Like most sectors of society, the health sector is made up of a diverse group of individuals from many walks of life. From doctors and nurses to mental health workers and physician assistants, all of these individuals come to their professions with their own story. This is why it's essential that we, as health professionals, make sure to reflect who we are in our work. Our personal stories are compelling and offer ways to connect with humanity. Just as a cross-section of society would reveal a variety of religions, so does the health sector. Whether we are Jews, Muslims, Christians or atheists, we are distinctly human and, if we plan well, can work cooperatively toward common goals.
On September 24-25, 2015, Blessed Tomorrow, the sector of ecoAmerica focusing on the faith audience, together with partners Convergence, Washington National Cathedral, Auburn Seminary, Faith in Public Life, and Interfaith Power and Light DC, brought together Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other national leaders to an extraordinary event called Coming Together in Faith on Climate. Together, they amplified Pope Francis’ call for climate action for a more just and sustainable world.
Speakers and participants included:
- Rev. Gary Hall
- Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III
- Rev. Brian McLaren
- Rabbi Steve Gutow
- Imam Mohamed Magid
- Rev. John C. Dorhauer
- Rev. Sharon Watkins
- Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe
- Sister Simone Campbell
- Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool
- Rev. Suzii Paynter
- Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
- Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
- Rev. Amy Butler
- Kara Ball
- Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
- Rev. Dr. Joel Hunter
- Rabbi Jonah Pesner
- Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson
- Joelle Novey
- Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe
- Rachel Lamb
- Rev. Jim Wallis
- Shantha Alonso
- Melissa Rogers
- Bob Perkowitz
- Rev. Stephanie Johnson
- Rev. Dr. Jim Antal
These faith leaders, from across the country, helped Americans, many for the first time, hear why climate change is a moral issue that requires action because of its impact on the poor, our neighbors, and the least of these.
Leaders stood before the pulpit and spoke with conviction and commitment, often speaking directly to other leaders, encouraging them to join the climate efforts. In a world often filled with religious turmoil, it was heartening to listen to Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders all come together around this very important cause, so much so, that we decided to put together a short edited video of some of the most poignant of the talks.
The hope is that these videos will inspire you, providing spiritual sustenance as we continue our journey together. Please remember to share these videos with your audience so that we may grow our outreach and continue to empower all leaders to act for the climate.
As 2016 unfolds, its important that we continue to grow this message if we hope to fulfill the promise of Paris. Faith leadership will continue to be a vital part of this for, as Pope Francis said, the world, “…must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.”
The moral message on climate change expounded during the Coming Together in Faith on Climate dialogue, reflects a larger conversation among global faith leaders. 2015 saw a groundbreaking number of those faith leaders announce formal declarations on climate change, propelling the faith and climate discussion forward.
Speaking as a unified voice with other faith leaders such as Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si, along with his historic addresses to the United Nations and U.S. Congress, solidified the climate as a critical issue. Here are a few of 2015’s climate declarations from faith leaders around the world, that shared in this concern for our common home.
- Catholic Bishops Appeal to COP21
- Islamic Declaration on Climate Change
- Rabbinic Letter on Climate: Rabbis Call for Vigorous Climate Action
- Black Church Statement on Climate Change
- Statement of Faith and Spiritual Leaders on the Paris talks
- Hindu Declaration on Climate Change
- Buddhist Climate Change Statement to World Leaders
Many of these declarations and statements were followed by a further commitment to reduce fossil fuel holdings. Divestment became an essential component in demonstrating how religious institutions may reduce their dependency on fossil fuels; joining hospitals, businesses, pension funds, and universities in committing to divest a combined $3.4 trillion, amounting to a 70-fold increase in 15 months.
Congregations and clergy continued to lead by example in their communities, inspiring and engaging others to join them in becoming carbon neutral. Events such as Coming Together in Faith on Climate, provided a greater audience to engage, empower and motivate Americans to act on this moral message.
Check out these videos and please remember to share them with your friends on social media.
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