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Faith, Finance and Climate Change

Faith and Finance have long been important strands of the work of TCT, supporting local communities and organisations to work together, better understand one another, and address issues such as money and finance

Jon Miles

Blog by Jon Miles

TCT Trustee and Covid Cash Recovery Development Worker

Faith Finance Climate Change 3

This week saw Transforming Communities Together host “Faith, Finance and Climate Change”, the latest in a series of online events looking at how faith and finance impact on some of the biggest issues facing our communities. Faith and Finance have long been important strands of the work of TCT, supporting local communities and organisations to work together, better understand one another, and address issues such as money and finance. So I was really interested to see what insights could come from linking these to climate change, one of those hugely pressing but often overwhelming issues facing us today.

As someone who’s been involved in a range of environmental issues over the years, I figured I had a fairly good sense of how my own faith motivated my concerns and involvement in these issues, but was really keen to learn more – and I have been very aware that I wasn’t very aware of the wide range of beliefs and principles that have informed some of my fellow campaigners and advocates.

What was really inspiring and helpful about this webinar was the presentation and discussion of a range of perspectives from across a number of faiths, each highlighting specific principles, scriptures or teaching about why we should care about climate change, and what might inform the action we take. Over the course of the session we heard from speakers from Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Christian faith perspectives, as well as those from organisations with a specific focus on issues around money and climate change.

Some of the most powerful discussion came from a reflection that there were some common threads and insights across the faith traditions. As Dr Zahid Parvez, Jasmine Khatri, Richard Clarkson and Kartar Singh presented reflections and some powerful scriptures from the Muslim, Hindu, Christian and Sikh faiths, there were some shared themes: our role as humans in caring for the natural world, a recognition of our place within (and interconnectedness with) the wider world, an accountability for the way we treat nature and each other, and the need for justice in our actions.

As someone who has worked particularly with churches on environmental issues, I found it helpful to have an overview of Biblical teaching from Rev. Richard Clarkson on our relationship as humanity with God’s wider creation, which was then complemented by some practical reflections and resources from Rosie Venner for how faith groups can make specific changes to their activities in a way that can help bring about change – whether that’s looking at heating and insulation, or thinking carefully about how we use and invest our money. It was great to have reflections from other participants who brought their own experiences, challenges and expertise to bear. Simon Ross from Marches Energy Agency also shared some really valuable new sources of support for people who need help with home energy – the Warm Homes scheme that has recently been launched looks like a brilliant source of help and advice for many in our communities.

We also had the chance to share reflections ourselves, ask questions of the speakers, and prompt discussion about how we might all take small (or not so small) steps in our own organisations and communities. The discussion and chat was particularly helpful for a couple of reasons: it reminded us that these issues are big and complex and our decisions and actions have consequences, and so should be well-informed; and it reminded me that in thinking about such big issues, there is a wealth of wisdom, tradition and insight that we can be sharing and drawing on together.

I was also struck by the emphasis that came out of the discussions about how we particularly need to engage our young people more in these issues – partly in terms of education and reflecting on why these issues are important (including in our faith education), but also because they have real insights and energy to impart. One of the most striking reflections came from a question about what the speakers would like to communicate to global politicians ahead of COP2026: listen to our young people and think long-term were two of the key messages from the panel. I came away from the session reflecting how I can also take those messages on board, and how we can embed both these key approaches in our communities locally. I also reflected that the energy and inspiration voiced across the faith traditions perhaps presents us with a slightly different perspective that enables us, as Dr Parvez suggested, to think a bit more long-term about these issues and our responses.

This wasn’t an event seeking to provide simple solutions, but rather to help us reflect and share together, and learn from one another. I could see from the discussion and chat that it certainly prompted some immediate action, but just as importantly I came away with a better understanding, some useful resources, and a sense that however big the issues, there is hope in working together.

Thank you to the organisers, the speakers and all the attendees for a really inspiring session.

Published 30th April 2021

Image credit: Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash