On Monday, April 18, 2016, faith leaders convened at the Church Center for the UN to present the Interfaith Climate Change Statement with over 250 high level signatories, including The Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hahn and UUA President Peter Morales. In addition, over 5,500 individuals have signed on to the statement.
Cindy Davidson, a GreenFaith fellow and member of UU Ministry for Earth Board and First Parish in Lexington (MA), was at the ceremony and reflected:
“Each UN official who spoke expressed appreciation to the worldwide interfaith community and gave, in turn, his own “charge” to the interfaith community: “Continue your strong advocacy. Nothing should be taken for granted.,” said one. “The faith community plays a critical role to change behaviors that contribute to climate change,” said another. Mogens Lykketoft, the President of the UN General Assembly, said he is “confident that we can and will succeed. In order to succeed, we need the faith community’s strong and sustained engagement.” Nobody minced words with the enormity of the challenge.”
The Interfaith Climate Change Statement to World Leaders (2016) outlines the positive judgement of the adopted Paris Agreement by religious leaders and faith communities and urges for prompt signature and ratification of the Agreement by governments so that it can come into force as soon as possible. It also insists that there is a significant increase in the current levels of ambition relating to emission reductions, financial flows, adaptation, loss and damage and a swift phase out of fossil fuel subsidies – so as to keep temperatures within reach of 1.5C.
The Statement also serves to renew the strong commitment of the faith community to remain active in defining the moral responsibility to care for the Earth and encourages it own communities to reduce emissions and to divest and reinvest in renewables.
In addition to global and national goals, the Interfaith Statement speaks to our goals for our own communities.
– Encourage faith communities to reduce emissions in their homes, workplaces and centers of worship and to support and stand in solidarity with communities already impacted by climate change; and
– Call for fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment in renewables and low carbon solutions, including within our own communities, and/or by engaging companies on climate change.