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Twenty top religious leaders from India Sign “Interfaith Climate Change Statement” Today



Indian National Flag via Flickr by Sanyam, Bahga

250 Religious Leaders Present the Interfaith Climate Change Statement to the President of the UN General Assembly

New Delhi/ April 18th, 2016:    Four days before the signing of the historic Paris Agreement, The Interfaith Climate Change Statement has been signed by two hundred fifty global faith leaders’ from fifty countries. This demonstrates a positive sentiment towards making the Paris Agreement work; and urges its prompt ratification by governments so that it can come into force as soon as possible.

The signatories include twenty religious leaders from India – Swami Agnivesh, President of the World Council of Arya Samaj “Society of Nobles”, Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leader,H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, President Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, Co-Founder/chair Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of Art of Living Foundation, Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leader, Swami Atmapriyananda, Vice Chancellor of Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders,Swamiji Jagadguru Karmayogi Charukeerty Bhattarak, Pontiff of Jain Shravanabelagola Math, ,Acharya Shri Shrivatsa Goswami. A leading figure in the Vaishnava tradition. Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, Dr. Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyassi, Chief Imam, All India Organisation of Mosques, Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leader.

As well as  Dharmacharya Shantum Seth, Ahimsa Trust, Plum Village International Community of Engaged Buddhists,Rev. Dr. Mar Atsongchanger, President, National Council of Churches in India,Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, President, Federation of Asian Bishops´ Conferences (FABC),Ven. Khandro Rinpoche, Teacher in both the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, Mata Amritanandamayi, Amma (“Mother”), Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders,Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Secretary General, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance; President, Divine Shakti Foundation, Dr..A.K Merchant, Trustee, Lotus Temple and National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is,

Rev. Dr. Solomon Rongpi, General Secretary, Council of Baptist Churches in Northern India,

Acharya Shri Shrivatsa Goswami. A leading figure in the Vaishnava tradition. Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leader, H.H. Radhanath Swami,H.H Swami Chandra. Initiated into the Usadin order by Mahant Girdhari Dassji. Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders,Lieutenant Colonel Dasari Daniel, National Secretary, The Salvation Army,Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in India,

Dr. Wahidudin Khan, Founder of the Islamic Centre – Urdu Islamic Institution, Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders,Dr. Acharya Lokesh Muni Ji, Ahimsa Vishwa Bharati,Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Director, Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery,Dharmacharya Shantum Seth, Ahimsa Trust, Plum Village International Community of Engaged Buddhists, Gunbir Singh, Chairman, EcoAmritsar, H.H Sri Sri Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji. Youngest ever swamiji to ascend the Paryaaya Peetam in Udupi. Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, Telesphore Placidus Cardinal Toppo, Cardinal Priest and Archbishop of Ranchi in the Roman Catholic Church, Member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders.

The declaration “outlines religious leaders’ and faith communities’ positive judgement of the adopted Paris Agreement” and:

  1. Urges governments to rapidly sign, ratify and implement the Paris Agreement, and to increase pledges to reduce emissions in line with keeping the global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels
  2. Insists on rapid emissions reduction and peaking by 2020, in order to keep the 1.5C goal within reach
  3. Strongly advocates for greater flows of finance, especially for adaptation and loss and damage
  4. Urges the swift phase out of all fossil fuel subsidies and a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050
  5. Encourages faith communities to reduce emissions in their homes, workplaces and centres of worship and to support and stand in solidarity with communities already impacted by climate change
  6. Calls for fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment in renewables, including within our own communities

The statement was signed today in Church Center of the UN followed by a press conference. The Statement also reaffirms the faith community’s support for increased ambition in climate change action and for the commitment to limit the global temperature rise to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Paris Agreement will be signed on Earth Day (22 nd April,2016) in New York. India along with rest of the countries will be present for a high level signing ceremony convened by UN secretary General Ban Ki Moon.




Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations



green housing techniques

Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?

The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.

New Construction Options

One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.

In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.

The Simple Retrofit

From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?

Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.

Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.

Big Innovations

Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.

In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.

Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.

It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.

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How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions



auto industry to clean air pollution

Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

Public Health Crisis

It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.

Used Cars

Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.

Public Perception

With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.


The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.

With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.

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