Climate Change Policy | Islamic Relief Canada

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Islamic Relief Canada





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Policy Summary & Statement Introduction & Context Islamic Relief's Policy on Climate Change Islamic Relief Canada's Response Islamic Relief Canada's Climate Change Related Programs Islamic Perspective Definitions Resources



Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change The stars, the sun and moon, and this earth in all the diversity, richness and vitality of its communities of living beings, reflect and manifest the boundless glory and mercy of their Creator. All by nature serve and glorify their Maker, all bow to their Lord’s will. We humans are created to serve the Lord of all beings, to work the greatest good we can for all the species, individuals, and generations of God’s creatures. We affirm:

Allah is the Lord and Sustainer (Rabb) of all beings Praise be to Allah, Lord and Sustainer of all beings. (Quran 1:1)

He is Allah - the Creator, Maker, the Giver of Form. (Quran 59:24)

Who has perfected every thing He has created. (Quran 32:7)

Nothing that He creates is without value And We did not create the heavens and earth and all that is between them in jest. We have not created them but in truth. (Quran 44:38-39)

All that is in the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah. Allah encompasses all things. (Quran 4:126)

He raised the heaven and established the balance so that you would not transgress the balance. (Quran 55:7-8)

The natural state (fitrah) of Allah’s creation So set your face firmly to the faith in pure devotion, the natural patten on which Allah made humankind. There shall be no changing Allah’s creation. That is the true Way, but most people do not know. (Quran 30:30)



We recognize, the corruption (fasad) that humans have caused on earth in our relentless pursuit of economic growth and consumption Corruption has appeared on land and sea by what people’s own hands have wrought, that He may let them taste some consequences of their deeds, so that they may turn back. (Quran 30:41)

Disruption of the global climate is a consequence of our corruption in the earth. We are but one of the multitude of living beings with whom we share the earth, and a minuscule part of the divine order, yet we have exceptional power, and bear the responsibility to establish good and avert evil in every way we can.

The creation of the heavens and earth is greater than the creation of humankind, but most people do not know. (Quran 40:57)

There is no animal on the earth, nor any bird that wings its flight, but is a community like you. (Quran 6:38)

We have no right to abuse the creation or impair it. Our faith commands us to treat all things with care and awe (taqwa) of their Creator, compassion (Rahman) and utmost good (ihsan).

We are accountable for all our actions Then whoever has done an atom’s weight of good, shall see it, and whoever has done an atom’s weight of evil, shall see it. (Quran 99:7-8)

Our call We call on all muslims, wherever they may be, to tackle the root causes of climate change, environmental degradation, and the loss of biodiversity, following the example of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who was, in the words of the Quran, “a mercy to all beings.” We bear in mind the words of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

The world is sweet and verdant, and verily Allah has made you stewards in it, and He sees how you acquit yourselves. (Muslim)



Policy Summary A. Climate change is the most important existential challenge of our time. B. Climate change is negatively affecting people’s lives: climate change and livelihoods are inextricably linked. Climate change is an ever-evolving issue. C. Developing countries with a concentration of poor and marginalized people are disproportionately affected by climate change, even though they are the least responsible for the problem. Climate change is therefore also a moral issue of social justice. D. We need to act immediately to avoid a complete catastrophe. Bold action is urgently needed. E. Climate change is a global issue in relation to its sources and where it impacts, so everyone must contribute to mitigating and adapting to climate change. F. Even though Islamic Relief’s programs increasingly address climate change, we still need to do much more. G. Islamic teachings provide guiding principles and values that can ensure environmental sustainability. They can be used to motivate individuals and mobilize communities to act. H. Islamic teachings are also rich in practical tools and methods that can be applied to achieve healthy environmental management.



