Event Reports

Environmental Values Emerging from Cultures and Religions of the ASEAN Region

In collaboration with the Graduate School of Philosophy & Religion Assumption University, Bangkok, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation organized once again an international conference on environmental issues and climate change on religious, historical and cultural perspectives.

Under the banner of "Environmental Values emerging from Cultures & Religions of the ASEAN region" therefore possible climate and energy policy strategies for the region were devised on the background of specific values of the ASEAN countries. For this purpose, six scientists from Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines were invited to point out new perspectives and approaches.

Michael Winzer, representative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in Thailand opened the event together with the President of the Assumption University, Rev. Bro. Dr. Bancha Saenghiran and the Dean of the Graduate School of Philosophy & Religion, Prof. Dr. Warayuth Sriwarakuel. They all emphasized the importance of climate change today and in the future. Michael Winzer described the German “Energiewende” and the high potential of a conscious use of natural resources and sustainable energy policy. Prof. Dr. Warayuth referred to various religious, philosophical and scientific approaches to the subject.

In the subsequent lectures various perspectives on different religious and cultural backgrounds from the ASEAN region were discussed. These ranged from linguistic theories on the relationship between humans and the environment to spiritual approaches from Buddhism. It was also emphasized that the values of all major world religions inevitably lead to greater environmental awareness. However, it must also come to an understanding between the different faiths in order to solve the problems together. Although, pollution and climate change are global issues, this approach could lead to rethinking, especially in the local areas of Southeast Asia, where religion plays a great role in everyday life. This also demonstrates the political dimension of the event. A discussion on values can provide the framework for a political debate.

With more than 100 participants, the event got more than expected response. This shows the high interest in issues of climate change and environmental protection that nowadays exists in Thailand as well. The lively discussions also clarified, that the subject and the individual presentations provided new and important food for thought.

Contact Person

Georg Gafron