Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Climate worriers appear to be increasingly looking for ways to exploit people’s religious faith, to coerce ordinary people into accepting green destitution; into abandoning mechanised transport, into letting farmland return to wilderness.
Can imams drive action on climate change in Pakistan?
Imams and other religious leaders are an under-used means of pushing action to combat climate change, experts and religious scholars say.
Religious leaders have the moral standing to call on people and businesses to consider the environmental impact of their activities and take a bigger role in reducing their own carbon footprints and finding ways to cope with the growing impacts of climate change, experts said at a multi-faith meeting in Islamabad.
Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, central chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Council – the country’s council of religious scholars – told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that imams in Pakistan could have “unprecedented influence” in bringing action on climate change.
But first, he said, they need training to both understand and communicate the issues accurately in a country hard-hit by climate-related drought, flooding, crop losses and other problems.
“We religious leaders in Pakistan can talk about climate change with people as long as we become knowledgeable about climate change and its other facets,” he said.
At the recent gathering, which drew scientists, religious scholars and academics, Charles Amjad, an American professor emeritus at the Luther Seminary in Minnesota, said relying only on political and non-governmental organisation leaders to drive climate action was a mistaken approach.
“We must realise that people do listen to religious scholars in mosques, priests in churches, rabbis in synagogues and pundits in Hindu temples in most developing countries, far more than they do to politicians, bureaucrats, media and mayors,” he said.
“This power of faith activists must be tapped for addressing climate change,” he urged.
For much of the history of civilisation, during the Dark Age, ordinary people were prey to the unscrupulous – to tyrants who exploited the honest faith of ordinary people, to coerce acceptance of inequity and injustice. Then along came the Age of Reason, and the Age of Enlightenment. Instead of simply accepting whatever they were told, ordinary people started to question, to demand answers, to know the evidence. People started to demand rational government, justice, liberty and fair treatment.
The Climate activist appeal to reason has failed – their evidence sucks, their models don’t work, public interest is plummeting, and their habit of calling people names, when their shoddy science is questioned, is starting to wear thin.
The obvious, if audacious solution – roll back the clock, and restore the Dark Age of unquestioning obedience to arbitrary authority.