Religious initiatives around Copenhagen
The Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) has gathered in Windsor Castle (United Kingdom) from Nov 2 to 4, 2009. Representatives from the major religions (Baha’I, Buddhism, Christianity, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism, Sikhism) presented concrete action plans that will engage local belief-communities towards improving the use of and conserving natural resources. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, the Franciscan family and the Society of Jesus have been present at this major event.
The coalition between Caritas Internationalis (CI) and CIDSE has developed a long term process including lobby work with decision makers regarding the negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They have produced reports, analyses and concrete proposals towards an effective and socially just post-2012 climate agreement. CIDSE and CI launched their joint climate justice campaign on Dec 7, 2008 in Poznan (Poland). Since then, more than 54.000 people have signed up the online petition.
The initiatives from CI and CIDSE will continue during the celebration of the Copenhagen Conference. An exhibition will be held at the Bela Centre, the venue for the Conference, to show their international campaign for Climate Justice; a demonstration under the slogan “Planet First – People First” is scheduled in the streets of Copenhagen on Saturday, Dec 12; a Mass at St. Ansgar Cathedral. The International Bell ringing on Sunday, Dec 13, promoted by the World Council of Churches, asks participants around the globe to sound their bells 350 times at 3 pm local time to mark the safe level of CO2 measured in ppm, required to keep the rise in average temperature under 2°C.
A good example of the local commitment in the campaign promoted by CIDSE and CI is the coalition of more than twenty church base organizations in Austria. The French commission for Justice and Peace has promoted its own appeal for the Copenhagen Conference: it has been subscribedto by more than fifteen catholic French organizations and its open to be signed up by the public through Internet.
As a last example, the Operation Noah is a group of British Christians, founded in 2001, focused exclusively on Climate Change. They have promoted awareness, ecumenical encounters and publications during the past eight years . Recently, they also promoted a statement signed by Dr Rowan Williams, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury , Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathon Sacks and Roman Catholic Archbishop Nichols, urging political leaders to take action at Copenhagen. They are among the organizers of “The Wave”, an immense rally in London on Dec 5, on the eve of the UN Copenhagen summit. Two to three thousand of Christians will participate in a prayer service and will then merge with the thousands of others in the march.