The environment is changing drastically. The air temperature at the Earth’s surface has risen by 0.8 ºC in the last century. Most scientists now agree that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are causing global warming and climate change, and people’s lives are being affected as a result. Extreme weather events such as the devastating flood that took place in Pakistan in 2010 are becoming more common and intense. Persistent droughts are becoming the norm. It has been predicted that by 2025, 3.4 billion people will live in water-scarce countries. Also, according to the United Nations, the adverse effects of climate change on grain yields could leave 25 million additional children malnourished by 2050.
For the last month I have been an intern at MADE in Europe, an organization dedicated to mobilising and influencing young Muslims to take action against the injustices and suffering experienced by billions of people in their daily lives.
During my time here, I have been working on the Green Up campaign; a joint initiative by MADE and FEMYSO, working with Mosques and Muslim communities across Europe to become more environmentally conscious and environmentally friendly.
My colleagues and I have been working with various Mosques in London to introduce to them the various ways in which they could become more environmentally friendly, from switching to energy-saving light bulbs to installing solar panels! Mosques that are willing to work with us on implementing initiatives appropriate for them would be eligible for the Green Up award; a certification that will accredit Mosques for becoming more environmentally friendly. Mosques can not only save energy by implementing these initiatives, but also lower bills by using less energy!
While working with Mosques, we have discussed how significant and important these changes are, while at the same time linking them to the Islamic teachings of protecting and preserving the natural environment. The whole idea of the campaign goes back to the simple point of reminding ourselves why it is crucial that as Muslims we work towards a better and cleaner environment.
The importance of Mosques, and Muslims in general, supporting such a campaign is vital to helping protect the environment, and ensuring that we are able to hand over a less polluted planet to the next generation.
At the moment, there is already an Eco-Mosque being planned in Cambridge. According to the Mosque Trust, it will incorporate significant design features which will minimise carbon emissions and emphasise the role of faith in promoting responsible management of the earth’s resources.
While most of the Mosques that we are working with may not become full Eco-Mosques, it is still important to make these changes, for these little steps can become a movement for environmental protection.
I hope that such an initiative will encourage Muslims around London, and indeed around the UK, to take an active interest in issues of environmental degradation, and to gain knowledge and skills on how to preserve resources both at home and in the Mosque, Insha’Allah.
By Uzair Ahmed