Policy Statement 1. The impact of human activity in causing global warming is real and it poses an existential threat to life on Earth. Islamic Relief supports the Paris Accord to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. If we do not act now, we will lose the opportunity to do so by 2030. 2. Industrialised countries should urgently set about achieving zero emissions by 2040, with fossil fuels phased out and replaced with 100 percent renewable sources of energy. They must also support countries in the Global South to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. 3. Investment in sustainable, renewable sources of energy is needed, which will also contribute to reducing poverty. 4. Climate change adaptation, disaster risk-reduction, and resilience building are interlinked and essential elements of sustainable development planning and practice. 5. Limiting the rise in global temperature to an increase of no more than 1.5°C requires the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. Protecting and restoring degraded forests so they become carbon sinks is currently the only scientifically proven way to do this. Islamic Relief will promote the revival and wider adoption of Islamic approaches to conserving natural resources. 6. Islamic Relief collaborates with others and promotes enhanced cooperation amongst all stakeholders. Many organizations share our climate change concerns and solutions. 7. Islamic Relief is working to reduce our carbon footprint and achieve carbon neutrality in our operations around the world.



Introduction and Context This publication sets out Islamic Relief’s policy on tackling climate change. It emphasizes the need to consider our role in this urgent matter, and implement effective and sustainable methods of living not only on an individual but also on a collective and holistic level. The policy is based on the foundation of Islamic perspectives and scientific evidence described in the Islamic Relief Climate Change Policy of December 2017. It outlines policy messages for Islamic Relief programs, partners, community members, and any other external audiences. Coming together as a community to tackle climate change is vital for our survival and for Islamic Relief Canada to fulfil its mission of tackling poverty and aiding the most vulnerable. Human activity is triggering waves of irreversible change in the way our ecosystems function, which leads to spikes in the number of catastrophic weather-related emergencies globally. Reports state that 68 percent of all extreme weather events studied to date were made more likely or more severe because of human induced climate change1. The major cause of environmental degradation is unsustainable consumption and excessive extraction of raw materials and production of goods. This is driven by the notion that continuous economic growth is necessary for human prosperity

and overall well-being. As a result, there is an irrational push for ever-increasing consumption which results in the overuse of natural resources that are already scarce. The energy powering this largely comes from fossil fuels — which when added to industrial scale livestock farming and other human activity— results in greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere, disrupting important ecological cycles and causing climate change. Climate change is a threat to every living being on this planet, but it is the world’s poorest communities that, despite contributing the least to the problem, are most acutely affected by the destruction of our climate. In 2007, Islamic Relief identified climate change as undoing “the positive steps that some countries have taken towards development”. Since then, we have noted that before and after climate-related events, women and girls are more likely to be casualties due to their increased vulnerability. Cultural differences, unequal access to resources, power and processes of decision making, including responsibilities within the household, make women particularly vulnerable to climate catastrophes. Additionally, individuals with disabilities are also hit heavily by climate disruptions as they are especially vulnerable.

Extreme changes in the weather are already being felt right here in Canada. Across the nation, there has been an upsurge of intense wildfires, heatwaves, and shifts in snowfall patterns. Canada’s temperatures are increasing twice as fast as the rest of the world and if action is not taken urgently, extreme weather patterns are expected to intensify even more2. These impacts are a global phenomenon and should be on everyone’s radar. In just the past four years, record-breaking temperatures were recorded all over the world and unusual weather disasters have taken the lives of many3. The urgency for our communities and networks to collectively take action is increasingly pressing and requires us to change our ways immediately. We use the term ‘climate change’ throughout this publication, but recognize that we are witnessing something entirely unique in the earth’s history: climate breakdown. The action of humans is causing changes within decades, which once took millennia. To tackle this, we must question not only current environmental and economic policies, but also entire social and economic systems.

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Islamic Relief’s Policy on Climate Change This policy is inspired by Islamic teachings on justice and stewardship of the Earth, and informed by scientific consensus. We recognize climate change is one of the greatest issues humanity faces. It is a moral, social and environmental issue. As a matter of urgency, we will continue adaptation and risk-reduction interventions

to build the resilience of communities vulnerable to the effects of climate change. We will improve the understanding of staff and supporters of mitigation efforts and issues. We aim to cut our carbon footprint and help others to promote substantial and equitable reductions in greenhouse gases.

