10 Spiritual Principles for Climate Repentance

Resources from the Wisdom of Religions

Principle 4:

The distinctive task of humanity is to nurture and serve this interdependent life-giving, and so to resist the temptation to exploitation, waste, and harm. Acting in the interest of human well-being cannot be something pursued in separation from working for the well-being of the whole created order. This finds two prominent expressions:
a. Commitment to not harm creation, and the responsibility to protect it.
b. Commitment to serve, advance, and aid in the growth and evolution of all parts of creation.


Buddhist rendition: Humans are trustees and stewards of creation, committed to serve, advance, and aid in the growth and evolution of all parts of creation, to cease needless waste, abuse and harm.


Source 1:

In the Mettā Sutta:

“May all beings be happy! May they live in safety and joy!”

“All living beings, whether weak or strong, the great or the mighty, medium, short or small, seen or unseen, near or distant, born or to be born, may they all be happy. Let no one deceive another or despise any being in any state, let none by anger or hatred wish harm to another. As a mother watches over her child, willing to risk her own life to protect her only child, so with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings, radiating kindness over the entire world.


Source 2:

In the “Beginning Anew with the Earth” Meditation:

We know that in the human consciousness are buried countless wholesome seeds of love and understanding, and of peace and joy. But because we have not known how to water them, they have not sprouted fresh and green. We have grown used to chasing a distant happiness, which causes us to exploit your resources. Our mind is constantly occupied by the past or travelling far into the future. We are caught in a cycle of craving. Unable to appreciate the precious things we have, we seek happiness in consumption. This has led to the devastation of the environment, which will last for a very long time, causing suffering for our children and their children. Now in the hall, fragrant with incense, we vow to change and begin anew. [BELL]



Source 1: St Francis Song of Creation: “All creatures of our God and King.”

All creatures of our God and King,
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
Ye clouds that sail in heav’n along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.

And all ye men of tender heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care!

Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!


Source 2: Laudato si 68

“This responsibility for God’s earth means that human beings, endowed with intelligence, must respect the laws of nature and the delicate equilibria existing between the creatures of this world, for “he commanded and they were created; and he established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds and he set a law which cannot pass away” (Ps 148:5b-6). The laws found in the Bible dwell on relationships, not only among individuals but also with other living beings. “You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen down by the way and withhold your help… If you chance to come upon a bird’s nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting upon the young or upon the eggs; you shall not take the mother with the young” (Dt 22:4, 6). Along these same lines, rest on the seventh day is meant not only for human beings, but also so “that your ox and your donkey may have rest” (Ex 23:12). Clearly, the Bible has no place for a tyrannical anthropocentrism unconcerned for other creatures.”




Source 1: Genesis 2,15 (and commentary)

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it (serve) and to guard it.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

The two Hebrew verbs used here are significant. The first– le’ovdah—literally means “to serve it.” The human being is thus both master and servant of nature. The second—leshomrah–means “to guard it.” This is the verb used in later biblical legislation to describe the responsibilities of a guardian of property that belongs to someone else. This guardian must exercise vigilance while protecting, and is personally liable for losses that occur through negligence. This is perhaps the best short definition of humanity’s responsibility for nature as the Bible conceives it.


Source 2: Kohelet Rabbah 7:13

When God created Adam. God led him around the Garden of Eden and said: “Look at My works! How beautiful and praiseworthy they are. Everything that I have created, I created for you. Take care not to damage and destroy My world, for if you destroy it, there is no one to repair it after you.”




Source 1: Quran Sura 7 v 69:

“Do you marvel that there has come unto you a Reminder from your Lord by means of a man among you, that He may warn you? Remember He made you viceroys after Noah’s folk, and gave you growth of stature? So remember the bounties of your Lord, so that you may be successful.”


Source 2: Quran Sura 17 vv 26-27:

“Give the kinsman his due, and the poor, the wayfarer, and squander not in wantonness.”


Religions of India

Source 1: Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 5, Verse 18

विद्याविनयसम्पन्ने ब्राह्मणे गवि हस्तिनि |
शुनि चैव श्वपाके च पण्डिता: समदर्शिन: || 18||

vidyā-vinaya-sampanne brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śhuni chaiva śhva-pāke cha paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśhinaḥ

The truly learned, with the eyes of divine knowledge, see with equal vision a Brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater.


Source 2: Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 5, Verse 25

लभन्ते ब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृषय: क्षीणकल्मषा: |
छिन्नद्वैधा यतात्मान: सर्वभूतहिते रता: || 25||

labhante brahma-nirvāṇam ṛiṣhayaḥ kṣhīṇa-kalmaṣhāḥ
chhinna-dvaidhā yatātmānaḥ sarva-bhūta-hite ratāḥ

Those holy persons, whose sins have been purged, whose doubts are annihilated, whose minds are disciplined, and who are devoted to the welfare of all beings, attain God and are liberated from material existence.


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