Islamic aid organizations have recognized the connection between social justice and climate change, and that the changing climate is already having a devastating impact on the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Over the coming decades, climate change is an issue that will adversely affect the Muslims world, especially those who are displaced by floods, drought, desertification and extreme heat.
“We are in danger of ending life as we know it on our planet”
– Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, 2015
Islamic Relief works with communities to strengthen their resilience to disasters, and provide vital emergency aid when disasters occur. They are known to tackle the root causes of poverty and are a policy leader on Islamic humanitarianism. In 2017, they released ‘Climate Champions - Islamic Relief’s Global Climate Action’, which captures why Islamic Relief is vocal on climate change and climate justice issues, and how they are campaigning to reduce emissions, promote sustainable living and protect the most vulnerable.
Islamic Relief recognised climate change as one of the greatest moral, social and environmental issues facing humanity. Inspired by Islamic teachings on justice and stewardship, they help communities become more resilient to climate change, improve learning on environmental issues among staff and supporters, aim to reduce our carbon footprint, and undertake advocacy to promote substantial and equitable reductions in greenhouse gases.
Global Climate Change Policy
Launching its updated Climate Change Policy this week, Islamic Relief Worldwide has reiterated its stark warning that bold and urgent action is needed to limit global warming and respond to the consequences of climate breakdown.
The Islamic Relief Climate Change policy recognises climate change as one of the greatest issues humanity faces, and sets out the far-reaching response that is needed.
“Our climate policy speaks out on behalf of the poor and marginalised suffering from climate change across the world,” said Islamic Relief CEO Naser Haghamed, speaking at the policy’s launch event on February 11th, 2019.
“We say that as a moral, social and environmental issue, mitigation of climate change demands an urgent and global response and change on an unprecedented scale.
“Limiting warming to 1.5°C is the most effective way to use resources. But there must also be investment where the consequences of climate breakdown are already being felt: in disaster risk management, adaptation and resilience building, and addressing loss and damage.”
Expressing the need for urgent action, Naser Haghamed echoed Swedish child activist Greta Thunberg’s cry that “Our house is on fire”. Thousands of schoolchildren worldwide are not attending school to take part in strikes pressurising world leaders to tackle climate change.
“Just the previous week, it was announced that 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record, the oceans are the warmest ever, the UK will average 1.5 degrees warming within five years, glaciers in the Himalayas are set to melt threatening water shortage for two billion people, and Islamic Relief was on alert as the government of Balochistan declared a drought emergency.”
The Talanoa Dialogues organised by Islamic Relief in 11 countries sent messages to governments and the UN that adaptation to climate change needs to be tackled by the people who know their situation best. The duty of government is to help them plan and carry out the necessary work.
Emphasising that Islamic Relief must also continue to strive to do more, Islamic Relief’s CEO added:
“We must make sure that we are doing everything to limit our own greenhouse gas emissions, with continuously improving environmental performance integral to our business strategy and operating methods.
At next month’s UN Environment Assembly, Islamic Relief will present on their climate and consumption work in East Africa. There they will also engage with the UN secretary general’s climate summit and UN Climate Change conference later in the year.