‘Our Voices’ launch brings faiths together to take united action and care for creation

17 September 2014

Episcopal priest Revd Fletcher Harper, director of GreenFaith, hosted the launch of Our Voices, a global interfaith campaign for a strong climate treaty to be agreed when government leaders meet in Paris next year.

The first of the Our Voices global launches saw representatives from faiths including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Shintoism, come together to celebrate their united belief in humanity’s responsibility for creation and environmental care.

World leaders will gather in Paris next year for the UNFCCC’s Conference of Parties (COP), aiming for a global agreement to tackle climate change.  The Anglican Alliance is supporting the Our Voices campaign as the Church worldwide seeks to support those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.  The Church is often with those on the frontlines of climate injustice, and is among the first to respond to crises caused by climate change.

On Tuesday 23rd September 2014, the United Nation’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is convening 122 heads of government at a Climate Summit.  This will continue the collaborative discussion amongst governments on climate change action, and build momentum towards the UNFCCC meeting in Paris next year.

Climate Week is therefore running from 15th – 21st September 2014 in New York, to engage civil society in the build up to the UN Climate Summit and encourage them to take action.  Speaking ahead of key Climate Week events at the Our Voices launch, Rabbi Steve Gutow said:

“This is going to be a week that changes history.  It’s going to be done because of a passionate belief that we each have: that God will have it no other way.   If we let it go, we are deeply implicated, we are culpable, we are to blame.”

International civil society has been working together since the beginning of the year to mobilise global citizens to take part and have their voices heard on climate change.  The People’s Climate March, on Sunday 21st September, is set to gather more than 100,000 people in New York alone.  Global satellite events are also taking place in cities in every region, making a clear statement to world governments that action on climate change needs to happen and it needs to happen now.  Speaking at the Our Voices launch, Rabbi Larry Troster said, “We are using our bodies as our acts of prayer and witness.  The march is the message.”

Christina Manning, Learning and Communications Manager for the Anglican Alliance, in New York for the Climate Week events, said, “The energy in the room was tangible.  Almost everyone remarked on the significance of this movement, this moment, on climate change. This is being called a turning point in history, and it certainly feels like one.  Now is our time for action, not words.  Now is our time to see transformative change in how we steward God’s resource and take better care of our world.”

As well as united action on climate change, significantly underpinning the event was the powerful harmony of faiths coming together with a single goal.  Many attendees commented on the beauty of seeing different traditions and beliefs come together, celebrate each other’s faith, and talk together openly about action to protect the environment that has been entrusted to us.   

Revd Fletcher Harper opened the event saying, “Faith communities of the world need to come together and make it unmistakably clear that there is a moral imperative to reach a strong climate treaty within the next 18 months.  The time for us to come together is now. “

He continued, “We are one of the biggest four voices on the planet.  Now is our chance to show that.  We are asking tens of millions people of faith to sign an online call to action – to demonstrate in numbers that no politician can fail to be shocked by – that there is overwhelming support for a strong climate treaty.” 

You can sign the ‘Our Voices’ campaign at http://ourvoices.net/

The Anglican Alliance is also supporting churches in Australia and the Pacific as they call on the Australian government to put climate change on the G20’s agenda when they meet in November this year.  Please add your voice to the call and support Pacific Islanders at https://anglicanalliance.org/Advocacy/oceans-of-justice

More ways that you can be involved in this week’s climate events and other faith-based action on climate change are given at https://anglicanalliance.org/news/19610/ 

In the picture: Prayer at an interfaith service to open the event.