World Muslim Leaders Speak Out on Climate Crisis

[Below you will find a wise and powerful statement by Muslim leaders from all around the world, calling for vigorous action to prevent climate chaos. [On July 18, 2015, I received a draft Islamic Statement on the Climate Crisis , with a request to comment and advise. The Shalom Center was invited to do this because of our initiation of the Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis. (Others were similarly invited.) [At that point, the draft Preamble was totally drawn from science, with passages from the Quran coming later in the statement. I responded with warm and joyful support for the Statement as a whole, suggesting mainly that the Preamble  begin with a sense of the Quran's religious commitment to healing the Earth,  within which the science is crucial information. In fact, the final statement does begin with a foundational religious affirmation. (I'm not suggesting that change was brought about by my comment; I am sure many of the drafters saw the need as I did.)  [This Statement stands alongside the Papal Encyclical Laudato Si and the Rabbinic Letter on the Climate Crisis as a remarkable and wonder-filled expression of the concern and commitment of a community of more than a billion human beings. Al-Hamdulillah!  -- God be praised, Baruch Hashem! --  Shalom, salaam, peace, Earth!  -- Rabbi Arthur Waskow] Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate PREAMBLE

  • God – Whom we know as Allah – has created the universe in all its diversity, richness and vitality: the stars, the sun and moon, the earth and all its communities of living beings. All these reflect and manifest the boundless glory and mercy of their Creator. All created beings by nature serve and glorify their Maker, all bow to their Lord’s will. We human beings are created to serve the Lord of all beings, to work the greatest good we can for all the species, individuals, and generations of God’s creatures.


  • Our planet has existed for billions of years and climate change

Pope Francis & St Francis: "Laudato Si [Praised be the ONE]"

"Concerning Care for Our Common Home" [This is the full and final text of the encyclical by Pope Francis, issued at Noon Rome time (6 a.m.  EDT) on June 18, 2015. The encyclical addresses the climate crisis from a powerfully universal spiritual outlook,  biblically rooted, and sets that crisis in the broader context of several increasingly powerful technologies used in increasingly destructive ways so as to endanger our Mother Earth -- and then in the even broader context of a systemic spiritual crisis afflicting the world culture, economy, and politics. [Laudato Si, beginning with its title, evokes the life-work of St. Francis of Assisi in his love for the poor and of all Creation. [It is notable that this day marks the renewal of what/who  St. Francis called "Sister Moon,"  and thereby is the first day of the Jewish lunar "moonth" of Tammuz and the Muslim lunar "moonth" of Ramadan.  Ramadan very clearly and Tammuz to some extent call forth renewed self-examination by individuals and societies of their relationship to the Spirit; to greed and top-down exploitation by the powerful; and to the Earth. The choice of 1 Ramadan as the day to prclaim Laudato Si may reflect Pope Francis' desire for a world-wide flowering of Earth-loving responses from all religions and possibly his admiration for St Francis' unusual attempts during the Crusades to seek peace and wisdom in dialogue with Islam. Emphases of the first three paragraphs, paragraph 139, and the universal prayer near the end are mine.--  AW, editor]

The encyclical letter of the Holy Father Francis -- Laudato Si: Concerning Care for Our Common Home

 1. “Laudato si’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”. 2. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made upof her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters. Nothing in this world is indifferent to us.  3. More than fifty years ago, with the world teetering on the brink of nuclear crisis, Pope Saint John XXIII wrote an Encyclical which not only rejected war but offered a proposal for peace. He addressed his message Pacem in Terris to the entire “Catholic world” and indeed “to all men and women of good will”. Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet. In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I wrote to all the members of the Church with the aim of encouraging ongoing missionary renewal. In this Encyclical, I would like to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.

Gather this Sukkot to Address Climate Crisis?

"We Have the Whole World in Our Hands"

Torah Calls Us to "Assemble!" in Sukkot after Sabbatical/ Shmita Year Has the time come for Jewish communities to hold public gatherings to discuss and plan responses to the climate crisis?  In Boston, such a conference was held on May 17 by the Jewish Climate Action Network. (The Shalom Center was a co-sponsor, and I spoke there.) In Philadelphia, the Jewish Federation and its Jewish Community Relations Council is planning toward  such a gathering on October 4. I encourage all of us to be thinking about organizing such an event in our own cities. These could be Jewish or interfaith gatherings.

An  auspicious time to do this might be the Sunday of Sukkot, the harvest festival -- this coming fall, October 4. Why then? Partly because Sukkot is one of the most Earth-conscious of our festivals. And especially because this coming Sukkot is special.

