JLI Climate Change Webinars

The Joint Learning Initiative has been hosting a terrific series of webinars on faith-based climate issues. So far, each has featured three outstanding speakers on an array of fascinating projects. As they describe, the JLI is “an international collaboration on evidence for faith groups’ role and contributions to local community health and wellbeing and ending poverty,” and with this series, they begin what will become a climate hub.

Webinar on faith-based climate programs

Webinar on interfaith initiatives

Applied academic work webinar — Scroll down to register for the final July 23rd webinar on advocacy!

Spiritual Leaders Deliver Interfaith Climate Declaration at COP23 – By Bicycle

Via the Parliament of the World’s Religions:

(Bonn, November 10, 2017) Scores of religious leaders and people of diverse faiths and spiritualities on bicycles, some wearing traditional religious clothing, delivered a multi-faith statement to the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP23), pledging to adopt sustainable behaviors themselves and calling on their followers and world leaders to do the same. The delivery also marked the launch of a new international, multi-faith sustainable lifestyles initiative.

Bishop Marc Andrus of the Episcopal Diocese of California was among faith leaders carrying the message to the UN meeting on bikes, symbolizing a commitment to sustainable transport. “By changing our own lifestyles, the lifestyles of our congregants, and the consumption habits of our congregations, we can help make good on our commitment to the Paris Agreement,” he says. “For us, it’s a way to state loudly and clearly: We’re still in.”

The COP23 Interfaith Climate Statement on Sustainable Lifestyle, entitled Walk Gently on Earth (Download Here), represents a shared assertion by religious leaders globally that widespread sustainable behavior change is required if global temperature rise is to meet the targets established by the Paris Climate Agreement. 

Read more about this initiative coordinated by GreenFaith >>

Photo by Dorothy Breuer, DorotheeBreuer at gmx.net

Stand Up for the Earth: Affirm the Paris Agreement

The Temple of Understanding, one of the oldest interfaith organizations in North America, stands with our many partners, the Parliament of World Religions, faith leaders of all traditions, corporations, universities and concerned citizens in condemning President’s Trump’s unconscionable action pulling out of the Paris Agreement.  We will continue to work towards a sustainable future in our towns and cities regardless of the lack of support from our misinformed US government leadership. 

Show your support for the Paris Agreement and Climate Action >>

In a recent sermon entitled “Defiant Hope,” Rev. Dr. Jim Antal of the United Church of Christ urged his listeners to speak up about climate issues:

Defiant hope believes that we are called by God to change what appears to be inevitable, and that God has given us everything we need to engage. […] So our first task is to end this silence. And it turns out that the biggest predictor of people’s willingness to take action to defend creation is whether they are in regular contact with others who believe and act like them. In other words, by breaking our silence and sharing our views and values with others, we will empower one another to take action.

And this is where church comes in. Looking back, slavery would not have ended if it hadn’t have been for church. And just as the church responded to God’s call over 200 years ago, God is calling the church of today to defend God’s gift of creation. Humanity will not make the changes science says we must unless the church becomes a center for conversation, discernment, support and action.

From the Parliament of the World’s Religions Statement:

The Parliament of the World’s Religions condemns in the strongest possible terms the President’s decision to renege on the commitment of the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement, a pact signed by 195 nations and formally ratified by 147 nations.

The decision is wrong from every relevant perspective:

  • Scientifically, it is unsound and indefensible.

  • Economically, it undermines the ability of the United States to build a competitive economy for the future, sacrificing US jobs at almost every level of production and service, sacrificing American competitiveness in every market.

  • Medically, it condemns hundreds of thousands to unnecessary sickness and premature death.

  • Politically, it undermines the United States’ credibility and trustworthiness with its strongest allies as well as its fiercest competitors, and thus strikes a self-inflicted blow against national security.

Our condemnation of this decision is based on our conviction that the decision is wrong, but not just in the sense that it is incorrect. This decision is wrong in the sense that it is evil—it will result in devastation to life on Earth for generations to come. Its global consequences and impact on every living being on the planet makes it fundamentally immoral.

