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Mar 16, 2009

Assalam aleikum (may peace be upon you) Brothers & Sisters in humanity,

May this message find you in the best of health and spirits.

Most film premieres are an exclusive affair. Yesterday's 'people’s premiere' for ‘The Age of Stupid’ was not. In fact, it will be recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest premiere in history (and all that using just 1% of greenhouse gases associated with ‘mainstream’ film premiere). The launch was supported by Stop Climate Chaos, a group of some 100 humanitarian aid, environmental and others. I attended the premiere in Birmingham, England (sat-links enabled simultaneous premieres in 65 cinemas around the country).

It was a scary movie with some of the known facts about climate change and about the certainty that man has a significant role to play in it (plus what ‘big oil’ etc are doing to try to keep us in the dark!), but what we need to remember, and that is why I am writing you this message, is that, especially as humanitarian aid workers, there are PEOPLE behind these facts and figures. In increasing numbers, it is the people we are trying to help and shouldn’t nor needn’t be in that situation (e.g. the Iraqi kids in Jordan featured in the film).

After the film there was a video message from Mohamed Naseef, President of the Republic of Maldives, who concluded that: “People often tell me caring for the environment is too difficult, too expensive or too much bother. I admit installing solar panels and wind turbines doesn't come cheap. But when I read those science reports from Copenhagen, I know there is only one choice. Going green might cost a lot but refusing to act now will cost us the Earth.” Remember the Maldives are just 1.5 metres above current sea levels.

And this morning when I came in to work I read about yet another two reports – one by the world's foremost international economic forum (the WEF, not some fluffy extremist greenies… ) and the other by 24 United Nations agencies – with stark warnings of how half the world's population will be affected by water shortages in just 20 years' time, with millions dying and increasing conflicts over dwindling resources.

So, we have a choice, listen to President Mohamed Naseef and all the UN reports prepared by thousands of scientists and then go back to ‘business-as-usual’ or, especially as Muslims (even those who find the science too complicated to understand), we can say ‘we have a duty of care’ (as reminded in the Quran in e.g. Al-Anam [6] , verse 165) and even if we don’t succeed, at least we can say to God on Day of Judgment, and to our (grand) kids before that: I’ve done my best…

Thank you for taking the time in reading the above. May God reward you for your efforts (easy start is save several tens of pounds per person per year by switching off all your electrics like computer & printer when leaving the office and switch off lights in unused rooms or when there is daylight available - save cash & planet).

My 2p. In peace,


PS: “Water use has been growing far faster than the number of people. During the 20th century the world population increased fourfold, but the amount of freshwater that it used increased nine times over.” - article in The Independent

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Posted: Mar 16, 2009 6:01am


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Rianne ten Veen
, 3
Solihull, United Kingdom
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