Hosted by the Lutheran World Federation, the meeting will focus on managing religious differences in the interests of supporting sustainability and climate change.
An upcoming international, interdisciplinary conference on sustainability and climate change will be hosted by the Lutheran World Federation, in Bergen, Norway.
Although not directed at resolving specific religious or cultural conflicts that might impact agricultural industries, participating speakers come from parts of the world — for example, Palestine and Israel — where the health of industries such as olive growing is intertwined with religious, cultural and political differences.
There is a growing global consensus about the need to promote environmental education across multiple sectors in order to curb the root causes of climate change.
The Lutheran World Federation’s Augusta Victoria Hospital, located on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem, for example, maintains its own olive farm of 800 trees and depends partly from sales of olive oil to support the hospital.
While the olive trees were not reportedly threatened or harmed, the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) reported back in October that Israeli soldiers and police officers “stormed” the hospital and searched the cancer ward for weapons.See more: Climate Change News
The IMEMC, a Palestinian news organization that works with independent journalists throughout the region, also described the soldiers and police who searched the hospital as “heavily armed and armored.”
Accounts such as this demonstrate that matters relating to healthcare, agriculture, culture and politics may be unavoidably connected. They also suggest an unspoken, subtext of the upcoming conference.
“Through the data and experience shared by participants, the conference aims to provide new knowledge and inspire commitment among people who see a critical role for religion and belief in deepening reflection and action on sustainability and the climate,” the Lutheran World Federation said on its website.
Topics slated for discussion include eco-theology and environmental ethics. Spokespeople for the conference are emphasizing an interfaith commitment to religious ideals relating to the management of sustainability and climate change.
“There is a growing global consensus about the need to promote environmental education across multiple sectors in order to curb the root causes of climate change,” Reverend Chad Rimmer, a program executive at the Lutheran World Federation, said. “Religious traditions have a rich and significant voice to contribute a faith perspective to this interdisciplinary conversation.”
He emphasized that finding common ground is a key goal for conference organizers.
“The Lutheran World Federation is co-sponsoring this conference that will bring theologians and educators of different faith traditions into dialogue with representatives from other sectors of civil society in order to consider best practices for finding common ground in the effort to teach this generation about the importance of caring for the earth,” he said.
“Our faith in God’s love for life gives us hope that our generation can discern effective pathways to restoring out a right, sustainable relationship to the earth and all creatures,” he added.
Apart from religion, topics such as how sustainability and climate change education can be best integrated within public school programming will also be addressed at the conference, which runs from February 12 to 14.
The Lutheran World Federation is co-sponsoring the event with the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (Bergen Campus), the Church of Norway and the Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities in Norway in cooperation with the Al Mowafaqa Ecumenical Institute of Theology in Morocco.