Sunday, September 21, 2014

Religions for the Earth: Redefining the Climate Crisis

[Time] This coming week in New York City has the potential to be for climate change what the 1963 March on Washington was for civil rights. The world’s political leaders will gather at the UN for an urgent Climate Summit called by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and hundreds of thousands of people will descend on the city for the People’s Climate March.
At Union Theological Seminary, a remarkably diverse group of more than 200 religious and spiritual leaders will gather for the Religions for the Earth conference. Representing Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australia, the Pacific nations and the Arctic, these leaders will bring a much-needed moral perspective to the climate crisis. They represent billions of people of faith.
Through the work at this conference, we hope to help redefine the climate crisis. It is not just a scientific and political challenge, it is an urgent moral imperative. The Religions for the Earth initiative at Union seeks to create a place where visionary religious and spiritual leaders from around the world will convene to find common ground and offer new strategies to deal with a crisis that politicians have been unable to solve.
In meeting after meeting, from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen to Durban, politicians and technocrats have been thwarted, because at its core, climate change is not just about science, or zero-sum financial negotiations between emitters: it’s about values. It relates profoundly to the meaning of life rather than just its mechanics—to the essence of how we experience our being, share our resources, and regard one another across space and time. It has implications for the existence of the world itself, and humanity’s place within it.
It will take a values-driven conversation to change the materialistic and consumer-oriented culture that assigns worth only to financially quantifiable things. The unchecked profit-driven model of maximum production devours what we care most about: clean air, clean water, and the wellbeing of the most vulnerable families. We need a new moral equation. Read More