READ: Why This Muslim Woman Marched, And Fights For, Climate Justice

By Yessenia Funes May 01, 2017

Nana Firman is the co-founder of the Global Muslim Climate Network. The issue of climate change—and climate justice—is personal for her.

She writes, in a CNN op-ed published April 28, that she’s seen what climate change can do firsthand: First, in 2007, in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, when there was severe flooding that killed at least 40 people and displaced up to 450,000. And again, in 2014, when Firman moved to California and the governor declared a state of emergency because of drought.

Climate change has become one of the issues Firma, who is also the Muslim outreach coordinator for GreenFaith, an environmental coalition made up of people from different faiths, is dedicated. She writes:

I am not alone. Muslims—and indeed the majority of Americans outside the White House—are united on the urgency of the issue of climate change. In August 2015, I witnessed over 80 global Muslim leaders from over 20 countries release the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change in Istanbul, urging world governments to phase out fossil fuels and make a transition to renewable energy to tackle climate change.

In December of that year, by signing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, almost 200 governments set a path to do just that. The Global Muslim Climate Network, of which I am chair, is also doing its part to encourage more Muslims to focus on solutions and take concrete actions, such as running their local mosques on solar energy.

Her faith drives her to feel responsible for the land, as there is an element of stewardship in Muslim teachings. But there is also the reality that Muslim-majority countries will be some of the most heavily hit by climate change, including the nations of Somalia, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This could be in the form of severe heatwaves, droughts, floods or dwindling freshwater resources. 

This past weekend, Firman walked alongside thousands of others at the People’s Climate March to demand that the administration take steps to protect the planet and its people. Being there reminded her of this Quran quote, she writes: “We have created you into different nations and tribes so that you may come to know one another.”