From the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Statement:

The Paris Agreement remains a historic treaty signed by 195 Parties and ratified by 146 countries plus the European Union. […]

The Paris Agreement is aimed at reducing risk to economies and lives everywhere, while building the foundation for a more prosperous, secure and sustainable world. It enjoys profound credibility, as it was forged by all nations and is supported by a growing wave of business, investors, cities, states, regions and citizens. We are committed to continue working with all governments and partners in their efforts to fast forward climate action at global and national levels.


Faith Groups at People’s Climate March, 4/29/17 (Photos)

Muslim environmental activists at the Washington DC People’s Climate March, 29 April 2017


Grove Harris represented the Temple of Understanding at the April 29 Climate March in D.C. as part of the Interfaith Groups mobilization for People’s Climate Marches. Rev. Fletcher Harper of GreenFaith led the interfaith contingent in sitting down in silence, then joining in a common heartbeat rhythm, and finally rising up in voice, as a special part of the march.

Overall, more than 200,000 gathered in Washington DC and millions joined in over 375 marches around the globe, all standing up in concern for our climate and against regressive politics. The 91 degree heat in April did not deter marchers; rather it reinforced concern.

Faith in Place: Faithful People Caring for the Earth provided reflections on the People’s Climate March.

All photos by Grove Harris.

Rev. Fletcher Harper (right) and activists leading the crowd in a group heartbeat


#SacredEarth2016: Sign On for Social Media Action on Climate Change, 6/12/16

Via Our Voices: Bringing Faith to the Climate Talks:

We’re just 11 days away from Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust – the day of celebration, prayer and action for the world on June 12 – and things are really starting to take off. We already know of almost 100 events taking place around the world in 30 countries!

I’m getting in touch to ask if you and your organisation would be willing to lend your support to Sacred Earth by joining the Thunderclap and helping spread the message to millions around the world.

Click here to support the Sacred Earth 2016 Thunderclap

If you sign up to the Thunderclap, on June 12 we will all post this one-time message simultaneously: “Millions of people need 1.5°C to stay alive. Today, faiths around the world say protect our #SacredEarth2016.”


We know there are millions of people in vulnerable communities who are already suffering from the effects of climate change. It is for them that we must share our message far and loud, calling on world leaders to commit to a 1.5 degree limit on global temperature rise.

Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, you have a community online who listen to you. Support the Sacred Earth Thunderclap today

And if you don’t have a social media account, there are still endless number of ways to take part in Sacred Earth on the website here: http://sacredearth2016.org/




If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Thank you for your commitment to creating a better world for us all!

With positive light,
Sean & the OurVoices team

Interfaith Climate Statement Launch in New York

From Rosanne Skirble at Voice of America:

Religious leaders came together in prayer Monday at the chapel of the Church Center for the United Nations to affirm the sanctity of the Earth. In a joint statement, they urged heads of state to ratify and implement the Paris climate change agreement negotiated in December.

Read more at Voice of America >>

Comments on the 2015 Paris Climate Talks

While the outcome of the climate talks in Paris are considered generally successful, there’s some dismay among the NGOs about overly positive agreements which wash over some serious critiques. For instance, there is a lack of human rights and gender equality in the framing of the agreements. While governments have in some cases moved in the right direction,  it’s not the full turn around that is needed.  We have not heard anything about ending subsidies to fossil fuels explicitly although that may be included. Even though New York is now seen as the role model for banning fracking, most places are still investing in this practice. We suggest you read the following articles for more information.

Why should we feel positive about Paris? 

Grand Promises of Paris Climate Deal

A short film: Faith Against Fracking

Religions for the Earth Conference

We are proud that Grove Harris, our representative to the United Nations, has been invited to particpate in the Religions for the Earth conference at Union Theological Seminary. “The conference is designed to spur a conversation about climate change as a social justice issue, to put forth the moral imperative to care for the natural world, and to help shape and accelerate actions in support of an effective international climate treaty.”

Nuclear Power Is NOT the Answer to Climate Change

Please join us for Nuclear Power is NOT the answer to Climate Change, September 15, Monday, 10AM – noon  at the Church Center for the United Nations, 777 UN Plaza, 2nd Fl., New York, NY 10017 (44th St. & First Ave).

The TOU is proud to co-sponsor this event with Peace Boat US, Human Rights Now, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Nuclear Information and Resources Service, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, and Abolition 2000 NY.