The Bhumi Project is an international Hindu response to the environmental challenges facing our planet. It is facilitated by the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies in partnership with the Alliance of Religions and Conservation. Here, the Bhumi Project responds to Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on Climate Change.
Bhumi Project response to Pope Francis’s encyclical
Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment is a welcome addition in addressing environmental concerns. His call to action speaks to all concerned citizens of the world.
As Hindus, we believe that all life is connected. Disrupting the finely balanced order on our planet through greed and exploitation is having significant and far-reaching consequences. In his encyclical the Pope speaks of this – that human beings have to consider their relationship with their surroundings, and to understand that the natural world cannot be considered separate to us. ‘Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment’, the Pope states.
To address current environmental challenges, Pope Francis places great emphasis on education and working for the common good. These are values Hindus will recognise as being central to Hindu thought and life. The Pope states we must recognise the need for one another, and to ‘have a shared responsibility for others and the world’. He also speaks about the importance of being good and decent people. This mirrors the concept of Dharma, that we must live with responsibility towards others in order to create peace and goodness in the world. This is not based on climate change and scientific data, but on doing the right thing for the planet and all living beings.
Gopal Patel, Director of the Bhumi Project:
“The Pope’s message leaves little room for speculation – caring for the environment requires individual and collective action. Our vision must be aligned for the common good, and we thank the Pope for his leadership on this important topic.”
Shaunaka Rishi Das, Director, Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies:
“It is important that world views and spiritual traditions work towards solving our common problems together. The Pope’s encyclical has firmly brought religious environmental views into the public discourse.”