Rainforests play a critical role in regulating the Earth’s climate. They are the only safe, proven, natural solution that exists for carbon capture and storage and are key to addressing climate change. Unfortunately, tropical forests are highly undervalued assets even though they provide many ecosystem services, including removing carbon from the atmosphere; providing protection against floods, landslides, avalanches and ocean surges; providing clean water, fish, medicines and crops; space for recreation and exercise; and places sacred to the world’s various faiths
The Interfaith Rainforest Initiative is an international, multi-faith alliance that works to bring moral urgency and faith-based leadership to global efforts to end tropical deforestation. The initiative welcomes engagement by all organizations, institutions and individuals of good faith and conscience that are committed to the protection, restoration and sustainable management of rainforests.
Components of its mandate include:
Build consensus - Facilitate dialogue across religions about the shared moral, ethical and spiritual responsibility to protect rainforests.
Make the case - Create opportunities for religious leaders, scientists and indigenous peoples to speak in concert about the case for ending tropical deforestation.
Facilitate learning - Equip religious and spiritual leaders with the science, training and tools they need to become effective advocates for protecting rainforests.
Mobilize commitment - Mobilize religious and spiritual leaders to make ending tropical deforestation an ethical priority and create space for them to advocate for policies that protect rainforests and those that serve as their guardians.
Raise awareness - Increase the profile and visibility of the deforestation crisis, and the fundamental role that rainforests play in addressing climate change, achieving sustainable development and surviving as a planet.
Influence policy - Serve as a moral force for change to influence governments and companies to adopt, fulfill and expand upon commitments to protect rainforests.
Build coalitions - Facilitate new partnerships among religious and faith leaders, indigenous peoples, and other sectors – government, business, and civil society – to anchor global commitment to protecting rainforest in on-the-ground action in rainforest countries.
Inspire action - Create a worldwide movement for rainforest protection that is grounded in the values, ethics and moral guidance of faith communities.
The initiative was launched in June of 2017 at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway in a first-of-its-kind summit of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu and Taoist religious leaders, climate scientists, rainforest experts and indigenous peoples’ representatives from Brazil, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Meso-America and Peru.