[Interfaith Rainforest Initiative] Religious and indigenous leaders in Oslo pledge to put their full force behind protection of the Earth’s rainforests.
The Earth’s rainforests are an irreplaceable gift.
They support boundless biodiversity, a balanced climate, and the cultures and communities of Indigenous Peoples who live in them. They generate cooling air and rains that water the Earth. They are spectacular, and vital to all life.
And they are at grave risk.
We, people of many faiths and spiritualities, gathered in Oslo to hear the cry of Earth’s rainforests, their flora and fauna, and the people who live in them. We are Indigenous, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Daoist, joined by scientists who share with us, and open for us, a deeper appreciation of the miracle of the forests. We are from 21 countries—from Amazonia, the forests of Indonesia, the Congo Basin, Meso-America and South and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, and from the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, and China. While from many places, we recognize that we are one human family, that we share one Earth.
These glorious forests make our lives possible. They provide clean air and abundant water. They store carbon and stabilize the climate, literally around the globe. They provide homes, food, medicines, and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people. They are dependent on the health and well-being of their indigenous and forest-dwelling peoples, just as these peoples, and all the rest of us, depend on the forests. We are in this together—humanity and forests, people and planet. If forests thrive, we will thrive. Without forests, we all perish.
During our time together, we spoke frankly. We recognized that unrestrained consumption, lifestyles of the Global North, and irresponsible financial systems, devastate the rainforests’ biosphere and ethno-sphere. We listened to accounts of the persecution and murder of Indigenous Peoples and others who protect the forests. We learned about governments unwilling to pass or enforce laws needed to ensure rainforests’ future and the rights and traditions of those who continue to be their guardians.
These realities are haunting. This destruction is wrong. As we formed a community, becoming one out of many, a resolve emerged among us.
We will not allow this to happen.
Together, we affirm the gift of life, our reverence for our common home and for the miraculous manifestation that rainforests embody. We affirm that we are all caretakers of Earth’s rainforests, just as the forests care for us. We embrace the responsibility for ongoing action which that entails.
We commit to form an international, multi-faith rainforest alliance, devoted to the care of these forests and the people who protect and live in them.
We pledge to rally our spiritual and religious communities to act.
We will train our leaders and educate our followers about the urgent need to protect rainforests, sharing the insights of traditional knowledge and science in the service of truth, knowing that without protecting, restoring, and sustainably managing forests, we cannot save Earth from the ravages of climate change.
We will advocate for the restoration of rainforests and the rights of Indigenous Peoples, sharing with leaders in government and business that protecting forests is a moral duty and that failing to do so is an offense against life itself. We will support indigenous and forest peoples to assert and secure their rights, including their free, prior, and informed consent to development on their territories. We will advocate for increased access to finance for the ongoing protection of rainforests. We will work for an end to the criminalization of forest protectors and for their safety.
We will change our own lifestyles, including our diets and consumption patterns, learning to live in harmony with the rainforests.
Finally, we pledge to continue to work together, to strengthen our resolve, and to act boldly in the months and years to come. We invite other people of faith and of diverse spiritualties to join us.
A spirit of compassion and truth has been with us as we have met. This spirit awakens hope. It calls to us.
We have listened together and learned together. In this statement we are speaking together. Now, we will act together. For the sake of the rainforests and the peoples who live in them, and for the future of the planet, we commit to respond.
Signed by individuals who participated in the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative
|Brazil||Mr. Antonio Donato Nobre|
|Brazil||Mr. Biraci Brasil Junior|
|Brazil||Mr. Marivelton Rodrigues Barroso Baré|
|Brazil||Fernando Dua Bussẽ|
|Brazil||Ms. Sônia Guajajara|
|Brazil||Pastor Ariovaldo Ramos dos Santos|
|China||Ms. Yun He|
|Colombia||Deacon Alirio Cáceres Aguirre|
|Colombia||Mr. Harol Jhonny Rincon Ipuchima|
|Colombia||Mr. Martín von Hildebrand|
|DRC||Mr. Henri Muhiya|
|DRC||Mr. Joseph Itongwa|
|DRC||Mr. Rigobert Minani S.J.|
|DRC||Pasteur Léon Lepamabila|
|Ecuador||Mr. Mauricio Lopez Oropeza|
|France||H.E. Metropolitan Emmanuel|
|France||Archimandrite Maximos Pafilis|
|France||The Right Reverend Bishop Pierre W. Whalon|
|India||Dr. Nanditha Krishna|
|Indonesia||Dr. Din Syamsuddin|
|Indonesia||Dr. Zainal Abidin Bagir|
|Indonesia||Mr. Abdon Nababan|
|Indonesia||Mr. Azis Asman|
|Israel||Sir Rabbi David Rosen, CBE|
|Myanmar||Mr. Bo Bo Lwin|
|Netherlands||Mr. Johannes Van de Ven|
|Nicaragua||Mr. Marvin Gustavo Sotelo Reyes|
|Norway||Bishop Emeritus Gunnar Stalsett|
|Norway||Mr. Håkon Grindheim|
|Norway||Ms. Risten Turi Aleksandersen|
|Norway||Reverend Einar Tjelle|
|Peru||Monseñor Alfredo Vizcarra|
|Peru||Mr. Jorge Perez|
|Philippines||Ms. Vicky Tauli-Corpuz|
|South Africa||Dr. Nigel Crawhall|
|Sweden||Rev. Henrik Grape|
|Thailand||Phra Paisal Vongvoravisit|
|UK||Mr. Fazlun Khalid|
|USA||Mr. Kevin Currey|
|USA||Dr. Kusumita Pedersen|
|USA||Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker|
|USA||Dr. William F. Vendley|
|USA||Mr. Alexander von Bismarck|
|USA||Mr. Dan Kammen|
|USA||Mr. Peter C. Goldmark, Jr.|
|USA||Ms. Frances Seymour|
|USA||Ms. Leslie Parker|
|USA||Rev. Douglas Satre|
|USA||Reverend Fletcher Harper|
|USA||Eileen de Ravin|
|USA (from Indonesia)||Ms. Nana Firman|
|Vatican City||Ms. Gabriella Marino|
|Vatican City||S.E. Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo|
###Partners: The meeting was convened by Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in cooperation with the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University, GreenFaith, Parliament of the World’s Religions, Religions for Peace, REIL Network, and the World Council of Churches.
About Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI)
Since its launch in 2007, the Government of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) has cooperated with international partners, governments in forest and donor countries and a broad range of non-governmental organizations to reduce tropical deforestation and forest degradation.