Adrian Shaw attended this event on behalf of the Church of Scotland and has written the following report. A fuller report (PDF file) can be downloaded here.
A video of the March produced by Adrian can be viewed here.
Climate Week, New York, September 2014
Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York hosted a conference ‘Religions for the Earth’ in September 2014. The conference explored the role of faith traditions in caring for the earth. All faith traditions teach reverence for the earth and the conference gave space to seek guidance from those teachings and from each other.
The conference was organised to coincide with the UN Climate Change Summit organised by Ban Ki Moon and representatives from the UN, IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and former vice president Al Gore all took part in the conference and interfaith service.
It was also New York climate week and the People’s Climate March on Sunday 21 September 2014 which turned out to be massive; the biggest demonstration of public support for a global deal on climate change ever. Over 300,000 noisy protestors brought midtown Manhattan to a standstill. You can watch a video of the march here……
The conference was remarkable in bringing together diverse perspectives such as first nation peoples of America and black womanist theology to make a powerful message: there will not be peace as long as we wage war on the earth. Vandana Shiva from India, Rabbi Ellen Bernstein from the USA and Fazlun Khalid from the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences in England all brought different faith perspectives to the need for action. Rajendra Pauchauri, the chairman of the IPCC called upon people of faith to intervene to help bring about a spiritual transformation.
An interfaith statement was agreed: Climate Faith and Hope; faith traditions together for a common future. You can read it here.
This statement calls upon all faith groups to work together to urge governments to agree a climate treaty at the Paris climate conference in 2015.
An interfaith service at the cathedral of St John the Divine concluded the event; with contributors including Al Gore and Jan Eliason, Deputy Secretary General at the United Nations. You can watch the service here.
The conference, service and climate march generated a tremendous sense of belief that change must come. Neither the US Government nor the UN have yet been able to show decisive leadership on climate change but faith groups at the conference were determined to bring maximum pressure on both to bring about a climate change agreement at the UN climate change conference in Paris in 2015. The Church of Scotland and Eco-congregation Scotland are committed to working to respond to the challenge of climate change. Seeking a good outcome from the Paris conference must now become a priority for us as well.