The Hajj: An environmental perspective
November 9th, 2011
10:45 AM ET

Holy cities face threat from polluting pilgrims

By George Webster, CNN

(CNN) - An estimated 2.5 million pilgrims have descended on the city of Mecca for the Islamic Hajj, said to be the largest annual gathering of people in the world.

Every fit and able Muslim is obliged by their faith to make the journey at least once in their lifetime. But with the rising threat of climate change, there are now calls for both pilgrims and authorities in Mecca to reduce the environmental damage wrought by this yearly influx of travelers.

"Everyone arrives at the same time, at exactly the same place, and every year there are more and more people," said Dr Husna Ahmed, principal author of "The Green Guide for Hajj," a booklet promoting ecologically-sustainable practices among Hajj pilgrims, released earlier this week.

Read the full story on the environmental impact of the Hajj.
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Environment • Islam

August 19th, 2011
01:43 PM ET

Does God support mountaintop removal mining?

Editor's note: Soledad O'Brien's documentary, "Battle for Blair Mountain: Working in America" airs at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, August 20.

Art Kirkendoll, a former West Virginia county commissioner, says that God clearly supports mountaintop removal mining, which is vigorously opposed by environmentalists. Check out the clip.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Content Partner • Environment • God

'The God Upgrade:' Q&A with Colorado's 'Adventure Rabbi'
"Adventure Rabbi" Jamie Korngold's latest expedition is a quest to find a new concept of God.
May 11th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

'The God Upgrade:' Q&A with Colorado's 'Adventure Rabbi'

By Jim Spellman, CNN

Boulder, Colorado (CNN) - Jamie Korngold calls herself “The Adventure Rabbi.” Based in Boulder Colorado, she can often be found leading her popular “Shabbat on Skis” program or observing Passover while camping in the expansive rock formations of Moab, Utah. She says she hopes to build a “cutting edge model of synagogue life appropriate for 21st century Judaism.”

In her new book, “The God Upgrade,” she argues that our understanding of the world has advanced but our concept of God has not - and it is time for that to change. She sat down for a conversation with CNN to explain why.

CNN: In your book you write about “Reclaiming the word God and redefining it.” Many people will say there is nothing wrong with their God.

Korngold: If you have a clear faith and belief in what God is and that works for you, this book is not for you. I don’t want to mess with those people's faith. I envy their faith. I used to have that faith.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Books • Environment • Judaism • Leaders

April 25th, 2011
03:39 PM ET

Hindus volunteer to clean up religious offerings from Jamaica Bay area

By Rachel Garrett and Nina Golgowski, CNN

New York (CNN) - Volunteers toiled for hours recently cleaning mostly man-made debris from a New York coastline, the scattered religious offerings from a growing Hindu population in Queens.

The group has drawn concern among local conservationists after leaving offerings - clothing, statues, plastic flowers and other items - along the Gateway National Recreation Area near Jamaica Bay.

"I was appalled to see the condition of the place," said New Yorker Nagassar Ramgarib, a practicing Hindu. "It was really disgustingly filthy."

Many defend the practice, considered a sacred Hindu tradition. Millions of worshippers leave offerings to the gods at India's Ganges river each year.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Environment • Hinduism • New York • United States

Praying for rain in Texas
Crews battle a wildfire threatning a home in Strawn, Texas, earlier this week.
April 22nd, 2011
04:39 PM ET

Praying for rain in Texas

By Emily Smith and Josh Rubin, CNN

Austin, Texas (CNN) - Texas’ water problems seem to have reached almost biblical proportions with a record drought, statewide wildfires and shrinking aquifers plaguing the Lone Star State.

On Monday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked for federal aid in containing the raging fires that have already claimed two lives. On Thursday, Perry turned to an even higher power by declaring the upcoming holiday weekend “Days of Prayer for Rain.”


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Environment • Politics • Prayer • Texas

December 6th, 2010
02:01 PM ET

TIME: Has Environmentalism Lost Its Spiritual Core?

