The Fifth Directive: Commitment to a Culture of Sustainability and Care for the Environment

Towards a Global Ethic: Initial Declaration, also known as the Global Ethic, expresses a shared set of core values found in the teachings of the world’s religious, spiritual, and ethical traditions. The Global Ethic, mostly drafted by Professor Hans Küng in consultation with several hundred leaders and scholars, became an official declaration of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1993. For the first time in history, representatives of all the world’s religions agreed that there are common ethical commitments foundational to each of their traditions:

• Human beings should be treated humanely
• The Golden Rule of reciprocity
• A commitment to peace and justice

These commitments can be affirmed by all persons with ethical convictions, whether they are people of faith or not. While this ethic provides no direct solution for all the problems of the world, it does supply the moral foundation for a better individual and global order.

Since it was ratified, the Global Ethic has given rise to several organizations. These include the Global Ethic Foundation, the Institute for Global Ethics, and the United Religions Initiative. Themes advanced in the Global Ethic have inspired documents such as the Earth Charter, the Charter of Compassion, a Charter of Forgiveness, A Common Word Between Us and You, and campaigns have also been launched to promote the Golden Rule.

As the Global Ethic moves into its twenty-fifth year, the Parliament of the World’s Religions calls for people all over the world to signal their support by signing it.

At the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions hosted in Toronto, Canada in November of last year, the Parliament announced the official addition of a fifth directive to the foundational document “Towards a Global Ethic (An Initial Declaration)”. Watch a video commemorating the Global Ethic’s 5th Directive.

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