This book was first published at the beginning of the twenty-first century. A joint project of the United Nations Environment Programme and the Interfaith Partnership for the Environment, it was titled Earth and Faith: A Book of Reflection for Action. The partners printed tens of thousands of copies and gave them to schools, congregations, and communities throughout the world. The book described the growing threats to our planet’s life support systems, the reverence all faiths share for life on Earth, and the responsibility that people have to future generations.
Teachers, students, leaders of religious congregations, and community organizers used the book to introduce and talk about critical environmental issues and how faith communities were addressing these issues. Intended primarily as an educational resource, it has also been used as a reference and inspiration for practice.
During the twenty years that have passed since the book’s publication, the planet has undergone profound and rapid changes. The impact of our actions and choices continues to escalate, causing the ever-worsening global climate emergency, altering natural global processes and major ecosystems, accelerating extinctions of countless forms of life, and deepening human suffering on an unprecedented scale.
Scientific evidence documenting the crisis is undeniable and grows with every passing day. At the same time, there has been a surge of faith-based action and advocacy on behalf of the environment from religious groups everywhere. The response is coming from every corner of the world, reflecting both the diversity of the ways we define our relationship with nature and the essential unity of values at the core of all our hope.
As we begin this century’s third decade, the new edition — produced through a partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme and the Parliament of the World’s Religions Climate Action — offers an introduction to the magnitude of the task we now face and to the faith communities that are becoming a force for the global environmental future. Also, in keeping with the urgency of the work that must be done to heal our planet, we have changed the book’s title. It is time, as never before, to call on our faith, our values, our religious teachings and traditions – on Faith for Earth. And it is time for action.