Greening of the Global Ummah: Contextualising Climate Change

by Helmy Sa'at

Hotter. Wetter. Costlier. And, uglier.

That is what we can expect from global warming. The science on climate change does not lie. It is not ‘fake news’ or ‘alternative facts’.

Since 2016 up till last year, we have experienced the hottest five-year period since 1850. We are warned to expect a higher frequency of extreme weather events compared to previous years. The sea level is projected to rise between two and three metres above current levels. Are you still not convinced?

Climate change is also a humanitarian issue whereby rising temperatures and extreme weather events continue to exacerbate poverty, hunger, displacement, armed conflicts and more. Globally, the most vulnerable people and communities are set to bear the brunt while the super rich continue to channel their money for space explorations with the possibility of relocating to another planet, in the not so distant future.

The (Ugly) Truth, Literally Hurts

The brutal truth is it affects everyone; however, not absolutely equal.

Global warming is projected to contribute to more than 200 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, every year with more being forced to flee for their lives and become climate refugees. In Somalia alone, for instance, a country plagued by conflicts, the number of internally displaced people, further exacerbated by climate change, has reached 2.9 million people!

This is no longer a hyperbolic narrative which invites histrionic responses from either end of the spectrum. We need to act. Now, and fast.

What do we do? Do we continue to be desensitised from such news? Going green is not just a cozy tagline to tackle climate change; what more can we, the global ummah, do to help deal with global warming?

Humanity’s Latest Pledge

Many of us would have heard of the recent meeting of world leaders under the banner of Cop26 (Conference for the Parties), which occurred from 31 October to 12 November 2021. An annual global summit of the 196 nations which form part of the United Nations climate treaty working to avoid climate catastrophe. But, how many of us could actually declare honestly our belief that change would be implemented and the planet is on the course to be saved?

In fact, how many of us actually rolled our eyes not out of lack of belief in global warming, but rather due to lack of faith in the seriousness and sincerity of our world leaders to really solve issues of global warming? Especially, when such latest iterations seem to continue to ring hollow even after all these years of devastation. Do we sit on our hands while our faith in collective effort is continually diminished, and stop paying attention?

Mental Shift: Our Environmental Duty, Period!

We do not tumble into an abyss of despair albeit we are frustrated with what is beyond our control. Instead, we are still in control of our immediate actions in our current environment.

إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ فِى سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ ٱسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى ٱلْعَرْشِ يُغْشِى ٱلَّيْلَ ٱلنَّهَارَ يَطْلُبُهُۥ حَثِيثًا وَٱلشَّمْس وَٱلْقَمَرَ وَٱلنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَٰتٍۭ بِأَمْرِهِۦٓ ۗ أَلَا لَهُ ٱلْخَلْقُ وَٱلْأَمْرُ ۗ تَبَارَكَ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

Surely, your Lord is Allah who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then He positioned himself on the Throne. He covers the day with the night that pursues it swiftly. (He created) the sun and the moon and the stars, subjugated to His command. Lo! To Him alone belong the creation and the command. Glorious is Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. 

[Surah Al-A’raf 7:54]

It is this simple: You and I are responsible for the Earth; as trustees and guardians of the planet, we are duty bound to care for it.

Start Small, And Keep At it

Take the time to appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature. Reflect on those moments. This helps to buttress your sense of gratitude for the many blessings bestowed upon us amid the chaos.

Never underestimate small steps. One immediate area we can look into and take the necessary steps to remedy is food waste. Practise mindfulness and be thoughtful in our approach. Food production alone is responsible for 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately one quarter of food is disposed of for a multitude of reasons, such as spillage. But, we tend to be complacent and forget that food production comes at an environmental cost — utilising land, water and energy.

Thus, in totality food wastage contributes to approximately 6% of total greenhouse gas emissions. To place it in a sobering context, this amount is around three times the global emissions from aviation, or simply being the world’s third largest emitter.

