You will remember RfPUK sent out petition invitation to ask people in the UK to sign petition “Faiths for Earth” headed by the Archbishop Desmond Tutu in late September. UK signatures were sent to David Cameron, Prime Minister of UK and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN.
1,780,528 million faith-based signatures have been collected globally, urging political leaders to take decisive action to curb global warming and help poor countries to adapt to climate changes.
On the eve of the UN Climate Summit in Paris, Religions for Peace (RfP) joined approximately 400 religious leaders, COP 21 delegates and climate campaigners from across the globe in delivering the petitions collected through the RfP Faiths for Earth Campaign.
The petition was presented to UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Ms. Christiana Figueres and Special Envoy of the French President for the Protection of the Planet, Mr. Nicolas Hulot on Friday, November 28 at the ‘Faith in Climate Justice’ event. The event was organized by four international faith-based networks working together for a common cause: RfP, ACT Now for Climate Justice, Our Voices, and the Global Catholic Climate Movement.
Several key individuals spoke at the event: from the Philippines, former COP negotiator Mr. Yeb Sano; from Brazil, Cardinal Claudio Hummes; from South Africa, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town the Rt. Rev. Thabo Makgoba; from the US, Rev. Kyoichi Sugino of RfP International; from Kenya, Mr. Mithika Mwenda, Coordinator of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance; and from Bangladesh, Ms. Lotifa Begum of Islamic Relief Worldwide.
Dr. William Vendley, Secretary General, RfP International said: “Meeting the challenge of climate change will help transform us into who we are called to be: one human family living in community with the earth and the Divine.”
“Climate change is an ethical crisis that needs each and every one of us to take urgent moral action,” said Dr. Din Syamsuddin, Chair, Centre for Dialogue and Cooperation among Civilisation (CDDC) and Co-President of RfP at an official side event on the first day of COP 21. He then outlined the concrete actions taken by the RfP Faiths for Earth Campaign, particularly the one that he is leading in Indonesia, Siaga Bhuni (Earth Alert) that is educating people on climate change issues, promoting eco-friendly houses of worship and a clean, pollution free environment.
More than 50 youth leaders representing diverse religious traditions from 35 countries also joined the delivery event. Prior to joining, these RfP youth leaders held a three-day summit on the theme: Welcoming the Other: Multi-religious Youth Respond to the Challenges of Violent Religious Extremism, Refugee Crisis and Climate Change. Joining the youth leaders were representatives of the United Nations and intergovernmental institutions, and experts and practitioners from civil society organizations. The Summit participants condemned the violence committed in the name of religion and rejected any attempt to fuel distrust and cycles of discrimination and violence to polarize and divide our communities. The youth leaders committed to further strengthen their effort to advance Peace. A two-year action plan was developed and a strong multi-religious statement was issued defining their future actions and their firm commitment to ensure its implementation.