played in the country.

'€œImagine this, we have 800,000 mosques that use water everyday. Water comes from the ground and it is pumped using fuel. If we can save water, we can reduce emissions and reduce infaq [donations],'€ he said on Friday.

Fachruddin, who is also an environmentalist, said that the money saved from water conservation in mosques could be used to fund environmental programs that had been sanctioned by the MUI through an edict (fatwa).

Fachruddin added that another example of how the movement could contribute to climate action was through educating haj pilgrims.

'€œWe have this green haj movement, where people going on pilgrimage are asked to be more friendly to the environment by doing things such as using water tumblers. We are developing a smartphone app for that. So when people read the haj rehearsal script, they no longer use books. The apps will be in Bahasa Indonesia and English,'€ Fachruddin said.

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