Journalist from around the world gathered to witness the historic event of COP20 in Lima this past fall. Their reaction to the proceeding was largely pessimistic, claiming that the political mechanisms in place were too esoteric and antiquated for true action to be made. It's been a few months, however, and perhaps these claims require further reflection. While the political happenings may have been muddled, faith leaders offered a clear voice on climate solution.
As Latin American Advocacy reports, the event was a momentous gathering of global faith leaders determined to restore the conversation of climate change to its moral genesis (pun intended). Hostetter writes, "Faith communities can play a significant role in spreading awareness of the impact and consequence of climate change through their ability to educate on a large scale and with their biblical responsibility of good stewardship and culture of creation care."
If you missed the Lima proceedings, this doesn't mean you aren't still able to join the conversation. Blessed Tomorrow offers materials that assist faith leaders from all backgrounds make a positive change in their immediate communities, and the time has never been more imperative for faith leaders to make a commitment to climate action. Hostetter claims that, "The Church has the ability and the history to empower smaller voices and to lend its own voice to climate justice"; A point validated by the countless number of faith leaders making a repeated decision to act for God's creation. But the commitment is more than simply signing a piece of paper. It means waking up every day and looking for new and inovative ways to communicate on climate change to your respective community.
With COP21 Paris just around the corner, we must remain steadfast in our return to a moral discussion of climate change.
By Elizabeth Hostetter for Latin America Advocacy
During the second week of December we, the authors, had the opportunity to attend the UN Conference of the Parts (COP) 20 People’s Summit in Lima, Peru. As part of a delegation from one of MCC’s friend organizations in Bolivia, Uniendo Manos por la Vida, part of the Joining Hands Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA), we participated in a variety of presentations, discussion groups, and demonstrations. The UMAVIDA Network is an organization of NGOs addressing environmental issues ranging from climate change to industrial contamination to food security.
Throughout the activities within the People’s Summit, several important questions were proposed and discussed at length. One of these questions was: “How can faith communities draw from their ethical underpinnings to address our dependence on fossil fuels and their hidden price tag of emissions, accelerating global warming?” During the Summit, many spaces sought to address this question, from workshops such as “Perspectives from the South” to an interreligious vigil, to a meeting with Bill Somplatsky-Jarman, PCUSA Coordinator of Social Witness Ministries and Director of Mission Responsibility Through Investment. All were looking elsewhere for the response that political institutions fail to give to the climate crisis.