Policy Messages The scientific evidence is overwhelming. Global temperatures are increasing and human activity is the cause. The result is climate change. It causes food, water, and productive land shortages and increases poverty. It produces extreme droughts and floods that trigger forced displacement and heightens the risks of violent conflict. It also provokes the collapse of ice sheets leading to rises in sea levels, which then threaten coastal towns and cities. Climate change is responsible for a steady rise in avoidable deaths, especially among the world’s poorest.

We must limit global warming to 1.5°C The Paris Agreement sets 2°C as the upper limit for acceptable warming. We must go further. Limiting warming to 1.5°C will mean less extreme heat, rainfall, and drought. It will ensure a slower rate of sea-level rise with fewer people exposed and more time for adaptation, reduced loss of species, smaller reductions in yields of maize, rice, wheat and other crops. It will also expose 50 percent less of the global population to fresh water shortages.

+ We recognize climate change is one of the greatest issues humanity faces.



Urgent, universal and unprecedented action Mitigating climate change demands an urgent global response. To avoid a warming of more than 1.5°C, carbon dioxide emissions must decline substantially before 2030 and reach ‘net zero’ by 2050. The way we are currently functioning guarantees an increase in global temperatures on a much larger scale. Canadian annual temperatures are increasing at double the global rate while Northern Canada’s temperatures are increasing at three times the global rate. If we do not change our ways soon, Canadian temperatures are expected to increase by six degrees, with Northern Canada to experience a much more drastic rise4.

Change on an unprecedented scale is required immediately. System transitions, deep emissions cuts in all sectors, adoption of a new range of technologies, behavioural changes, increased investment in low carbon options and communitylevel changes in day-to-day activities are needed. We must start taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

Climate action in sustainable development & humanitarian relief The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ‘provide an established framework for assessing the links between global warming of 1.5°C or 2°C and development goals that include poverty eradication, reducing inequalities, and climate action’.

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There must be close links to the UN SDGs if we are to ensure that transitions ethically and fairly shield the poor and vulnerable. Climate change is contributing to conflict, disasters and other humanitarian crises. Rather than only responding once a disaster occurs, we must instead invest resources in disaster risk management, adaptation, building resilience, and addressing loss and damage to environments and livelihoods. Mitigating climate change by limiting warming to 1.5°C is the most effective way to use resources. Climate change is already affecting people, ecosystems and livelihoods all around the world. Sustainable development and poverty reduction can help combat global warming.

Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations

No poverty

Zero hunger

Good health and well-being

Quality education

Gender equality

Clean water and sanitation

Affordable and clean energy

Decent work and economic growth

Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Reduced inequalities

Sustainable cities and communities

Responsible consumption and production

Climate action

Life below water

Life on land

Peace, justice, and strong institutions

Partnerships for the goals

Each fraction of a degree matters.

Each year matters.

Each choice matters. CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY


Islamic Relief Canada’s Response Islamic teachings make it imperative for all Muslims to be good stewards of the earth. As an organization guided by Islamic teachings and values, we are committed to tackling climate change. Islamic Relief Canada is campaigning for stronger action, reducing its own carbon footprint and raising awareness of this key issue that impacts us all. Our Islamic Relief network operates in over 40 countries.

We cannot, however, tackle climate change on our own. We must urge those in power to start taking action now before it is too late. The change that you and I make on the local level carries weight and Islamic Relief Canada recognizes the power of change that every person holds regardless of age, gender, religion or culture. We call upon every individual to begin implementing changes and calling for action to tackle this crucial and urgent issue that we all face.

We often work in areas where other organisations are not present, and help some of the most vulnerable and hardest to reach communities on the planet.

