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How Muslim Countries Can Reduce Climate Change

It's no surprise now that Islam is heavily based on enviromental teachings . This isn't a novel idea any more. What is surprising, i...


It's no surprise now that Islam is heavily based on enviromental teachings. This isn't a novel idea any more. What is surprising, is that many Muslims and Muslim countries aren't aware of these teachings.

When you Google 'Egypt environmental issues' or 'Indonesia climate change', there's more news articles about flooding, famine and politics than the real positive actions those countries have been taking. There's definitely a media bias against Muslim countries but I'm not exploring that today.

What has irked me is the statistics behind the countries with the highest CO2 emissions and contributions towards climate change. This may, or may not surprise you too.  

According to the World Resources Institute [1], the world’s top three emitters are:
  1. China
  2. USA
  3. EU (Europe combined)
Indonesia is in 8th place, Iran in 11th place and Saudi Arabia is in 14th place. 

China, USA and the EU alone are contributing 14 times the emissions of the bottom one-hundred countries. That's more than half of the world's total emissions. It's fair to say they are larger in land-mass, population and industry. 

What isn't fair though is that China and European countries - UK included - haven't really been held accountable and any environmental sanctions we hear about tend to be imposed on predominantly Muslim-based countries more than European or American regions 

I was reading a recent article on Al Jazeera [2] by Turkish environmentalist Ibrahim Ozdemir who said that many Muslim countries were contributing to climate change. I agree that they are, but they are not wholly to blame. Where wealthier countries are rightly developed, others wish to follow suit - this is all at the price of the Earth's health. 

Where some countries have the technology for renewable energy, some are still relying on fossil fuels. It's difficult to quantify which countries are doing more but this debate shouldn't be just about country versus country. 

Islamic Declaration on Climate Change [Turkey]

In 2015 the first Islamic Declaration on Climate Change was published in a global meeting hosted in Turkey. They set 'clear targets and monitoring systems' for the Muslim nations attending. I feel like their mission was too bold: committing to 100% renewable energy, asking richer nations and oil-producing states to phase out their greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050. Really? 

I just don't see that happening. 

Again, politics, resources and power will be the focal point of any goal set into motion, sadly, not the priority of human life, the Ozone or Earth's rising temperature. 

Where I do see common ground though, and an important point Ozdemir makes, is that the solution is found in faith:
What would work, and has been proven to work, is using the principles of Islam to encourage conservation in Muslims. - Ibrahim Ozdemir, Al Jazeera
This 'climate movement' needs to integrate with the real lives of people who live in Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the world over. There's a few million Muslims in the United Kingdom, we're a bit out of touch with environmentalism too. 


We can't talk to one another about the hole in the sky when we're starving on one end of the spectrum, and buying hotels on the other. Our disparities mean the 'eco' part of Islam just isn't a priority for us. But it can be. 

Muslim countries can elevate the lifestyle and remove the poverty levels of their people so that their health and financial status can be treated as paramount to their surroundings. 

Muslim countries need to speak the language of its citizens and provide resources for families to understand and implement green Islam practices at home. 

For example, the Masjid's Imam could give a green inspired Khutbah (sermon) for prayer, giving a few prophetic examples of buying less, growing more plants and eating less food. 

Like the UK, shopping malls could invest in real recyclable and sustainable brands or products to invest in their local communities, instead of importing and exporting below-standard factory worker slavery. This is already happening in Malaysia and Indonesia.


It begins with the smallest actions that bring about the biggest changes. Insha-Allah, the more we as Muslims read, do and share, the better we can fulfil our promise to our faith. 

Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant. Qur'an, (33:72)
Sources

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