'Religion a catalyst for sustainable development'

New Delhi, Feb 7
Describing faith as a "catalyst", religious leaders Saturday said it could inspire people to change their perspective on environment and prioritize sustainable development.

"The greatest catalyst for change in thought and behaviour is our faith... the drive toward sustainable development and mitigating climate change needs to be not only top-down, it also needs to be bottom-up," Divine Shakti Foundation president Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati said at the valedictory session of the 15th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS), organised by The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) here.

"It needs to be a movement catalyzed by change in thought and change in behaviour by the people. We need information, inspiration and implementation," he added.

Invoking the Indian tradition of "Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam" (the world is one family), Global Interfaith WASH Alliance co-founder Swami Chidanand Saraswati said: "One of the major behaviour changes that we can make to encourage and inspire sustainable development is to change our vision of the world from a bazaar to a 'parivar (family)'."

"With that spirit of a family we must all work towards and attend to the needs of our future generations," he added, urging people to act for a planet that is "devastated by massive deforestation, unsustainable, unplanned development, polluted air and rivers, and toxic fruits and vegetables".

"...There can be a plan A, plan B but there cannot be a planet B and therefore we all have to come together, to work together to be and do the change."

Over the past 14 years, the DSDS has been serving as an annual platform to discuss issues of sustainability and relevant policy interventions to ensure a sustainable future.

Themed as "Sustainable Development Goals and Dealing with Climate Change", the 15th edition of the summit brought together former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, TERI director general and chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change R.K. Pachuri as well as other dignitaries and environment enthusiasts from across the world.

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