All countries have a role to play, but industrialized countries should, for reasons of fairness, wealth and their huge carbon burden, lead in cutting

Poverty, resilience & adaptation Climate change is escalating poverty everywhere. It impacts agriculture and food security, increases natural disasters and causes migration and urbanisation — all of which challenge efforts to eradicate poverty and suffering. Climate change aggravates preexisting problems into becoming ‘threat multipliers’ by causing escalating cycles of humanitarian crisis, political instability, forced migration and various levels of conflict. Policies and specific interventions can reduce these impacts. The provision of opportunities with basic food and social security services can be ensured by concentrating on integrated actions to enhance resilience and adaptation. To do this, inclusive and climate-aware development policies that give poor people a voice are vital.



Government policies that reduce the vulnerability of poor people by addressing poverty and its causes in all its forms must be implemented urgently before climate change impact becomes much larger. Development and investment that may create future vulnerabilities as the climate changes need to be challenged. The international community must ensure that development is rapid, inclusive and climate-sensitive. To prevent this becoming an endless cycle, development must be achieved alongside emission reductions. Such reductions can be developmental in themselves by offering health and economic benefits, and poor countries should be supported in providing social protection and cash transfers.

emissions and provide support to others globally to reduce emissions and adapt to climate breakdown through transferring technology, capacity building and financial resources. Rapidly developing nations must also seek to reduce emissions, develop renewable energy, halt deforestation, and practice smart agriculture.

Climate change as a priority Climate change affects our whole way of life. It should be considered in all aspects of government, commerce, faith and international relations. The solutions to climate change’s negative effects are also the paths to a safer, healthier, cleaner and more prosperous future for all. To achieve this brighter future, citizens of all countries, at all levels of government, society and enterprise, need to understand and be involved urgently.

Tackling climate change will support Islamic Relief in achieving its mission to reduce poverty and suffering. To do so, we will continue to respond with relevant development, adaptation and risk reduction interventions to help communities cope with the short-term impacts of climate change. In parallel, we will advocate for pro-poor mitigation policies that limit long-term impacts, and help create the conditions for sustainable, equitable and global prosperity.

Climate change post-Covid One commentator summed up the impact and opportunities of the post-Covid world on climate change as follows:

“Post-Covid recovery plans provide a rare chance to boost the environmental transition. Various public measures could have a multiplier effect on the economy by providing jobs and income to economic victims of COVID-19, while accelerating the transition toward a greener economy. COVID-19 will have a profound effect on the current generation. It is also a chance to invest in future ones.” 5

5 Morin, Jean Frederic, “Covid and climate,” Open Canada (January 25th, 2021)



Islamic Relief’s Climate Change Related Programs Islamic Relief Canada supports numerous climate related projects globally, all implementing tailored and specific versions that fit with the sensitivities of the region. Most of Islamic Relief’s climate related programs are about adaptation — building the capacity of individuals and communities in order to reduce their vulnerability to the effects of climate change.



Case studies

Niger Community Gardens for Women Niger is a landlocked country in West Africa that relies heavily on agriculture as a source of employment and income for 80 percent of the population. It remains one of the poorest countries in the world and poverty has only worsened due to climate change. The limited access to safe water facilities makes communities even more vulnerable to the fluctuations of climate change along with the poverty and food insecurity it brings.

and animals, they help sustain community gardens where a co-operative of 200 women produce and sell quality food. The women have also been given the tools, machinery and training to benefit from the rainy season’s robust peanut harvests, which they use to produce oil, butter and cakes. The project will ensure they have a stable source of income throughout the year, as well as a strong network of support from other women in the co-op.

Islamic Relief has been working in Niger since 2005. The new water systems set up by Islamic Relief not only provide access to clean drinking water for both people

Thanks to donor support, the communities of Niger now have many tools to battle the effects of climate change.

