Groene Moslims - Margreet
Margreet van Es first heard about Groene Moslims (Green Muslims) when a colleague at Utrecht University asked her to join a forest walk organised by the foundation. The inclusive atmosphere and the hands-on approach to sustainability appealed to her, and she decided to stay involved. Now, she has been in the board of the organisation for over a year, together with two other young Muslim women. The foundation aims to raise awareness about issues such as sustainability, nature conservation, and climate change from an Islamic perspective. To achieve this, it offers all sorts of activities, varying from documentary screenings to excursions in nature.
The fact that for Margreet, everything started with a simple forest walk is not a coincidence. The walks are organised every month, but always in different places to make sure that people from different parts of the country will feel welcome to join. That seems to be working: every month, new people join the walk along with the people that go every month. The group is growing, and varied: students, parents with children, older people. Together, they discuss sustainability, or simply enjoy being outside. The walks have a clear spiritual component. According to Margreet, participants often say that they feel a strong admiration for God’s Creation during the walk. As a result, many of them feel naturally encouraged to take better care of nature. As Margreet says: “we know that we didn’t create this planet ourselves, and we cannot order a new one from a store”.
Groene Moslims sends out a newsletter every month, through which the foundation keeps people up to date on scientific and political developments around climate change. They are also currently developing a teaching module for Islamic primary schools in the Netherlands. The idea is to make children aware of why it is important to take good care of our planet from an Islamic point of view, and how they can make a positive change. “We want to translate the bigger story about climate change into small, practical things that children can do at home.”
This combination of raising awareness, spirituality, and low-threshold activities is typical for Groene Moslims. As Margreet says, “we believe that the Qur’an urges us to live a sustainable lifestyle. For many of us, reducing our carbon footprint is a natural part of Islam”.