Anything religious leaders have to say?

Anything religious leaders have to say?

While the human being is looting, the planet is fast driving toward a disaster. Civilian, political and religious authorities in the world have made a joint call against climate change. What about us?

Religious leaders gathering in the Swedish city of Uppsala in 2008 declared a manifesto against climate change. Five years ago, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Sikh and leaders of Indian people got together in Sweden and signed the climate change manifesto. The call, especially for the developed countries to take urgent measures against climate change by decreasing their greenhouse gas emissions, started like this: “We all share the responsibility of being conscious caretakers of our home, planet Earth. We have reflected on the concerns of scientists and political leaders regarding the alarming climate crisis. We share their concerns. The situation is critical. Glaciers and the permafrost are melting. Devastating droughts and flooding strike people and ecosystems, especially in the south. Can planet Earth be healed? We are convinced that the answer is yes.”

It is meaningful, isn’t it, that representatives of different religions who can address wide masses make a joint call based on science as reference?

Istanbul manifesto

Here, in our country, religious leaders generally preach about people and social life. Somehow, the situation of the planet we live on and the disasters experienced by nature that we have mistreated fall into the last ranks on their list of priorities.

Whatever happens is regarded as an “act of God,” and there are only a few who call for us to take responsibility. Our religious officers, who are granted the floor and take the floor at every opportunity to shape women, men, families and our behavior, do not show a similar sensitivity for nature.

However, human beings cannot exist without rivers, mountains, lakes, seas, forests, and all the living creatures on earth.

While I was reading the Istanbul Manifesto to Fight Climate Change, these were the thoughts that crossed my mind. This manifesto was read in a meeting led by Ömer Madra and organized collectively by Açık Radyo, the Istanbul Policy Center of Sabancı University’s Stiftung Mercator Initiative. First signatories are civilian and political figures and institutions well-known to the public. I looked into it and, except for the Federation of Alevi Associations, there is nobody representing a religious group or community…

God did not create this disaster

I wonder if this death agony of the planet does not interest religious leaders at all. Do they also refer this human made disaster to God? Or is it difficult for them to support what science says?

Here is what was said in the manifesto: “We, as ordinary people, think it is time for us to change our point of view toward nature and our unstoppable selfishness.”

I am calling on those who comment on what a person should and should not do within the framework of religious beliefs, as well as our religious institutions that expressed an opinion even while the abortion law was being debated: “Don’t you have anything to say while nature is being looted?”

For the full text of the manifesto, please click on


Mehveş Evin is a columnist for daily Milliyet in which this piece appeared on March 26. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.