Stories of change

As we face the global climate crisis together, religious and spiritual people in every part of the world are making personal lifestyle changes.

We are transforming our personal lives in the ways that matter the most to us, and making a difference by practicing our deepest beliefs and values. We are taking action in three priority priority areas that have the most impact on our climate: transport, diet, and home energy use.

We represent diverse traditions, teachings, cultures, and ways of life, all working together to create a flourishing world. Read our stories and be inspired by our journeys of change!

Without constant cultivation of ease and contentment within change, and accepting the fact that our efforts to live lives more ecologically aware will always be imperfect in some way, despair, overwhelm, and inaction looms large. Action is better than inaction.

Sustainable lifestyle changes can be brought about easily by convincing oneself that they are for the better in improving the environment; but often also clearly beneficial for one’s own health (e.g. eating less meat) or one’s wallet in the long term (ee.g. installing solar panels).

BK Jayasimha collaborated with fellow members of the Brahma Kumaris community to build the solar energy systems that power their headquarters in Mt. Abu, India.

Mr. Rufus Kamran, Executive Director of the Society for Peace and Sustainable Development (SPSD)-Pakistan, shares his personal experience with the Ecumenical theology of development.

Sister Jayanti, European Director of Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, has moved to a totally plant-based diet in accordance with the law of “karma” (action and reaction) and respect for our natural resources.

Per Ingvar Haukeland is a Quaker professor and senior researcher who has worked together with his wife to establish a sustainability transition initiative for residents of their small Norwegian town.

Rev. John Dear, a Catholic priest who has written more than 30 books about the Gospel of Jesus, the way of nonviolence, and the call to make peace, reflects upon his decades of work as a justice and peace activist.

We do live in a world where we advocate change all the time - political, social and even spiritual - but we do not take any steps ourselves. Allah informs us that He will not change a community till they change themselves (Quran, 13: 11).

There are so many ways to prevent throwing food away, like freezing the food, reusing it for another dish or even sharing it with neighbours. From my journey, I have learnt that, like with anything, small and gradual changes allows us to slowly become used to the changes.

Rabbi Katy Allen reflects upon the individual, family, and societal factors that often determine how easy or difficult it can be for us to live sustainabily.

Brother Lluc Torcal serves as Procurator General Cisterian Order of the Catholic Poblet monestary in Catalonia, where he supports an ecological conversion process that reflects a path of simplicity.

Rev. Milton Mejía has developed an Eco-Theology Course in the Presbyterian Church of Colombia that seeks to recover the concepts and practices of austerity, saving, and pastoral care from an ecological perspective.

Shelley Tanenbaum, General Secretary of Quaker Earthcare Witness, has committed to traveling by train whenever possible while overseeing outreach to the Quaker community across North America.

Consumerism is built on selfish desire for more and more, which is itself rooted in a fear of not having enough. When Jesus encourages us to not worry about the basic necessities of food, drink and clothing, how much more are we not to worry about keeping up with the Jones’ gadgets, cars and clothes?

One of the great threats for human society and the environment is extravagance. The origins of this are greed and negligence. This character is controlled by religious teachings.

Lindsey Fielder Cook, Representative for Climate Change with the Quaker United Nations Office, discuss the benefits and challenges of making sustainable decisions both as an individual and as part of a family.

Marie Denis, co-president of the global Catholic peace movement Pax Christi International, helped establish an intentional community in an inner city neighborhood of Washington, DC, focused on social justice, peace, and active nonviolence.

Sister Christin Tomy, OP, has sparked meaningful conversations among her fellow Catholic Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa about the spiritual and ethical foundations of her vegetarianism.

Imam Zaid Shakir discusses how and why it is up to each person to make the lessons of Ramadan lasting and permanent.

Commitments by Faith Leaders

Diverse religious and spiritual leaders around the world are making personal commitments to sustainable living. By taking climate action on an individual and household level, these faith leaders are practicing their values and serving to inspire their fellow community members.

Mr. Tomás Insua, Executive Director of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, discusses the Laudato Si’ Encyclical as an urgent call to action to transform the way we live and walk on the Earth.

Ms. Nana Firman is the Co-Founder of the Global Muslim Climate Network, as well as the Muslim Outreach Director of GreenFaith. As a Muslim working in Indonesia and the United States, she explains the Koran’s teachings that we must walk gently upon the Earth.

The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, is working to reduce his personal carbon footprint.

Mr. Saffet Catovic, a Bosnian-American Muslim working with the Islamic Society of North America, wants to move towards a more plant-based diet, which is the diet of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him).

Rev. Dr. Neddy Astudillo, a Presbyterian pastor in the United States, says we should eat regionally-harvested foods. As a Venezuelan-American eco-theologian, she also serves as Latin America Director of GreenFaith.

Rev. Henrik Grape, a Climate Change Officer with the World Council of Churches, discusses the difficulty of removing structural barriers to change.

Mr. Gopal Patel directs the Bhumi Project, an international Hindu environmental network based in the U.K. This year, he is planning to go vegan.

Ms. Merle Riester, a young practitioner of Shambhala Buddhism in Germany, reflects upon the strange experience of realizing how much material “stuff” we don’t truly need.

Mr. Arnd Riester, a practitioner of Shambhala Buddhism in Germany, says we should drastically reduce plastic packaging, in part by avoiding supermarkets.

Ms. Caroline Bader is the Director of “Living the Change” with GreenFaith. Based in Germany, and previously serving as Youth Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, she believes it is her responsibility as a Christian to care for her climate neighbors as her brothers and sisters around the world.

Rev. Bee Moorhead, a Presbyterian leader who directs Texas Impact’s interfaith legislative advocacy network, reflects upon feelings of community and a loving universe.

Mr. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, the U.S. National Organizer & Spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, celebrates seeing the transformation promised in the Gospel manifested in his own sustainable lifestyle.

Call To Action