By Rula Samain – Jan 30,2016 – JORDAN TIMES
AMMAN — Religious leaders and environmentalists on Saturday stressed the importance of safeguarding nature and protecting the environment.
At a one day event organised by the Catholic Centre for Studies and Media in cooperation with Konard Adenauer Stiftung, Christian and Muslim scholars stressed the universality of environmental issues and highlighted Pope Francis’ calls to protect “our common home”.
The centre’s director, Father Rifat Bader, said in an opening speech that in addition to safeguarding the natural environment, it is also important to protect Jordan’s social environment against pollution by spreading love, encouraging hard work, and fighting extremism and hate speech.
Bader told The Jordan Times that it is the duty of every Jordanian — Muslim and Christian — to work together to counter climate change and fight mental pollution.
Also speaking at the meeting, attended by Royal Institute for Inter-faith Studies Director Majeda Omar, who was deputising for HRH Princess Rahma, Hassan Karirah, director of preaching and guidance at the Awqaf Ministry, said all religious scripts discuss the harmony between humans and the environment.
Local communities, he argued, are not fully aware of the need to protect the environment, calling for linking the issue to religious teachings.
Krikor Augustine Kusa, bishop of Jordan, Alexandria, and Jerusalem for Catholic Armenians, said God created Earth for humans to benefit from and preserve, and created humans to take care of each other as one big family.
Pope Francis brought this campaign for action on climate change to the United Nations in 2015, proclaiming the existence of a right of the environment and urging countries to stop abusing it.
Father Imad Alamat, a Catholic priest, highlighted the Pope’s encyclical letter on the environment, noting that it is not directed to Catholics or Christians alone, but meant to reach all humans, since Earth is for all.
Alamat said the pontiff blamed environmental degradation on human selfishness and thirst for power.