Multifaith Climate Vigils Worldwide on 7 December 2014
Global, Multi-Faith Campaign Grows as World Leaders Meet
As international leaders meet for major climate negotiations in Lima, Peru, religious and spiritual leaders internationally are holding candle and solar-lantern lit vigils, inviting people from diverse backgrounds to show their concern about climate change.
Building on the momentum from September’s People’s Climate March where they mobilized tens of thousands of participants, faith groups are holding vigils in thirteen countries on four continents to pray for progress towards an international climate agreement.
The global series of vigils was launched in Lima on November 30 with a “Green Candle” vigil organized by the Interfaith Council of Peru and #FastForTheClimate and attended by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres. A vigil in Sydney, Australia followed on December 2. Many vigils will take place on the eve of December 7.
“We want our leaders to hear the moral imperative for action,” said the Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of GreenFaith and coordinator of OurVoices.net, the international, multi-faith climate campaign organizing the vigils. “These vigils represent the voices of the human spirit, expressed through our religious and spiritual traditions and through many people’s personal convictions.
Senior leaders from major religious traditions have written prayers specifically for the vigils, with Imam Zaid Shakir (Muslim), His Holiness Radhanath Swami (Hindu), and Archbishops Desmond Tutu and Thabo Makgoba (Christian) each encouraging their followers to pray for world leaders to progress towards a climate deal.
“The vigils show love and concern for our children, vulnerable people and our precious planet,” said Gopal Patel, director of the Bhumi Project, an international Hindu environmental organization that is organizing vigils in India.
Fazlun Khalid, whose Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science is urging Muslims worldwide to recite a du’aa (prayer) on climate change during their December 7 evening prayers, added, “We want our leaders to know they have our support for a meaningful global agreement on climate change.”
Wide-Ranging, Iconic Sites
In addition to the countries previously noted, leaders from Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Christian communities, and people from a variety of spiritual backgrounds, are leading the vigils in countries including Nigeria, Italy, Germany, France, China, Cambodia, and Bangladesh.
Vigils are taking place at a range of iconic sites, including the White House, New York City’s Union Square, the British Prime Minister’s official residence at 10 Downing Street, the Sydney Opera House, Tokyo’s Hibiya Park, and Ottawa’s Parliament Hill. At a Jerusalem vigil, Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders will gather at the Jaffa Gate to pray for a climate agreement.
In a twist on the religious tradition of candle-lit vigils, many of the vigils in several major cities, including Washington DC, London, Jerusalem, Tokyo, and Sydney, are using solar lamps. For each lamp used in the vigils, two lamps will be delivered to African rural communities by SolarAid, enabling children to study and read after dark. The solar lamps will replace kerosene lanterns that fill poor households with noxious fumes, leading to thousands of deaths annually.
OurVoices.net’s organizers hope that an outpouring of concern from people of diverse faiths around the world can help political leaders reach agreement. “Many people turn to their faith or spirituality for hope in the face of challenge and suffering,” said Ciara Shannon, OurVoices.net Hong Kong-based Asia coordinator. “Our prayers, meditations and expressions of sincere concern can help our leaders find the courage to reach a strong climate treaty.”
Photos from vigils globally are available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/128721081@N04/sets/72157649591142205/.
This site will be updated with photos as we receive them. All images are free to use if the appropriate credit is used, which is in the description of each image.
US – Rev. Fletcher Harper; email@example.com; 201-390-0094
UK – Tessa Tennant; Tessa.firstname.lastname@example.org
Asia – Ciara Shannon: Ciara.email@example.com
Hindu – Gopal Patel; firstname.lastname@example.org
Muslim – Fazlun Khalid; email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 4, 2014
CONTACT: Rev. Fletcher Harper; firstname.lastname@example.org; 201-390-0094
In Cities Worldwide, Faith Groups Hold #LightForLIMA Climate Vigils