Solidarity with Mother Earth

The struggle for climate justice and the struggle to end violence against women and girls belong together: Solidarity with women includes solidarity with Mother Earth! The members of the coalition are all actively involved in the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris from 30 November to 11 December.

Indigenous Peoples’ wisdom preserves the traditional knowledge that the respect for the dignity of women and the respect for Mother Earth are closely interrelated: “Traditionally,  a high value was placed on the role of women, their linkage to the earth and the giving of life; therefore, to abuse a women would be like abusing Mother Earth and showing irreverence toward life, thus breaking a sacred bond. Domestic violence against women violates the Native American traditional belief that everything is sacred and bonded together…” (Wendelin Hume and Sherina Hume in: Nicky Ali Jackson (ed) Encyclopedia of Domestic Violence -
Read more
). The loss of ancestral land is a driver for violence against women: see Breaking the Silence on Violence against Indigenous Girls


Christian and Muslim scholars are re-reading the sacred texts



…“People, be mindful of your Lord, who created you from a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them spread countless men and women far and wide...” [Qur’an, 4:1]
These verses make the dignity and equality of all humans, males and females, quite clear, so any affront to the dignity of a person is in contradiction to God’s message. Any form of injustice degrades a person’s dignity. Islamic scriptures clearly indicate that humanity has been granted special responsibilities by God, which are not differentiated by gender. For example, when God appointed human beings as guardians of the earth, this responsibility was given to all humans, irrespective of gender – “...’I am putting a successor on earth’...” [Qur’an 2:30] ...Justice is a central and fundamental principle in Islam. In the chapter on women (Surah al-Nisa), the Qur’an says: “You who believe, uphold justice and bear witness to God, even if it is against yourselves, your parents, or your close relatives. Whether the person is rich or poor, God can best take care of both. Refrain from following your own desire, so that you can act justly–if you distort or neglect justice, God is fully aware of what you do.” [Qur’an 4:135] We start from acknowledging that God is Just (‘Al-Adl’18) and He created everything, including His commands and directives, in justice. The principle of justice is derived from religious scriptures and examples of the Prophets embodied in the Shari’ah19. We recognise that any outcome of relations between women, girls, men, or boys which leads to injustice is flawed.

see: The Gender Justice Policy of Islamic Relief

and the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change

Feminist theologians and theologians of Indigenous Peoples’ such as Maria Chavez Quispe of the World Council of Churches showed the connection between oppression of women and violence against the earth. They were emphasizing that human beings were created to water and till the garden:

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it...Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” (Genesis 2:15.18)

Together with human beings creation suffers from the consequences of the brokenness of life after the fall:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; (Romans 8:19)

Finally the body of the resurrected Christ encompasses earth and univers:

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.(Colossians 1:19 f.)

He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1:9 f.)

see: Interfaith statement on climate change


Action

Pray for girls of Indigenous Peoples communities and their right to education and their own cultural heritage.

Talk to women of the older generation. How did the relationship between women and nature change during their life-time? Do they remember stories reminding the community to take care for
all life?


In the beginning the Spirit God danced over the void. It was a dance of creation, of joy, of freedom of wholeness, of power... And God, knowing that all that is good is shared, held the Earth tenderly and yearned for relationship. And humanity was born in the yearning of God.
We are born to share the earth.

(adapted from: Blessing the Earth, Carter Heyward, USA)