Whilst the terms climate change deniers, sceptics or believers drop off the tongue as secular labels it occurred to me as a Roman Catholic that there is something of a non-secular intonation to the terms believer, sceptic and denier.
Yet the tone of the debate in the Christian, as well as the secular, West has for the most part steered away from looking at the issue as anything other than a secular call to arms to combat environmental harm or to defend the status quo.
The Majority of the Islamic world occupies areas we know to be at particular risk of climate harm so one would assume that the imperative to tackle the issue should be at the forefront of economic planning.
Indeed the various 2030, and similar visions of many Gulf States stand as policy templates to climate abatement and filter down into legislative and regulatory enactments that now drive many of their economic strategies, peak oil to one side.
I would argue however that this only tells part of the commitment to climate abatement for such Islamic nations.
Indeed that “commitment” is written into the basic tenets of Islam itself which therefore takes the issue out of the sea change secular world of politics.
And at a time where modern Islam finds itself challenged from all quarters it is a shame that its currency and its relevance in a period of climatic change is not being championed more as a matter of actual faith itself.
In Islamic teaching human kind has been given a vice regency over the planet, at the end of the world when all seems doomed we are still directed to plant that last seed. Water management and sustainable development are replete within the Holy Qur’an and Hadiths And we are cautioned that:
Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness]. (Quran, 30:41)
Whilst most world religions champion the environment, I would argue that there are no societies other than Islamic ones where climate change is more than observation and science – it is a theological and cultural impost that is carried by a certainty of faith based believe that we in the west perhaps should give great credit to and which is directed unopposed into policy.
We may all be grateful for that lead in the ensuing decades and, at a time when Islam feels itself under siege, we should be shouting Islam’s climate teachings from the rooftops and Minarets as having relevance for this century as never before.