“A love supreme!” With these words, Cornel West, well-known US commentator on anti-black racism, ended a multifaith ceremony just before the September 17 New York Climate March to End Fossil Fuels. The ceremony was to create a “sacred space” among marchers in the faith hub part of the march.
West drew on his own faith background saying he “followed the tradition of the Jesus… who ran out the money-changers from the temple, and we need to run out the fossil-fuel profiteers to make sure there’s air we can breathe and community we can connect to.”
He called the global climate crisis “the blues all the way down. But we have solidarity in the face of catastrophe. Let us dance… a love supreme” referring to US jazz giant John Coltrane’s song of that name.
The Climate March drew 75,000 creative, passionate souls from around the world, of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, to the streets of Manhattan. Their message to US President Joe Biden was to keep fossil fuels in the ground. It was also directed to the decision-makers who would appear at United Nations General Assembly, particularly at the special September 20 Climate Ambition Summit called by Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
ACT, its partners and its members made their voices heard in the march and in a series of special presentations throughout the week, on topics as diverse as migration and climate change, adaptation needs and issues, the COP28 Global Stocktake, faith-based perspectives on the SDGs, gender, and support for sexual and reproductive rights. Following the Sustainable Development Goals Summit September 18 and 19, it was a busy week for faith actors near the UN.
Here are a few of the events of that week. You will find social media posts for some events under the hashtag #ACT4Climate, others under #headwayforadaptation or #allrightsallpeople. All are available on social media site X (formerly Twitter).
- Addressing the Protection Gap, a workshop hosted by ACT and ACT member Bread for the World with Open Society Foundations, explored issues in migration and climate change and how international frameworks, including those of the UNFCCC, could better support people migrating because of a changing climate. Tweet: Sabine Minninger https://twitter.com/actclimate/status/1704143675737977085 See also Loss and Damage Collaboration tweet reporting: https://twitter.com/LossandDamage/status/1704249797270519894 and https://twitter.com/lauram_schaefer/status/1704140608393134553
- The Trilateral Partnership of Regional Faith-based Networks for the SDGs (Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean), including ACT Regional Representative Alwynn Javier, hosted speakers on the topic of Inspiring faith, Hope and Transformative Action to Accelerate Progress towards the SDGs.
- Taking Stock of our Ambition: Faith-based Action at the UN. Hosted by the Episcopal Church, this workshop encouraged faith groups to look at their own climate actions. It featured an overview of the UNFCCC Global Stocktake process by Athena Peralta of WCC and a faith-based perspective on COP28 by Julius Mbatia of ACT.
- ACT member Church World Service hosted a panel presentation by people with lived experience of displacement.
- ACT member DanChurchAid hosted a High Level Round Table dialogue on adaptation. Tweets use the hashtag #headwayforadaptation. https://twitter.com/actclimate/status/1704854906069496244 Mattias Söderberg of DanChurchAid has been tweeting video clips from the event: https://twitter.com/Mattias_S/status/1706987195171475608
- The Multi-Faith Advisory Committee (MFAC), which ACT General Secretary Rudelmar Bueno de Faria has co-chaired, hosted their annual Kofi Annan Briefing with speakers from all faiths.
- The UNFPA launched the High Level Commission on the Nairobi Summit’s third and final report on the sidelines of UNGA78. ACT General Secretary Rudelmar Bueno de Faria was a member of this commission. Tweets use the hashtag #allrightsallpeople: https://twitter.com/ACTAlliance/status/1705216622439305639