On 5 June 2019, World Environment Day will be on the theme of air pollution— a call to action to combat one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time. Hosted by China, World Environment Day invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our daily lives to reduce air pollution, which in turn can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefit people’s health. China has demonstrated tremendous leadership in tackling air pollution domestically and its commitment to improving air quality can serve as an inspiration to countries around the world.
Together we can #BeatAirPollution and governments around the world are invited to take part. Explore this site to learn about the different types of air pollution and why they matter to you using infographics, quizzes, and stories from around the world.
World Environment Day can be a platform for faith-based organizations to lead the fight for cleaner air and a better environment in ways that tie back to their belief systems.
Discover how your faith-based organization can celebrate:
Here are some examples of actions faith-based organizations and faith leaders and followers can take:
- Houses of worship such as Mosques, Churches, Synagogues and Temples can use solar energy for electricity and to supply local communities with the surplus energy produced.
- Faith Leaders can use Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and other holy days to pray and preach on the individual actions worshippers can take to beat air pollution. Leaders can extract appropriate faith messages from sacred scripts connecting actions to pollution.
- Around 50 percent of schools are owned by faith-based organizations. Therefore, schools’ administrations could include air pollution and environmental literature within their curriculum, adopt renewable energy on campuses, install energy saving devices and motion-detected lights. Schools could also shift to using electric buses.
- Faith-based organizations own 5 percent of commercial forests on earth, which contribute to clean air for our planet. Faith leaders can encourage followers to plant more trees for every religious celebration they participate in or organize.
- Faith-based organizations can consider working with food suppliers with an ecological supply chain or who could distribute food to those in need that would otherwise be wasted.
- Faith practices such as the Lent, Ramadan and others, could be a time for faith-organizations to promote all yearlong sustainable practices and consumption.
In 2019, the end of the holy month of Ramadan is expected to fall on 5 June, coinciding with World Environment Day. The Quran tells us not only that we are the stewards of this Earth, but that we should not waste. This World Environment Day, let us all be faithful to the teachings of the Quran and do what we can to fight air pollution. Click here for suggestions on what you can do for Ramadan and Eid-Al-Fitr this World Environment Day.
Pope Francis introduces the issue of air pollution, and pollution by waste generation in his Encyclical letter Laudato Si “Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths”. Pope Francis said: “It is irresponsible to pollute water and air, governments must act.“ We can not stand with our arms crossed, when we notice a serious environmental degeneration”.
The Jewish festival of Shavuot (Pentecost) falls this year on 9-10 June, within a week of World Environment Day. Shavuot is a harvest festival that celebrates the closeness to nature and appreciation of the centrality of plants for our sustenance. Click here for easy to implement suggestions on what you can do for Shauvout and World Environment Day.
Click here for a detailed compilation of Faith-Based Activities for World Environment Day.