Environmentalism began as a religion.

Certainly that's how paleo-greens like John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, would have seen it. Muir was awakened to nature when he first explored Yosemite in the 1860s, and he felt it in a religious way — he called what would become one of the nation's first national parks "the grandest of all special temples of Nature."

Muir's biographer, Donald Worster, has written that Muir saw his mission as "saving the American soul from total surrender to materialism." David Brower, a spiritual successor to Muir who would found Friends of the Earth, would say of his staunchest green allies that they had "the religion." Environmentalism — rooted in nature and the outdoors — was an antidote to secular, technological modern life.

Read the full story on Time.com

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Culture & Science • Environment

Author wants to rebrand Muslims from terrorists to environmentalists
November 16th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

Author wants to rebrand Muslims from terrorists to environmentalists

Editor's Note: CNN's Maria Ebrahimji filed this Q&A.

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is a second generation American Muslim, radio personality and a policy advisor in New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.

In his new book, Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet, he challenges Muslims and non-Muslims to be stewards of the earth. He hopes the book will help rebrand  Muslims from terrorists to environmentalists.

Here's an edited transcript of our conversation:

What does Green Deen mean?

Green has become the catch-all word for being environmentally friendly. Deen in Arabic means religion but can also be translated to path or way. So a green deen is literally an environmentally friendly religion.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Books • Environment • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Mosque

October 19th, 2010
10:16 AM ET

Opinion: Saving souls and the planet go together

Editor's note: His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians, is 270th successor of St. Andrew the apostle who founded the 2,000-year-old church of Constantinople. His work for environmental protection has earned him the title "Green Patriarch." He was named by Time magazine as one of the world's most influential people and has been honored with the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. The author of "Encountering the Mystery" and "In the World, Yet Not of the World," he is being honored October 19 by the interfaith organization The Temple of Understanding.

By Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Special to CNN

Last October, the Ecumenical Patriarchate convened an international, interdisciplinary and interfaith symposium in New Orleans on the Mississippi River, the eighth in a series of high-level conferences exploring the impact of our lifestyle and consumption on our planet's major bodies of water.

Similar symposia have met in the Aegean and Black Seas, in the Adriatic and Baltic Seas, along the Danube and Amazon Rivers, and on the Arctic.

At first glance, it may appear strange for a religious institution concerned with "sacred" values to be so profoundly involved in "worldly" issues. After all, what does preserving the planet have to do with saving the soul?

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Coptic • Environment • Greek Orthodox Church • Opinion

September 17th, 2010
01:15 PM ET

How faith shapes politics - or doesn't

A national survey released today shows that while many Americans say faith drives their stances on social and political issues, there's little consistency on how and when it does.

Opinions on hot-button matters like abortion and same-sex marriage are more often influenced primarily by religion than are issues such as immigration, the environment and poverty, according to the Pew Research Center survey, "Impact of Religion on Political Views.”

Of the more than 3,000 adults surveyed over a two-week period this summer, 35 percent said religion mattered most for them on the issue of same-sex marriage. Of just those who oppose such marriages, 60 percent named religion as their top influence. On abortion, 26 percent named religion, with 45 percent of opponents weighing in this way.

Forty-four percent of those surveyed said their clergy speaks about same-sex matters, and 59 percent said they hear from clergy about abortion.


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Abortion • Belief • Environment • Gay marriage • Homosexuality • Politics • United States

July 16th, 2010
09:53 AM ET

Change of prayers in the Gulf

For the past 60 years, each Sunday from Mother's Day to Labor Day, Foley United Methodist Church has met for a beach service at the state park in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

This year the service has been interrupted by the oil disaster.

Clean-up efforts forced the congregation from the sandy beach up to a concrete pavilion, "partly due to the relief workers basically taking away our beach. We’re glad they are, but that is the situation," said the Rev. Lance Moore, who has pastored the congregation for six years.


- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Culture & Science • Environment • Prayer

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.