8 ethical principles underlying international agreements, and explores the ways the religious or secular positions of governments affect their negotiating positions. It also shows the important contribution that principles relevant to the environment in all the major religions can make to the search for equitable agreements that can be implemented. Examples from the Christian, Islamic and Bahá’í traditions have been studied in detail. By extending the environmental issues requiring international agreement to the most fundamental level of ethical principle, the course helps to lay a foundation for greater international understanding in the future. It has enabled participants to integrate their religious and ethical beliefs and those of their nations and cultures with their international action. They often cite the ethical dimension as one of the strong points of the course. The success of this approach underlines the need to include the ethical and spiritual dimension in a broad and inclusive form more widely in educational programmes of all kinds and levels to equip citizens for the challenges of the years ahead. Conclusions The need to mobilize the world population to respond to the challenges of climate change requires new kinds of partnerships across all segments of society. In particular, the scientific community which has been marshalling the evidence for climate change and trying to understand and project its impacts, should recognize that faith-based organizations have a unique reach to grass-roots levels all around the world, and a capacity to motivate change, that can be used to communicate the ethical challenges arising from climate change and the need for a common effort to respond. The necessary transition will require sacrifices from many people, which will be more readily accepted with an ethical justification and spiritual motivation. The Bahá’í community provides one model showing how science and religion can be brought together to raise public awareness of climate change and motivate action towards sustainability based on justice and equity.