Faith leaders prepare for COP26: Urgent climate action needed
Junge’s message to faith and political leaders: “This year is crucial”
(LWI) – “The [climate] crisis is real. We know the communities and people affected by it, often even by name," said the Lutheran World Federation's (LWF) General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Martin Junge at an online event on faith, science, and climate change today.
Forty-four percent of the LWF's constituency, equaling 33 million people, live in the countries facing the greatest challenges, requiring urgent action. He affirmed LWF's long-standing commitment to climate justice, support for people and communities affected by climate disasters, and theological work towards eco-theology and care for creation.
“We know that this year is crucial. The world must use the momentum for climate action,” was Junge’s message to the faith and political leaders gathered.
Faith leaders and communities can play a vital role in addressing climate change. The event today on “Faith and Science: towards COP26” was one of a series of preparatory meetings bringing together leaders from faith communities and faith-based organizations committed to working against the adverse effects of climate change to share approaches and jointly prepare for COP26. The meetings are convened by the British and Italian Embassies to the Holy See, together with the Holy See.
Action inspired by spiritual and theological perspectives
“Cultivating an ecological sense of being human and the vocation to care for the well-being of all creation is a matter of faith for us,” said Junge.
Lutherans affirm that “sustaining just relationships in our world, including ecological relationships, requires constructive ethical dialogue between the sciences: natural, social, and theological," added Junge, referring to the roots of the Lutheran tradition in the sixteenth century. Today, the human family's urgent task is to discern morally sound political, economic, and technological pathways to sustain life within planetary limits.” This will require an interdisciplinary approach.
“Youth lead, we support”
The LWF has engaged with climate change since 1977, calling for climate justice and sharing resources that promote faithful earth keeping, Junge recounted. It announced divestment from fossil fuels in 2015. The 2017 LWF Assembly in Namibia, passed a resolution on climate change that called on member churches to engage more deeply in addressing the impacts of climate change.
At that same Assembly, the LWF recognized climate justice as a matter of intergenerational justice. Junge said that on matters of climate justice “youth have been leading us and teaching us. They lead, we support." For this reason, LWF has been exclusively represented by young people in the COP process since 2011.
Local action is the root for global advocacy and policy development
As a faith-based organization, the LWF keeps a close connection between its global advocacy, the local presence through its member churches, and through the LWF’s substantial humanitarian and development work. "This interlinkage is pivotal."
"Faith communities are well equipped to articulate and express this connection and to offer their wisdom to the development of global policy and action. Faith communities are often well linked already to local engagement of civil society and grassroots movements on climate change."
Junge closed by sharing that the LWF was committed to:
- Support people and communities affected by extreme weather events and other climate related disasters through its humanitarian and development work.
- Actively participate in local and global efforts towards climate justice through its advocacy and public voice.
- Further theological work towards eco-theology and care for creation with an interdisciplinary perspective, to build a strong foundation for LWF’s ongoing work on climate change and care for creation. “This is a unique contribution we should offer as an FBO, and we are ready to offer.”
The United Kingdom will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1–12 November 2021.