The global faith community was active and influential in the recent Conference of Parties 26 in Glasgow, Scotland. Faith representatives from the U.S., including those from Interfaith Power & Light, were on hand to witness, advocate, and learn from our brothers and sisters around the world most affected by a changing climate.
The faith community took its lead from those countries that, despite being the least responsible for climate, are being affected disproportionately by it. The demand to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 Celsius, was a common meme. Simon Kofe, the Foreign Minister of Tuvalu delivered his address from the South Pacific sea – a dramatic image that signified the damage from sea level rise. Rev. Cindy Crane, Director of the Lutheran Public Policy in Wisconsin, wrote about Loss and Damage, a huge talking point for vulnerable countries.
And issues such ending fossil fuel subsidies were a topic of discussion. Steve Trent, founder and CEO of Environmental Justice Foundation wrote in his article, “Continuing subsidies for planet-destroying industries locks us into the economic models we need to leave behind, stranding assets and finance which could otherwise be used to start a surge of sustainable green jobs.”
Rev. Vy Nguyen, IPL Board Member and Executive Director for Week of Compassion, stated in a blog his desire for the U.S. to move from assistance to systemic change: “From Bosnia and Herzegovina to Puerto Rico, we help families to thrive through renewable technologies. From Honduras to Indonesia to Liberia and Sierra Leone, we support food security through sustainable agriculture. In these places, and in so many others, we work with partners to help empower farmers, families, and entire communities to thrive, despite mounting challenges to their livelihood and survival. Support for these programs goes a long way towards changing lives and creating a better future for all. But such interventions are not enough. The urgency of this moment, and the call for far-reaching systemic change, cannot be denied.”