Use religious leaders for climate change awareness: Nobel laureate

February 7, 2010
Indo-Asian News Service

New Delhi - Countries should take help from religious leaders to create mass understanding about global warming and thus help curb it, according to Wangari Maathai, Nobel laureate from Kenya.

“We should solicit the support of religious groups,” Maathai, a 2004 Nobel peace prize winner said late Saturday at the Delhi Sustainable and Development Summit here.

“The religious groups and leaders can play a major role (in persuading people). The approach should be bottom up to tackle the climate threat,” she said.

She said the involvement of religious groups will inculcate a sense of faith among people that “environment is the creation of god and it should be protected”. If people become aware and concerned then the threat can be curbed, she explained.

Maathai said that environment protection is just not an issue of “politics, business and money”, there is “much more than money”. We need to have “value and love for environment”.

Maathai and her grassroots organisation, which became known as the Green Belt movement, have assisted women in planting more than 40 million trees on community lands including farms, schools and church compounds.

The afforestation activist, who considers Mahatma Gandhi as a source of inspiration, said religious leaders “can motivate people for good”.

Delegates from across the world, including ministers from various countries, are currently in New Delhi to deliberate on the issue of climate change after a not-so-successful Copenhagen summit last year.