Agriculture is a source of income and employment for about

80% of the population



Case studies

Pakistan Sustainable Action for Livelihood and Water Assistance The effects of climate change are very real in Pakistan’s westernmost province of Balochistan. The region is experiencing more droughts with increasing severity because of rising temperatures and decreased rainfall — all complicated by the El Nino winds. In the past few years Balochistan has seen a drastic drop in rainfall during the monsoon season. This makes it hard for communities to cultivate their land and look after their livestock. 1.8 million people in the region are affected and are seeking external sources of food. Islamic Relief’s Sustainable Action for Livelihood and Water Assistance



(SALWA) project aims to help residents of the region by helping them produce food locally to reduce migration and reliance on external food sources. The communities we work with are taught drought-aware agricultural knowledge that help them sustain and ration their resources. We also provide drought-resilient seeds, plants and irrigation techniques that help them survive in the harsh conditions they face. With our donor support, we have helped farmers in Balochistan learn the crucial skills necessary to survive the effects of climate change.

1.8 million people’s land and livestock is affected by climate change

Case studies

East Africa Adapting Farming to Climate Change This region is extremely vulnerable to climate-dependent factors like rainfall, fluctuating temperatures, and extreme weather events like tropical storms. Consecutive years of drought, famine, and tropical storms have devastated the livestock in countries across the region. The numbers give an indication of the extent of the problem: Somalia - 7.7 million in need of food assistance; Kenya - 3.4 million people food insecure; Ethiopia - 5.6 million in need of food assistance. The source of these vulnerabilities will remain until the issues surrounding climate change are addressed. So Islamic Relief Canada is working to provide these farmers with climate-aware solutions by

equipping them to combat the effects of climate change and building the resilience of communities. For instance in Kenya, our projects work at all levels, from increasing the capacity of smallholder farms, to educational awareness programs in schools, and by building irrigation systems to lessen the effects of drought. With donor support communities are using innovative climate-resistant methods to grow food. They are establishing solar water systems, and rehabilitating existing water sources that have helped empower them to be economically independent and protect their communities against hunger and drought.


7.7 million people in need of food assistance


3.4 million people who are food insecure


5.6 million people in need of food assistance



The Islamic Perspective

+ Allah is the Creator of all things and He is the Guardian over all things. (Quran 39:62)

Concern for the environment and the impact of human actions are deeply rooted in Islam’s worldview. Islam provides a guidance for humanity to live sustainably and justly on earth, and its teachings can stimulate individual consciences and mobilize communities to action. Some of the key concepts in the Qur’an relating to environmental concerns include the principles of unity (tawheed), the original state (fitra), the natural balance (mizan) and overall responsibility (khilafa). As extreme events such as heat waves, heavy rain and coastal flooding become more frequent, the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change — an initiative spearheaded by Islamic Relief alongside other international partners — predicts severe adverse effects on the global economy, biodiversity and the goods and services provided by ecosystems. It warns that the earth’s ‘core physical systems’ will abruptly and irreversibly change. The Islamic Declaration on Climate Change (2015) summarizes the global threat we are facing: • Ecosystems and human cultures are already at risk from climate change • Risks resulting from climate change caused by extreme events such as heatwaves, extreme precipitation and coastal flooding are on the rise. • These risks are unevenly distributed, but are generally rising in every country at all levels of development • Foreseeable impacts will adversely affect the earth’s biodiversity, the goods and services provided by our ecosystems, and our overall global economy • The earth’s core physical systems themselves are at risk of abrupt and irreversible changes.

Islam teaches that human wellbeing is not dependent on material wealth alone. Rather, that wellbeing needs to be holistic and requires moderation. A feeling of unity with all creation (tawheed) and the understanding that humans play an integral role in the natural patterns of life (fitra) is emphasized. It teaches that the world is created with a fine balance (mizan) and that humans have accepted the role as stewards (khalifa) of the earth and its resources in trust (amana) from Allah. It is our duty to understand the risks that climate change poses and to urgently respond to this global issue with change

“We are in danger of ending life as we know it on our planet” Islamic Declaration on Climate Change that begins at home, with you and us, as a community. This is a threat that no one is safe from. Regardless of faith, race, culture or gender we must all come together and combat climate change as a community. Islam teaches moderation and a feeling of unity with all creation and the innate disposition of humans as an integral part of a natural pattern. It also teaches that the world is created in a fine balance and that humanity has accepted the stewardship of the earth and its resources in trust from Allah.

