Following the international conference on the environment (COP 27) that was held in Egypt in 2022, SAT-7 recently filmed a conference organized by The Centre for Christian-Muslim Understanding and Partnership to discuss environmental protection.
Under the umbrella of its “Youth for an Enabling Society” (YES) project, SAT-7 collaborated with diverse Christian denominations in this event in order to promote local theological thinking and creation care.
“This conference speaks to the heart of the YES project,” said Rafik George, Development Projects Manager at SAT-7 Egypt. “One of our aims is to make youth aware of the importance of protecting the environment. When religious leaders recognize this, it will have an impact on the youth who come in contact with them. By our presence and sponsorship of the conference we were able to cooperate further with the Anglican Church, which runs a big environmental project that is directed to people at large and not just to Christians. We will be cooperating with them in the future in more project activities.”
Believing in the powerful influence of religious leaders in Egypt on their communities, the Anglican Church invited a hundred Christian and Muslim leaders and NGO representatives to participate in the two-day workshop.
“We have a moral obligation to cooperate to protect our planet and face the challenges through scientific knowledge and the wisdom of religions,” said Coptic Orthodox Bishop Ermia.
Recognizing how their scriptures direct humans to be stewards of creation, religious leaders are applying this teaching through on-the-ground activities that educate wider society and encourage practical steps towards environmental protection.
“Humans have abused the environment. Creation belongs to God and humans are stewards of creation. Religion is important because it cares for both, and the solution is in humans’ hands to fix what they destroyed,” said Dr Samy Fawzy, Archbishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Alexandria.
The conference, held at the All Saints Episcopal-Anglican Cathedral in Egypt, discussed three main themes: the effect of pollution on the planet, believers’ responsibility to protect the environment, and the practical role of religious leaders in this task.
According to Raouf Saad, Egyptian advisor to the Minister of Environment, industrial advancement in developed countries and recent wars such as the Ukraine-Russia conflict have had a negative impact on energy resources and the environment.
Christian and Muslim participants highlighted past and current initiatives to create awareness of the issues at ground level and play an active role, such as recycling waste material, organizing workshops in schools, and engaging school children and youth in activities that teach them how to protect the environment responsibly.
They also encouraged the use of renewable energy such as solar, wind, and water power to create a green economy, and the protection of water resources through infrastructure development and reducing waste.
Rev. Matthew Anderson, Director of Academic Studies at the Christian-Islamic Center for Understanding and Partnership, stated that the aim of the conference was firstly to strengthen intellectual convictions regarding the environment, secondly to study its theological dimensions, and thirdly to learn from civil society organizations about the actions they are taking.
SAT-7 broadcast all the sessions live on social media. As part of a long-term project for stewarding resources, SAT-7 had also filmed the COP 27 conference in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt in November 2022.
YES is a five-year project funded by Norad via Digni and NMS. It promotes social cohesion among youth, by helping them become familiar with diversity, personal responsibility, and creative self-expression, for the purpose of promoting justice and reconciliation between different communities in Egypt.
Would you please pause and pray for the following right now?
- For understanding and empathy among Christians and Muslims alike, that they can work together towards this common goal
- For the protection of the environment God has blessed us with, and for future initiatives to take place that will help protect it