The Torah  (Deut 31:10-12) calls on us in the Sukkot after a Sabbatical Shmita/ Year of Release to Assemble (in Hebrew, "Hak'heyl") the whole people to learn together the heart of Torah. This very year is a Sabbatical Year -- so that means we could create Hak'heyl this coming Sukkot.

In our generation, this means learning the Torah of eco-social justice,healing the Earth and human earthlings from the lethal climate crisis we are in, and birthing a new Earth-wide community of shared and sustainable abundance.

If you are interested in organizing a Hak'heyl gathering in your city this fall, please write us at

Liberating Passover & the Earth: Making change happen with the Interfaith Seder for the Earth

The Shalom Center has created a 40th Anniversary New Interfaith Freedom Seder for the Earth to help us free ourselves from the greatest dangers of our time: What are the Ten Plagues endangering the earth and human life today, and what are the Ten Blessings we ourselves can bring to heal the earth and our own societies? If you want to hold a New Freedom Seder in your own community, please write Rabbi Arthur Waskow at

Plagues, Peace, and Pinchas The Priest: When meeting brings disaster -- and a cure

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow In the regular Jewish Torah reading for this week, we read the story of a Priest who becomes a murderer and calls a murderous God into reflective peacemaking. In our own gwneration, the passage has been cited as justification for zealous murders -- justification for blood shed today. In response, many peaceniks of today shrug off the story as just another bloody streak in the Biblical fabric. But I see the story in a different light - one that celebrates turning from zealous murder to self-reflective peace.

Prophetic Song for These Times: Leonard Cohen, "Democracy is Coming to the USA"

The darkest, most honest, most prophetic patriotic song I know is Leonard Cohen’s  “Democracy is Coming to the USA.”

It’s a song for tonight and the morning after Election Day and the weeks that follow.  

First look at these words below in case you might miss a few in the hearing/ watching. Then check the link . I recommend watching/ hearing the first go-round with wonderful graphics, and stay to watch and hear the Prophet Leonard himself sing it a second time.  

Whatever attacks we face against democracy in the next few months, I hope this song will give us joy and inner strength through our tears.   “Oz v’zimrat YAHHHH: Strength and Song:  The Breath of Life.” --- 

Feel free to share this with your friends  --- Arthur


 “Democracy is Coming to the USA”

  Leonard Cohen 

 It's coming through a hole in the air, 

from those nights in Tiananmen Square. 
It's coming from the feel 
that this ain't exactly real, 
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there. 
From the wars against disorder, 
from the sirens night and day, 
from the fires of the homeless, 
from the ashes of the gay: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

It's coming through a crack in the wall; 
on a visionary flood of alcohol; 
from the staggering account 
of the Sermon on the Mount 
which I don't pretend to understand at all. 
It's coming from the silence 
on the dock of the bay, 
from the brave, the bold, the battered 
heart of Chevrolet: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

It's coming from the sorrow in the street, 
the holy places where the races meet; 
from the homicidal bitchin' 
that goes down in every kitchen 
to determine who will serve and who will eat. 
From the wells of disappointment 
where the women kneel to pray 
for the grace of God in the desert here 
and the desert far away: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

Sail on, sail on 
O mighty Ship of State! 
To the Shores of Need 
Past the Reefs of Greed 
Through the Squalls of Hate 
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on. 

It's coming to America first, 
the cradle of the best and of the worst. 
It's here they got the range 
and the machinery for change 
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. 
It's here the family's broken 
and it's here the lonely say 
that the heart has got to open 
in a fundamental way: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

It's coming from the women and the men. 
O baby, we'll be making love again. 
We'll be going down so deep 
the river's going to weep, 
and the mountain's going to shout Amen! 
It's coming like the tidal flood 
beneath the lunar sway, 
imperial, mysterious, 
in amorous array: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. 

Sail on, sail on ... 

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean 
I love the country but I can't stand the scene. 
And I'm neither left or right 
I'm just staying home tonight, 
getting lost in that hopeless little screen. 
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags 
that Time cannot decay, 
I'm junk but I'm still holding up 
this little wild bouquet: 
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

 ### ### ### ### 

P,S My newest book, Dancing in God's Earthquake: The Coming Transformation of Religion is my sketch of the do-able future. Gloria Steinem, Ruth Messinger, Rev. William Barber; Rabbis Art Green, Jonah Pesner, and Jill Hammer; Bill McKibben, Marge Piercy, and Jim Wallis have all read and praised it. Join them! Order it from The Shalom Center or from Orbis Books. See ---  This book is the harvest of my whole life-experience – and like a harvest, intended not only to draw on the past but to feed the future.--  AW


Subscribe to RSS - CiviMail