Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner spoke at a rally following the London Climate March on Sunday 29 November. The march, backed by more than 60 faith-based and secular organisations, took place on the eve of the Paris climate change summit and called on the UK government to invest in renewable energy, green infrastructure and new clean jobs. Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Dr Ruth Valerio (Churches and Theology Director, Arocha UK) and Shanza Ali (Director of Muslim Climate Action) write here on the importance of religious communities uniting to combat climate change. “If left unaddressed it will destroy the incredible gift we’ve all been given, Christian, Muslim, Jew, people of faith and none. Our earth is being ruined from overuse and abuse”.
We have collectively mourned, contemplated, and also as people of faith, prayed as the most recent events of terror have hit Paris, Beirut, Baghdad and Bamako amongst other places.
Now we are experiencing the consequences emerging from these atrocities, one of which is the cancellation of the long-planned Paris Climate March, anticipated to attract over 200,000 people on Sunday, who were to unite against the global threat of climate change.
But Paris was not the only city with plans to march; in fact over 2,200 events are scheduled to take place around the world and all those events will go ahead. The focus has shifted to London, and the march on Sunday in this great world city is now expected to be the largest of the events taking place around the world.
In this context, our unity is more important than ever. We are already experiencing the way that some have sought to exploit these recent atrocities to pit person against person, nation against nation, secular against religious, and faith against faith. To show we will not be divided, we will stand, speak and march together in London this Sunday.
In each of our great faiths, every person, every relationship, every life, is precious, and a gift that we treasure. We understand our faith to mean that we should prize our relationships with one-another and with the earth, that we should shoulder the responsibility that comes with the stewardship of this planet, and that that we should we do so arm in arm with one another.
We also recognise that these values are also shared by most of human kind; that those who value our environment appreciate that climate change understands no religions, boundaries, or borders. Salvation from this crisis must ultimately come from cooperation and collaboration.
Right now, we are on the verge of a series of events being set in train that would take us down an irreversible path. If left unaddressed will destroy the incredible gift we’ve all been given, Christian, Muslim, Jew, people of faith and none. Our earth is being ruined from overuse and abuse.
Climate change is not just something that will one day affect our children and future generations; it is affecting millions of people around the world today. And it is disproportionately harming the most vulnerable, the poorest, those who have done the least to cause it. It’s our duty living in the richer world to restore the hope and dignity of those already suffering from droughts, typhoons and floods.
Around the world we see efforts to protect our planet. But change needs to happen faster, on a global scale and with people at its centre. As religious people, we know the power of working together as faiths united. We know how our faith can give us hope and strength, and a unique ability to galvanise humanity.
Let us not be remembered for our mistakes and silence. Let us be remembered as the generation that stood firm for peace, and stood firm for climate justice, and that brought us back from the brink of no return.
So let us say this: At times like these when both human lives and the earth itself are in jeopardy, it is vital that we are united, not divided; That this effort to tackle climate change will be progressed on the foundations of hope and peace.
Our unity in London on November 29th is one way of showing this. We marched together on Sunday and will keep on marching together for as long as it takes, to protect this world that belongs to us all.