Ummah for Earth is a global, alliance-led project coordinated by Greenpeace MENA (Middle East/North Africa) that seeks to engage with Muslim diaspora communities on climate justice. At Greenpeace Canada, we have partnered with EnviroMuslims, a Canadian organization, to create a fellowship program and support their important work. In this article, Saba Khan, Co-Founder of EnviroMuslims, explains how sustainability is a part of Islam and the group’s faith-based climate action.

Faith groups are often left out of important conversations around climate policy and community engagement initiatives related to environmental issues. But know this: our diverse perspectives can help make an impact, because we are driven by something Divine (literally): our relationship with our Creator.

This statement rings true for many religions, including Islam. Caring for and protecting the natural environment is our duty, and one that should not be taken lightly. In Islam, the term “Khaleafa” refers to being caretakers of the Earth. In the Quran and Prophetic teachings, we learn the importance of caring for animals, not being wasteful, and that we will be held accountable for any harm we intentionally inflict on the Earth. A Prophetic saying even states, “If the Final Hour [the Day of Judgment] comes while you have a shoot of a plant in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it.”

There is a clear call to action for faith groups when it comes to taking climate action. And yet, there continues to be a lack of diversity within the environmental movement, which results in missed opportunities to engage with communities that have these unique and valuable perspectives. 

EnviroMuslims works to change that. 

EnviroMuslims and the Canadian Muslim Community

Created at the end of 2019, EnviroMuslims aims to engage with, educate, and empower Canadian Muslims to embed environmental sustainability in their everyday lives—where they live, work, play, or pray. We organize several community events, including tree plantings, shoreline cleanups, and clothing swaps. We have also launched a number of initiatives, such as the Greening Canadian Mosques (GCM) program.     

In 2021, our group launched GCM in collaboration with Faith & the Common Good, an interfaith charity. The first program of its kind in Canada, GCM provides mosques nationwide with online tools and resources to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, educate their congregations on the importance of environmental stewardship, and access funding and materials to support their sustainability journey. The ongoing success of the program led to the creation of EnviroMuslims Bootcamp. A series of action-oriented sessions, the Bootcamp is dedicated to learning, networking, and supporting Canadian Muslim organizations working to embed a culture of environmental sustainability in their programming. 

With these kinds of programs and initiatives, our group provides spaces and opportunities for Muslims (nationwide) to become more involved in environmental stewardship initiatives, pursue careers in sustainability, and hold governments and other institutions accountable for climate action.

Cross-Collaboration for a Sustainable Future

EnviroMuslims has been fortunate to have found support from allies across the world, including Greenpeace Canada and Greenpeace MENA (Middle East and North Africa). Greenpeace is supporting our organization’s current programming—both the Bootcamp and the mosque project—through a fellowship program. The partnership has provided EnviroMuslims with opportunities to engage on a larger scale with the Muslim community in Canada. We have been able to participate in large events, travel to different provinces to meet with Muslim leaders, and provided support to mosques and Muslim organizations working to improve their sustainability. In other words, the fellowship has opened doors and created opportunities for us that we would not otherwise have access to. 

And that’s the crux of the matter. Cross-collaboration can promote diverse perspectives and produce innovative solutions. So, as we champion Muslim voices in the environmental movement, we are also advocating for all faith groups, as well as other equity-seeking groups, to be given the platforms, tools, and resources to continue their work and engage their communities. Because this work is also an essential part of building a more just, peaceful, and equitable future.

Are you interested in learning more about EnviroMuslims? Looking for more information about the Bootcamp and other initiatives? Check out their website or Instagram pages!