Just take a moment and digest these figures. More importantly, it shows that we are not only directly responsible for global warming on a daily basis through such simple acts as food consumption and wastage, but we are also able to turn the table if we put our hearts and minds into it.

The list to being an environmentally conscious Muslim is infinite. Google it and you would not be disappointed, or limited to your current resources. This is where cultivating awareness and educating ourselves and those around us is key to an even stronger collective effort impacting the Earth.

In addition to prayers, we, the global ummah, need to take concrete steps to help alleviate the dire situation. There is no time left to postpone or procrastinate.

Share this article with your family and friends. And, do not forget to share in the Comments section below, what you have been doing, or planning to embark on to help tackle and minimise the consequences of climate change.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Fatherhood: Their Unspoken Presence

Fatherhood: Their Unspoken Presence

Fathers are largely deemed as the anchor of the family. Typically, society at large compounded by images perpetuated in the mainstream media have painted fatherhood as a tough role and position to occupy. In modern and contemporary societies the world over, they are...

read more
(Un)Masking Our True Selves And Intentions

(Un)Masking Our True Selves And Intentions

We have come to accept masking as an ubiquitous part of life since the turbulent waves of Covid-19 crashed dramatically into our lives more than two years ago. Generally, the global Muslim community has come to implement it as part of our daily jihad in the fight...

read more

13 Comments

  1. Rahman

    Intuitive and engaging article. I have been separating all the plastics for recycling. Let’s create green awareness.

    Reply
  2. Akbar

    Well researched. Have been trained not to waste food since I was young. It’s vital to highlight climate change in this Era and to reiterate readers on the effect of our ignorance. JazakAllah Khair.

    Reply
    • Helmy Sa'at

      Salam Akbar,
      We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. Do not forget to share this article with your family and friends.

      Reply
    • Sis Qadria

      I consciously make sure to turn off electronics when not using it finish listening/ using. I also make the effort to turn off water as soon as finished and not leave it running unnecessarily; I have been for over 3 years saving all vegetable and veggie scraps and putting them in my compost pile even though I live in an apartment I keep it on my terrace in a deep pot and feed my 29 plants! I save -usually-my chicken bones and use it for stock and shred paper as much as possible seeking places that either shred or recycle paper. All things we all should do to help our collective home

      Reply
  3. Humda

    Enjoyed reading this article ! I have been using a flask to drink water instead of using plastic water bottles!

    Reply
    • Helmy Sa'at

      Salam Humda,
      We are glad you enjoyed reading this article. What other kind of content would you like to see more on our website? Your suggestions are greatly appreciated and we hope to create better content for our community.

      Reply
  4. Amina

    This is very informative and inspiring. I don’t do nearly enough to combat global warming but I teach my kids to not waste food and water and to never throw trash out on the ground. While letting them know that Allah gave us one body and one world so must do our best to take care of it.

    Reply
    • Helmy Sa'at

      Salam Amina,
      We are glad that you found the article informative and inspiring. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

      Reply
  5. Stephen Drake

    When we look at the polar caps of the planet from satellite we can see the devastation that is being caused by global warming.with the melting of the caps the oceans rise and swallow up our shores causing people to flee areas where we once thrived. Everyone must make sacrifices no matter how small

    Reply
  6. Fatimah

    Subhaanallah!
    These days, you can’t really tell what season we’re in due to the weather changes by the drop of a hat!
    We’ve been recycling for years now

    Reply
  7. Edoomu W Mowlood

    It’s important to raise society ‘s awareness of Islam’s teachings about the importance of protecting the environment

    Reply
    • Helmy Sa'at

      Salam Edoomu,
      We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. Do not forget to share this article with your family and friends.

      Reply
  8. Khaled

    I had solar panels installed at my home. I use this solar energy to charge my EV car, home heating, home cooling with mini split AC and all other needed home electricity. I participate in all forms of recycling and don’t use plastic bags for shopping. Rather I use my own fabric bag.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.