On the sidelines of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, top UN officials, religious leaders and environmental experts underlined the role of faith communities in tackling climate change, a phenomenon that threatens to annihilate humanity. The assembly opened on 11 March against the dark shadow of the Ethiopian Airline plane crash. The plane crashed soon after take-off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 persons on board, including Rev. Norman Tendis, a World Council of Churches (WCC) consultant. He was traveling to Nairobi to participate in an event at the assembly titled “Faith for Earth Dialogue.”
5 July 2018: The Vatican launched an international conference on ecology, marking the third anniversary of Pope Francis’s Encyclical ‘Laudato Sì.’ Political and religious leaders, scientists, economists and civil society organizations (CSOs) discussed ways to increase awareness among the general public on the gravity of the environmental crisis that the world is facing.
“The problems of the destruction of the natural environment are increasingly grave and the consequences on the lives of people are dramatic,” Pope Francis said in a video released November 30, 2017.
The video message was sent to participants in the International Symposium “Laudato si’. Care for the common home, a necessary conversion to human ecology”, organized by the Catholic University of Costa Rica with the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation. The conference runs November 29-December 1, 2017, in San José, Costa Rica.
The United Nations is conducting a Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, under the presidency of Fiji. Pope Francis has renewed his call to action in a message he sent Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of the Fiji Islands, President of the 23rd Session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-23), taking place in Bonn from November 6-17, 2017. The message was read during the November 16 session.
Organized as part of World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, the World Council of Churches (WCC) invited faith-based organizations, congregations and individuals to their 30 August public event entitled “Water and Faith: Building partnerships to achieve the SDGs”. The event, an open session, was organized by the WCC in collaboration with Church of Sweden, Global Water Partnership, Stockholm International Water Institute, and Swedish Institute Alexandria.
Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople have made a joint appeal on the occasion of the Day of Prayer for the Protection of Creation observed in September 1, 2017. Their appeal is to have the courage to embrace “greater simplicity and solidarity in our lives” to overcome the generalized “moral decay” of humanity, which deteriorates Creation by manipulation, domination, greed and control.
Following the 2nd Anniversary of his historic environmental encyclical, Pope Francis endorsed the Laudato Si’ Pledge campaign, which was also supported by many other Church leaders. Through the Pledge, the Global Catholic Climate Movement aims to mobilize at least 1 million Catholics to become directly engaged in turning Laudato Si into action to care for the planet.
Religious and indigenous leaders appealed on Monday for better protection of tropical forests from the Amazon to the Congo basin, with a Vatican bishop likening current losses to a collective suicide by humanity. The Interfaith Rainforest Initiative was launched in Oslo on 19 June 2017, followed by a two-day roundtable to develop the initiative’s concrete goals, action plans and milestones. This process is expected to lead to a global interfaith rainforest summit to be convened in Brazil in the second half of 2018.
Norway will host an Unprecedented Meeting of World Faith Leaders to engage Global Deforestation on Monday, June 19, at the Nobel Peace Center, Oslo, Norway. Norway will host leaders from world’s spiritual and religious traditions, engaging faith communities to protect rainforests. Leaders from Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan, Daois and, Jewish leaders will join with both indigenous forest guardians and leaders from International Interfaith Organisations to express moral commitment, explore faith-based mobilization to end deforestation.