Climate change is not something new, what is new is the rapid change in the climate conditions that results in disastrous consequences that we are experiencing today due to global warming. Scientists has predicted that as increase in global warming continues so will the impact on our environment due to the greenhouse effect caused by increase in Carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere. The increase in the atmospheric carbon results from various human activities with industrialisation being a major contributor. The most industrialised countries today are the major carbon emitters and we all know which countries are these.
The effects of climate change caused by global warming are now manifesting in various forms globally but the profound effects are most felt in those regions considered the poorest in the world with little or no industrialisation. Bangladesh is one such poor country that suffers from annual flooding as a direct result of global warming causing rise in sea level. Desertification and drought most especially in some African countries are devastating result of climate change. Effects of global warming in form of extreme weather conditions such as, heat waves, Hurricanes, Cyclones, floods and wildfires are widespread in occurrence, even the richest countries are not spared. But those who suffer most are the poor.
There are various ongoing initiatives and campaigns to reduce the impacts of climate change on our environment, the main one being initiatives to reduce the use of fossil fuels, a major contributor of greenhouse gases in our environment. Fossil fuels include oil, gas and coal that provide important sources of energy that powers our electricity, cars, industries and limitless other things that make our life so comfortable. That comfortable life will not last forever and doing something now can save us generations to come from the catastrophic effects of global warming resulting from our “so comfortable lifestyle”.
The moves now is to Renewable Energy, Conservation and Reduction of waste, otherwise know as “going green”. Going green will probably have little or no change in our “comfortable lifestyle” but will have a great impact on reducing the amount of greenhouse gases we emit. Both government and non-governmental organisations worldwide are pushing initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and this is manifested in the UN Kyoto protocol that commits the most industrialised countries to the reduction of their carbon emissions. Nationally, the UK government have various initiatives that will see UK reducing its carbon emissions in various ways. Friends of the Earth, a non-governmental organisation is one of the many organisations fronting the cause to reduce the impact of climate change worldwide.
What we can do as individual Muslims
First we need to understand this life is a trust upon us and we will be accountable to Allah (swt) as to how we live and the impact of our life on others, not just human, animals included, our environment and all the resources at our disposal which are all created by Allah (swt) with us as Trustees over them.
Allah is He Who created the heavens and the earth and sent down water from the clouds, then brought forth with it fruits as a sustenance for you, and He has made the ships subservient to you, that they might run their course in the sea by His command, and He has made the rivers subservient to you.
And He has made subservient to you the sun and the moon pursuing their courses, and He has made subservient to you the night and the day.
And He gives you of all that you ask Him; and if you count Allah’s favors, you will not be able to number them; most surely man is very unjust, very ungrateful. (Quran 14: 32-34)
And He it is Who has made you successors in the land and raised some of you above others by (various) grades, that He might try you by what He has given you; surely your Lord is quick to requite (evil), and He is most surely the Forgiving, the Merciful. (Quran 6:165 )
Then We made you successors in the land after them so that We may see how you act. (Quran 10: 14)
Going green is not just a “lifestyle” issue or a “trend” to follow but a responsibility that we owe in preserving our World and discharging our Trust to Allah (swt). Muslim Green Guide to Reducing Climate Change, a leaflet published by IFEE and life maker has comprehensive information on what we can practically do as Muslims to contribute our share to reducing climate change. A quick summary of those things we can do are:
- Buy local, organic and seasonal food.
- Have a shower instead of a bath.
- Switch to a renewable energy supplier.
- Use energy efficient light bulb.
- Air-dry instead of Tumble dry laundry.
- Switch off all electricity appliances not in use from the mains.
- Conserve water when making wudu (Remember this is Sunnah)
- Buy products with less packaging and re-use packagings when possible.
- Avoid impulse buying or unnecessary items just because it’s the trend or it’s got BOGOF on it (you not only save the environment you also save money by being prudent with your hard-earned cash)
- Improvise and find another use for your old household items and clothing instead of throwing them away, make money by selling them, give them to charities or individuals who can make better use of them.
- Make good use of your recycle bin by recycling all your recyclable waste.
- Walk and use public transport more often.
- Reduce your non-essential Air-travels.
- If you must own a car, invest on a fuel efficient one otherwise known as “Green Car”.
Download the leaflet for more information and visit the Act on C02 for more of what you can practically do to reduce your carbon emissions and together we can all contribute our bit to save our World from the effects of global warming for generations to come.
You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah; and if the followers of the Book had believed it would have been better for them; of them (some) are believers and most of them are transgressors. (Quran 5: 110)
If the above verse from the Quran is referring to us Muslims, the Ummah of Muhammad (saw) then, we should be at the forefront of the race to do what is right to benefit mankind and save our World from the disastrous effects of climate change.
References and more information on Climate Change:
What Muslim teaches us about Ecology: Alliance of Religions and Conservation
Environment and Muslim Heritage: Muslim Heritage
Act on CO2: UK Direct Gov
Calculate your Carbon Footprint: UK Direct Gov
Offset your carbon emission: UK Direct Gov
Effects of Climate change: UK Direct Gov
Solving global warming: Canadian Charity
Global Changes: Blog on Climate Change e.tc
Breathing Earth: Real-time simulation of CO2 emissions of every Country in the World.
Climate Change FAQ: Guardian Article.
History of Climate Change: BBC News.
Climate Change will devastate Africa: Guardian Article.