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Jewish Studies professor to sign Uppsala Manifesto at Interfaith Summit on Climate Change


November 21, 2008
ASU Professor Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, director of the Jewish Studies program, will be one of 30 representatives of different major faith traditions discussing the world’s climate issues at the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change in Uppsala, Sweden. Hosted by the Church of Sweden, the summit will act as an example of how the humanities and religion can make a difference with urgent worldwide contemporary issues. The summit will take place Nov. 28-29 and is open to the public.

“Today it is widely acknowledged that world religions have an important role to play in revisioning a sustainable future, because religions are the repositories of values and norms that guide human actions toward the natural world,” says Tirosh-Samuelson. “Through cosmological narratives, symbols, rituals, ethical directives, and institutional structures, religions shape (albeit not exclusively) how we act toward the environment.  

“Hence, all attempts to transform our environmental attitudes so as to generate a sustainable world must include understanding of world religions and cooperation with religious people,” she says.

At the summit, representatives will sign the Uppsala Manifesto which will create a new framework for discussion about climate change after the Kyoto agreement expires in 2012.

The manifesto will communicate an urgent and ethical-religious message to the global community to slow down global warming by developing technologies that make efficient use of resources for heating, operating vehicles and industrial processes. It also calls for developing climate conscious lifestyles among large populations that use comparatively high levels of material consumption.

“My involvement in this endeavor is important for ASU as it showcases the global outreach of the university and its involvement in urgent big questions,” says Tirosh-Samuelson. “My participation illustrates how individual scholars at ASU can make a difference in the world outside of academe and the degree to which theoretical ideas and practical concerns are inherently intertwined.”

The manifesto will be made public after Nov. 29 and will be presented for ratification by the European Union.

More information at www.svenskakyrkan.se/klimat.