The climate crisis is the largest public health emergency in human history. Overconsumption, largely driven by the wealthiest nations, is responsible for shifting ecosystems and the warming of our planet. Species have gone extinct, food systems have been depleted, and sea levels have risen. Slow and rapid-onset extreme weather events such as droughts and floods have increased in frequency and severity. Clean air and water have become more scarce, and infectious and vector-borne diseases have increased. All of these effects from our changing climate have resulted in a massive loss of life and wealth that disproportionately impact the poor. Environmental degradation is the world’s top killer, taking more than 12 million lives annually, with 7 million people losing their lives to air pollution. In North America alone, climate-related events have lead to thousands of lives lost and hundreds of billions of dollars in damages on an annual basis.
As medical professionals inspired by our Islamic faith, we seek to address the threats faced by millions as a result of climate change. The U.S. healthcare system is the seventh largest producer of carbon dioxide on the planet, and we commit to taking active steps to course correct. In the Holy Qur’an, God appoints humans as stewards of the earth responsible for maintaining its balance.
“He has raised up the sky. He has set the balance so that you may not exceed in the balance: weigh with justice and do not fall short in the balance.”(55: 7-9)
In the 30th chapter, Al Rum, or The Romans, God provides an explicit warning reminiscent of environmental heedlessness, imbalance, and its associated costs:
“Corruption has flourished on land and sea as a result of people’s actions and He will make them taste the consequences of some of their own actions so that they may turn back.” (30:41)
For the majority of our fifty-three-year history, IMANA has provided direct medical service provision to those most in need around the globe. Having served nearly 3 million patients, and as experts of medical relief delivery in climate-induced disaster areas, we have seen the devastation of human-caused climate change first hand. Extreme weather and disasters catalyze violent conflict, and displaced over 17 million people in 2018. U.N. estimates project hundreds of millions of additional climate migrants and refugees by 2050. This is a global emergency, and we are treating it as such.
Tackling the climate crisis is an incredible global health opportunity given the significant health and economic co-benefits of low-carbon solutions. Consequently, Muslims from North America and around the world are demanding equitable and just climate policy solutions that reflect fundamental systems changes.
We have a moral imperative as Muslim public health professionals to take immediate action, and we are committed to dedicating significant resources toward averting the worst impacts of the ongoing climate crisis by:
- Educating our network about the negative public health impacts of our rapidly shifting climate through webinars, conferences, and social media campaigns.
- Joining other public health organizations and training Muslim medical professionals on how to effectively advocate for just and equitable policies in line with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recommendations of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C.
- Decreasing IMANA’s carbon footprint in both our domestic and international operations.
Click here to learn more about IMANA’s efforts to counter the climate crisis, and how YOU can get involved
Climate Commitments from Leading American Medical and Muslim Organizations: