Why am I attending the Earth – Faith – Peace Teach-in? To answer it in one sentence,
“I am attending the teach-in simply because it integrates two of my areas of interest—climate change and religion.”
Climate change is the single gravest problem that our generation is facing – indeed, it is a threat far greater than even terrorism. Science is doing all it can to convince the world that global warming is real and that we are heading towards its tipping point. Being part of the renewable energy industry, I witness countries striving to arrive at a common consensus to combat global warming at UN climate change conferences. Apart from nationalities, the world also comprises different religions. A religious leader who can understand sustainability can greatly influence the masses. After all when all else fails, we turn to God.
Religion has the ability to strike a chord with billions of people. As for me personally, I respect all religions and follow Zoroastrianism. By race I am a Parsi, which is considered a micro-minority community in India. As a Zoroastrian, I strongly believe in sustainable living. Zoroastrians are primarily considered as ‘fire worshippers’ because light is synonymous to positivity, order, honesty and justice. The religion in general promotes worshipping the seven creations of God—the Earth, water, vegetation, metal, animals, mankind, and the aforementioned fire.
Zoroastrianism believes in maintaining the sanctity of nature. For example, it is good practice to draw water from a river/lake rather than bathing directly in a naturally flowing water body and polluting it. Zoroastrians disposed the dead by leaving them on the mountain tops of ancient Iran for the vultures to feed on. If we refer to the holy books of all religions, we will see that they all promoted living in harmony with nature based on which the traditions originated. Religion and ecology are two sides of the same coin and they coexist in harmony. This forms the basis of why the Teach-in is vital and why it fascinates me.
Another reason why the Teach-in interests me is diversity. I personally love diversity and multi-cultural teams where each one leaves his or her unique impression of handling an issue. Similar to a United Nations conference or a typical B-school class, it is favorable to consider disparate viewpoints to arrive at an inclusive solution. I come from a diverse country like India where it is hard to describe Indian culture as each state has its own distinct tradition. India is known for its tolerance and unity in diversity; however, we may occasionally come across communal tension largely due to political motives, provocation or miscommunication. When religious leaders are united, a lot of negativity and bias can be eliminated. Therefore, let us use this platform to act as Dr Martin Luther King Jr. once said:
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”