Hindu Leaders Celebrate Global Release of Hindu Declaration on Climate Change

Boston, MA (November 23, 2015) - Leaders of the Hindu community worldwide released Bhumi Devi ki Jai! A Hindu Declaration on Climate Change earlier today. The Declaration was authored by the Bhumi Project and the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, with support from the Hindu American Foundation (HAF), in an effort to bring a Dharmic perspective to the global discussion of climate change.

“The release of this document is momentous considering the dire circumstances currently induced by man-made pollution impacting natural ecosystems,” said SriVani Ganti, HAF’s Director of Member and Chapter Relations and one of the editors of the Declaration. “By sharing the global Hindu perspective, our world leaders will see that 900 million voices stand strong on actively reforming how nations, and their citizens, can proactively address climate change.”

The Hindu Declaration on Climate Change was launched prior the United Nations’ two week long climate negotiations being held in Paris, beginning November 30th. The Declaration drew from Hindu scriptures, including the Atharvā Vedā, Mahābhārata, and Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, to remind Hindu practitioners, and the general public, of their dharma, or duty, towards environmental preservation.

The Mahābhārata (109.10) tells us, “Dharma exists for the welfare of all beings. Hence, that by which the welfare of all living beings is sustained, that for sure is dharma.”

Today we call on all Hindus to expand our conception of dharma. We must consider the effects of our actions not just on ourselves and those humans around us, but also on all beings. We have a dharmic duty for each of us to do our part in ensuring that we have a functioning, abundant, and bountiful planet.

"Political leaders, faith leaders, and scientists from around the nation and the world need to come together to combat climate disruption," said Delegate Kumar Barve, Chairman of the Maryland House Environment and Transportation Committee. "We must work globally for strong carbon reductions goals in the near term and toward total carbon neutrality for future generations."

In addition to Barve, the Declaration was signed by over 60 Hindu organizations and prominent leaders including Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, global head of Art of Living Foundation; International Society for Krishna Consciousness; and scientist and environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva.

“Hinduism is filled with examples of how we should honor, protect, and respect the Earth,” stated Mat McDermott, primary author of the Declaration and advisor to the Bhumi Project. “Everyday pujas remind of us our Oneness with nature, making our onus clear to care for the environment.” Individuals and organizations still have the opportunity to sign on to the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change by visiting the official Declaration website, where the full list of signatories and Declaration can also be found.