In the Name of Allah
Life is a great and unique blessing bestowed upon humans who are the sublime making of God and the hallmark of God’s creation. God has summoned humans thus uplifting them from the individual level to an elevated personality and dignity and this call has been the summon of” life”. As the Holy Quran says:” O those who have believed, when God and the Prophet invite you to that which gives you life, then accept their invitation.”(Anfal 24) It is clear that life in this context occupies a greater and higher expanse than only this worldly life. Even though life in this world is also very precious and the life of each person is as valuable as the life of all humanity. As the Holy Quran states “ the killing of a person for reasons other than legal retaliation or for stopping corruption in the land is as great a sin as murdering all of mankind.” (Maede 32).
This exclusive and matchless blessing of life is constantly threatened and its protection based on mores and reason is a prescribed and universal responsibility . In our age the terms “ecosystem and environment” have found a unique place in terms of the attention humans pay and the worth that they attach to life and the threats that are exclusive to our times.
Hunger , disease , war, discrimination and deprivation are the afflictions of a large part of the human society and the anxiety has ensued in part, as a result of ignorance- which has diminished throughout history and thus its dire consequences. Also in part, these afflictions are due to the oppression ruling upon human societies while humans though out history have fought oppression and despite the setbacks they have faced, they have never relinquished the quest and effort for attaining freedom and justice for all.
Today hunger and disease and unsuccessful efforts to meet the essential needs of societies has afflicted many societies also oppression, discrimination and deprivation of humans from their basic rights both in the internal scene of countries and in the international scene are the greatest enemies of humanity. The modern world is plagued by consumerism and the insatiable quest of the powers, who are equipped with technology , power and pride. They have begun a race for technology as the base for material development and growth among nations, but this has led to new forms of pollution and environmental degradation and has taken the human race and earth to the verge of destruction.
The degradation of natural resources , pressures on our life spaces and even pollutants in the air which seems to be nature’s complimentary gift to humans , has taken us to a dangerous situation.
Fortunately, we are facing an unprecedented consensus in today world on the importance of protection of the environment and the need for sustainability and healthy environments. Even though this theoretical consensus has not translated into action and has not deterred many of the past and current trends of environmental destruction .
In addition, it is necessary to note that if humans are more sublime than nature and human life is not limited to this material world, then in addition to the concerns that we have for this world and this life, we also need to be concerned about the spiritual life of humans. Therefore, followers of divine religions particularly Islam, in addition to the emphasis laid upon protection of the environment ,have also stressed upon the need to protect the spiritual life and environment as well. Undoubtedly, the prevalence of deceit, accusations, and insecurity as well as the growing gaps between people and their governments and the increasing mistrust against governments and their incompetence in running the affairs of their societies , are all reasons for increasing social ailments and are currently polluting our social environments in the vast sense of the word.
Here we are gathered to commemorate a dear person whose most prominent feature was his concern for human life and efforts to improve and safeguard the environment and cure the damages inflicted upon it. He strived to improve both the material and spiritual environment of our age. Dear Dr Taghi Ebtekar is no longer among us but his memories persist. Here I must take note of the capabilities and efforts of his only successor Dr. Massoumeh Ebtekar, who both during her productive tenure at the Department of the Environment and after that has endeavored with passion and knowledge to find ways for the betterment of life for people and has rightfully attained the title of : Champion of the Earth” from the international community.
Seyyed Mohammad Khatami
Tehran, March ,7,2012.