Earthna’s Ruba Hinnawi talks about responsibilities and faith as templates for sustainable lifestyles

It would be fair to say that nearly all religions, cultures and traditions around the world have been deeply rooted in nature, drawing their inspiration and knowledge from it. The connection between human society and the natural world has been a sacred relationship for centuries.

But with our present urban lives expanding endlessly, we have become consumerists – taking more than we can give back. And now is the time to reconnect with nature, adopt sustainable daily behaviour, and honour our cultural and religious values.

This concept of linking sustainability with faith and ethics will be a focus in one of the sessions at the upcoming Earthna Summit on 8-9 March at Msheireb Downtown Doha, where religious leaders, climate change experts and policymakers will come together to propose solutions.

Earthna Technical Lead Ruba Hinnawi said that climate change has been mainly addressed through solutions based on science, technology and innovation.

However, there is a very important discourse which is based on ethics and beliefs which will lead communities to live a more responsible life that aligns with their values and religious teachings.

According to United Nations statistics, there is approximately 80% to 85% of people worldwide practice a religion, faith or belief. As believers, these people share many ecological values such as respect, responsibility, justice, and empathy that they follow in their daily lives, and these values are based on respect, responsibility, and a relationship with nature.

Stewards of communities

In Islam, says Hinnawi, the role of humans is distinctly mentioned as the Khalifah, or steward and thereby appointing Muslims with the responsibility to care for all communities and natural resources. Looking at God’s creation, through the lens of trusteeship – Amanah encourages responsible behaviour.

At the summit, faith-based organisations and leaders will convey the importance of sustainable personal behaviour as a religious duty for prosperous communities.

Hannawi said that the Muslim world has the potential to lead positive change by first abiding by Islamic beliefs and values in all aspects of life, and by reviving faith-based development modules such as Himah for environment protection and Waqf for a circular economy.

Muslims were successful to introduce financial Islamic modules as well as halal supply chains to the world, and therefore we can be successful to introduce ethically sustainable development approaches as well.

She also adds that at present, families live in isolation from nature due to changes in lifestyles that are attached to technology and urban life, but there should be an effort to reconnect with nature for the health and well-being of individuals and nature.

She said it is crucial to teach children that caring for nature is a trust placed by God in our hands, and that nature and living creatures have the same rights as humans – thereby enhancing their awareness of unity with nature and harmony with it. She added that it all starts with realising that Islam commands human beings to respect all life forms and communities.

Climate change

Climate change also does not align with the values of justice that the Islamic religion and all faiths urge societies to achieve. According to Hinnawi, when we abuse the environment, we oppress poor societies that are less prepared to face the effects of climate change.

She said that poor and undeveloped societies are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change as they suffer the most from heat waves, air pollution, and lack of access to clean water and food resources.

So, if you want to achieve justice among human beings, you must adopt sustainable behaviour and sustainable development to mitigate the effect of climate change.

All sessions at the Earthna Summit are open to the public. You can register here to join these sessions.

The Summit is also hosting the Earthna Village at the Barahat Msheireb. The village is open to the public and will showcase an exhibition of indigenous, sustainable practices that span cultural, environmental and social sustainability. Additionally, the exhibition’s agora section will host practitioners to hold short, interactive discussions with the audience about the exhibition.

For more details, visit You can also check out our calendar for additional information. 

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