+ So set yourself firmly towards your faith, as a pure natural believer. Allah’s natural pattern in which He originated mankind. There is no changing Allah’s creation. That is the true faith. But most people do not understand it. (Quran 30:30)

+ O children of Adam!.. eat and drink – but waste not by excess for Allah loves not the wasters. (Qur’an, 7:31) + It is He who appointed you khalifa on earth. (Quran 6:165)

Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, is reported to have said: “The world is beautiful and verdant, and verily God, be He exalted, has made you His stewards in it, and He sees how you acquit yourselves.” (Muslim)

“If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him.” (Bukhari)

“Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded,” (Musnad)



The Most Beneficent Has taught the Qur’an Created man. Taught him eloquent speech. The sun and the moon run on their fixed courses, calculated with measured out stages for each And the stars and the trees both prostrate. And the heaven He has raised high and has set up the Balance. In order that you may not transgress balance. And observe the weight with equity and do not make the balance deficient. And the earth He has put for the creatures. Therein are fruits, date-palms producing sheathed fruit And also corn, with its leaves and stalk for fodder, and sweet-scented plants. Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you deny? [Quran 55:1-13]



Definitions ADAPTATION


Actions taken to manage the unavoidable impacts of climate change. It’s what we do to alter our lives to deal with ongoing changes in the climate.

A naturally occurring gas, also a byproduct of burning fossil fuels from fossil carbon deposits, such as oil, gas, and coal, of burning biomass, of land use changes, and of industrial processes such as cement production. It is the principal greenhouse gas resulting from human activities.

BIODIVERSITY Biological diversity — or biodiversity — is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms: animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and other intertwined life forms within any ecosystem.

CAPACITY BUILDING The practice of enhancing the strengths and attributes of, and resources available to an individual, community, society or organization to respond to change.



DISASTER RISK REDUCTION (DRR) Anticipating risks from future disasters; reducing existing exposure, hazards, or vulnerability; and improving resilience.

ECOSYSTEM CLIMATE CHANGE Climate change — which due to the severity of recent weather events and huge meteorological shifts is often replaced with “climate breakdown” — is the process of our planet heating up. The Earth has warmed by an average of 1°C in the last century, and its temperature continues to rise. The implications for people and nature are profound. Global heating is caused by fuels like oil and coal, farming, and the destruction of forests. The changing climate makes our weather more extreme and unpredictable. As temperatures rise, some areas are getting wetter and others drier.

An ecosystem includes all of the living things — plants, animals and organisms — in a given area/habitat that interact with each other and with their non-living environments, including the weather, sun, soil, climate and atmosphere.

FOOD SECURITY Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.




Parts of the atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation in such a way that produces a greenhouse effect. Water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), and ozone (O3) are the primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The impacts and adverse effects of climate change that can no longer be avoided through adaptation or mitigation. Loss and damage can result from sudden-onset events such as cyclones as well as slowonset processes like rising sea levels. Loss and damage can occur in human systems such as livelihoods, as well as natural systems like biodiversity.

The capacity of a community to cope with a hazardous event or disturbance, and respond or reorganize in ways that maintain its essential function, identity, and structure, while also maintaining the capacity for adaptation, learning, and transformation.

LIVELIHOODS The capabilities, assets — both material and social resources — and activities required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with, and recover from, stress and shocks, as well as maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base.

VULNERABLE MITIGATION Efforts to cut or prevent the emission of greenhouse gases in order to limit future warming. Attempts to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere by actions such as planting trees.

Able to be easily physically, emotionally or mentally hurt, influenced, or attacked, but with a lack of capacity to cope and adapt.



Resources Understanding & Responding to Climate Change can be found at Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, 2015 3022579000&usg=AOvVaw1TjupW6hKjPgPzty0fqIRZ › environment-climate-change › news › 2019/04 › ca...Canada’s climate is warming twice as fast as global average ...







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