The Need for an Islamic ecological paradigm in the discourse of environmental management

Dato Yusuf Morales
Institute for Comparative and Advanced Studies

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Background Environmentalism Ideology of Environmentalism Dynamic History, Static Positions Muslim Ecological Paradigm Conclusion

1. Background
Each day people: • consume 54% of the accessible runoff water on earth • mine more materials from the earth than the natural erosion of all earth’s rivers • add over 15 million tons of carbon to the atmosphere • destroy 180 square miles of tropical rain forests • create over 60 square miles of desert • eliminate at least 74 animal or plant species • erode 70 to 80 million tons of topsoil • add around 1,400 tons of CFCs to the stratosphere Also:
• Nearly 70,000 chemical products have been introduced since World War II; 1,500 new ones are added each year. • Total U.S. production of chemicals amounts to over 300 million tons annually. • In 1994, 22,744 facilities of U.S. released 2.26 billion pounds of listed toxic chemicals into the environment.

1. Background…
RESULT? Planet in Peril:
Climate change, disaster vulnerabilities, loss of biodiversity, fatal diseases, environmental refugees… HOW TO ADDRESS? Environmental governance:
• • • • Sustainable development discourse Green discourse Ecological modernization Environmentalism

2. Environmentalism
• Environmentalism is one of the trajectories in the study of environmental governance. • A broad philosophy & social movement. • Dynamic, pervasive, transnational and multidimensional. • A social program • “Western” in origin (?)

2. Environmentalism
197 0 196 2

2. Environmentalism


John Muir (18381914)

2. Environmentalism
Aldo Leopold (1887-1948)

Henry David Thoreau (18171862)

3. Ideology of Environmentalism
• • • • • • • • Human is not off nature, but of nature. Not above nature, but a part of it. From “ego-centric” to “eco-centric” life. Think globally, act locally. Spaceship earth. The common heritage of humanity. Pollution does not respect national border. We have not inherited the earth from our parents; we’ve borrowed from our children. • The tragedy of the commons • The world is enough for everybody’s need, but not enough for one person’s greed. • A shift from Human Exemptionalist Paradigm (HEP) to New Ecological Paradigm (NEP).

4. Dynamic history, static position
Common markers:
 No clear beginning.  Emerged as a response to the negative impacts of industrialization on environment.  Histories were written by Americans.  For the American audience.  They all stop in 1970s.  They disregarded “Environmentalism of the Poor.”  No attention to the “outdated” and “dark” phases of society and history.

5. Muslim Ecological Paradigm (MEP)

MEP as a Philosophy:
• • • • • • • • • • “More common than you think” “Earth” (ard) appears 485 time in the Quran Charity to creatures has rewards All creatures have similar rights over nature Preservation of water is a worship Islam forbids water pollution Islam forbids air pollution Islam endorses the transformation of wilderness into agriculture and cattle pastures Earth as the first mother: “Humans have rights over the earth, and the earth has the rights over humans”

5. Muslim Ecological Paradigm…
• • • • • • • • Kindness to animals: not to kill animals for amusements Moderation in life: neither luxury nor miserliness Kindness to animals is an article of faith Two stories in prophetic tradition: Hima (wildlife conservation) in Islam Islamic science: no tension between science and nature Islam on consumer waste Purity of human life

In a nutshell this sums up mans singular purpose to the enviroment :

Man was created to be the Vicegerents (khilafa) of Allah on this earth (Khilafatullah fil ard)

5. Muslim Ecological Paradigm…
MEP as a movement/activism: Change through
• • • • • • • • • actions and movements: Intellectual movement led by Seyyed Hossein Nasr (George Washington University) “Green Muslims”, “Green Iftaar”, “Green Dinner” (Washington DC) “Eco-Halal” (Muslims in Chicago) “Green Mosque” (The ADAMS Center in Virginia, 5,000 families) “Green Ramadan”, “Green Khutbah” (Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago) “Green Haj” (Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, UK) “Eco-warriors”, First Eco-City (Indonesia) The world’s first Islamic conservation guide (Zanzibar, Africa) The first Muslim Theology of the Sea, (written and designed by Fazlun Khalid and Ali Thani, was published in May 2008 by IFEES).

5. Muslim Ecological Paradigm…
Some Muslim Organizations Focusing on Environment:
• • • • • • • • • • • Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc (IRFI) World Federation of Muslim Youth LINE (London Islamic Network for the Environment) The Seyyed Hossein Nasr Foundation Islamic Relief Worldwide Islamic Environmental Club Muslim Associations for Climate Change Action (MACCA) Wisdom in Nature (WIN) The Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES) • Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) • Africa Muslim Environment Network (AMEN)

5. Muslim Ecological Paradigm…
Environmental groups/organizations in the Arab world
1. Arab region as a whole:
• • • • • • • • • • • • • Arab Water Council (AWC) Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment Jordan Badia Research and Development Centre (BRDC) Jordan Environment Society (JES) Jordanian Environmental Watch Program The Jordan Society for Sustainable Development (JSSD) The Jordanian Network For Environmentally Friendly Industries (JNEFI) The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) Wild Jordan (WJ) Eco-Environmental Consultants Environment Public Authority ROPME: Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment – Kuwait The Kuwait Turtle Conservation Project

2. Jordan:

3. Kuwait :

5. Muslim Ecological Paradigm…
Environmental groups/organizations in the Arab world
4. Qatar:
• • • • • • • • • • • • • Friends of the Environment Center Law No. 30 of 2002 – Law of Environment Protection Qatar Chemical Company Ltd. Qatargas Company RasGas Company The Supreme Council for the Environment and National Sanctuaries Arabian Environmental Science Ltd Company (Arensco) Environmental Technology & Management Association Saudi Arabian Water Environment Association Saudi Gulf Environmental Protection Co. (SPECO Environment) Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi Global Engineering Systems FZC

1. Saudi Arabia

6. United Arab Emirate:

5. Muslim Ecological Paradigm…
Environmental groups/organizations in the Arab world

7. Yemen
• Water and Environment

8. Egypt
• Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency

9. Tunisia
• The Mediterranean Renewable Energy Centre (MEDREC)

10. Oman
• Environment Society of Oman

11. Bahrain:
• Universe Environment Bahrain B.S.C.

In the Context of Muslims in Southeast Asia
Indonesia has begun educating Pesantren students in Environmental Education in their schools Malaysia has done it in their secular schools Thailand Muslims have yet to realize this, Muslims in Mindanao, however, has not made significant strides in this field (except for the Liguasan Marsh foundation)

The Current Context
• After witnessing several environmental catastrophies, especially the recent Sendong tragedy and the overflowing of the Polangui River basin clearly shows that the Muslims have a role to play to oversee the protection and sustainability of the environment in Mindanao

6. Conclusion
• There is an impending need for Muslims to organize themselves based on their islamic beliefs to stand up, mobilize communities to protect the environment • Environment will be one of the most crucial issue in international relations and for the future world.

Who must participate :
Muslim Leaders (religious, community and traditional) Communities Political and religious organizations Scholars from the academe and the religious sector Intellectuals

The essential partnership
Muslim CSO collaboration LGU's Government Line agencies cooperation Local Businesses

Thank you so much!!

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