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By Hamza Kyeyune
Religious leaders from twelve districts from across Uganda have joined the “Greening Friday” campaign to fight climate change in the country. Greening Friday is a concept developed by hajjat Aphwa Ssebyala in 2010 aimed at re-greening the environment through religion. It is held every year on the second Friday of the holy month of Ramadhan
Attending the 2013 Greening Friday training seminar at Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) headquarters in Kampala, Imams and district religious leaders from districts: Yumbe, Soronko, Bugisu, Iganga, Mukono, Kampala, Rakai, Lwengo, Ibanda, Nakasongola, Bududa and West Buganda welcomed the move to mitigate climate change in their areas through planting trees and educating residents about sustainable use of the environment. One hundred, ten thousand trees have so far been planted through the greening Friday campaign, five hundred thousand trees are expected to be planted in seven years.
Speaking to participants, Hajjat Aphwa Ssebyala, the coordinator of Greening Fridays said that, the initiative had greatly helped to solidify a nascent environmentalism in the Muslim community and is, subject to availability of funding set to cover the entire country within a 7year period.
Religion influences how we individually and collectively view our role with regards to protecting the environment. What people do about their environment depends on what they think about themselves, thus, people need to be constantly reminded about their unique responsibility to use nature to their benefit, in a way that provides less disruption of the environment, “said hajjat Ssebyala”. The training which was part of a series of events to mark 2013 greening Fridays was supported by Alliance of religions and Conservation (ARC) a UK based Charity.
In his remarks, the Mufti of Uganda, His Eminence sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubaje said that people are permitted by God to use the environment for survival, but it must not be ruined for the descendants! It should not be abused, misused, or distorted because each generation is entitled to benefit from the environment, that is a religious obligation.
He said that abandonment of spiritual values, and the adoption of consumerist values, is threatening the earth's eco-systems to the point where the future survival of the human race is uncertain. Diminishing food supply, loss of bio-diversity and catastrophic climate change are huge concerns about our future, he added.
Our love for the creator and respect for his creation requires us as Muslims to recognize that human-induced climate change is a serious religious issue requiring action now, with the right spiritual guidance, every one of us should be able to live in harmony with each other and we urgently need to develop new models of living in balance with the environment.
As individuals, the choices that we make can make a difference to the kind of world we inhabit in the future, the mufti said. He tasked the Imam and district religious leaders in attendance to hold environmental meetings at their mosques, and have radio talk shows that link religion to environmental protection.
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