21 July 2015: A ‘Call to Conscience for the Climate‘ was officially launched at the World Summit of Conscience. The Summit gathered people from many of the world’s religions and wisdoms to discuss fundamental moral questions related to climate change, such as why we should care, how one can show one cares, and how to inspire the world to care. The Summit also saw the launch of the “Why Do I Care?” campaign, which has so far garnered over 1,200 participants.
UN Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change Janos Pasztor delivered closing remarks on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, entreating the world to “embrace a fundamental change in consciousness and learn to live in better balance with other species and the planet that sustains us.” He said that, as Pope Francis’s encyclical has highlighted, climate change is a moral issue of the highest order. He invited communities of faith and conscience to continuing working together for “a more just, sustainable and livable world.” Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development and COP 21 President, also delivered closing remarks.
The thinkers, faith leaders, artists and cultural figures that crafted the Call to Conscience are delivering it to each Head of Delegation attending the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC. It asks the reader to carefully consider the question, “Why do I care?” and to consider the individual conscience as “a way to finding a real solution to climate change…by making [it] and the protection of our beautiful planet a personal issue of our own beliefs and values.”
The signatories of the Call express their hope that in answering this question, the negotiators will come to COP 21 “primarily as a conscious human being not just a representative of a Government or agency.” The Call cautions that, in today’s world, people rarely address what is at the heart of their actions, preferring to hide behind statistics, data and policy statements.
The Summit, which took place in Paris, France, on 21 July 2015, was jointly organized by Special Correspondent for the French President Nicolas Hulot, the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), Bayard Presse, the Regions of Climate Action network (R20), and the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (ESEC).