In September 2014, 700,000 people took to the streets to demand climate action from government leaders during the People's Climate March. The astounding number of participants included UN officials, politicians, labor unions and faith leaders, uniting under a single banner of climate action. Their message was simple: we must take immediate action on a massive scale to stop the impact of climate change from having a catastrophic outcome. The realization that this was no longer a 'green' issue, but an everyone issue catapulted the call for climate action to the forefront of global concern. Soon after, we witnessed Europe's commitment to a 40% reduction of carbon emissions by 2030, and China joined America in reducing carbon emissions.
With COP21 Paris just around the corner, faith leaders are once again gearing up for what is expected to be an even greater turnout. On November 29th, 2015, we will march for climate action, calling on leaders to adopt drastic changes that will halt the long-term impact of climate change. How is your faith community contributing to the efforts?
Ricken Patel | The Guardian
Creating a world powered on clean energy to save ourselves from climate catastrophe is a central challenge of our time, and requires a revolutionary transition in our economies. We can’t wait for our leaders to solve this problem; unless they feel serious public pressure, they’ll never go far enough or fast enough. Revolutions start with people, not politicians.
To survive the 21st century, we must discover the sense of common purpose that has driven revolutionary change through history, building a mass movement to stretch what our politicians believe is possible. We must lead, not follow, and bring leaders with us.
In the years leading up to 2014, as the gap between what the science demanded and our politicians delivered widened, fatalism began to creep into parts of the climate movement. Then a handful of organisers took a major bet on the power of people – calling for the largest climate change mobilisation in history to kick-start political momentum.
And wow, did it work. The People’s Climate March in September last year was, without any doubt, a game-changer. Nearly 700,000 of us took to the streets, by far the largest climate mobilisation ever. The marches were hopeful, positive, inclusive. Amazingly, around the world, not a single person was arrested. Thousands of organisations, from environmental activists to faith groups to labour unions, came together, showing that climate change is no longer a ‘green’ issue, it’s an everyone issue now.
The impact on politicians was palpable. Dozens of top cabinet ministers actually joined the march, as well as UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon. As the roar of the crowd washed over them, I saw the realisation on their faces that they were witnessing history. At the UN summit the next day, leader after leader cited the marches and their intention to be more ambitious.