In the face of a raging climate crisis, the world needs the unrelenting strength of hope. And so, this Interfaith Week, faith leaders and representatives gather in hope to pray for climate justice.
Why we reflect and pray
As people of faith, we each hold distinct beliefs and practices, but we’re united in our call for climate justice. It is a great injustice that those least responsible for the climate crisis are living its most destructive impacts. Climate change is increasing and exacerbating poverty, leaving people with even less resources to mitigate against future shocks.
We pause and reflect because we believe in humbly naming our collective wrongs, and in grieving the loss and damage of the climate crisis. We hope and pray for a vision of the world where everyone can live life in all its fullness.
Our faiths teach us that our planet, with its rich resources and inspiring diversity, is lent to us on trust only and we’re accountable for how we treat it. We’re urgently and inescapably responsible, not just before God but to those living the current realities of the climate crisis, those who are being pushed into poverty.
Where we stand, and what we stand for
The ‘Clive of India’ memorial might seem a strange choice for a climate vigil. Robert Clive was a controversial figure in the machine of British Colonialism. He laid the foundations of the East India Company in Bengal, and his administration led to the loss of thousands of Indian lives while he amassed today’s equivalent of millions of pounds in wealth. His memorial is a stark reminder of the legacy of British colonialism.
The extraction of wealth from many nations around the world has led to patterns of indebtedness, driving poverty around the globe. That very same wealth kicked off the industrial revolution, leading to Britain being the world’s 8th biggest historical carbon emitter.
Today, those least responsible for the crisis, are left with the least resources to cope. They are paying the price over and over. The UK is failing to finance climate action at home and overseas at the scale required. Meanwhile, poor countries owe billions to UK private lenders, diverting funds from tackling poverty and climate change.
Just behind Clive lies the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development offices. Another reminder, but this time of the UK’s power and potential to push for bold climate action. Not just here in the UK but at the upcoming United Nations Climate Talks, COP28 in Dubai.
Standing between historical wrongs and the potential of future reparations, we plant our feet firmly in the hope we profess, and call for justice for all people past, present and future.
We lament, we hope
As we gather, our prayers and reflections move from lament to hope.
We lament that this year climate breakdown has destroyed lives around the world. Communities suffer floods, fires and drought. People lose their homes, livelihoods and loved ones. We grieve their losses.
We recognise and repent our broken humanity that has embedded patterns of inequality. We bear witness to the vast profits of fossil fuel giants who push us deeper in to climate chaos, and we bear witness to private creditors who push vulnerable communities into deeper poverty. We bow our heads.
We stir hope in the prophetic vision of a better world, a healed humanity and earth. We pray for the UK government to act boldly and for all governments around the world to work for the common good so that everyone can thrive.
What we call for
As we look to COP28, we believe the UK has a historic and moral responsibility to help deliver justice for the world’s poorest. The UK government must
- Deliver on its promises to provide climate finance to low-income countries
- Pay into the new Loss and Damage Fund to compensate the world’s poorest communities hit by climate change.
- Make the UK’s biggest polluting companies pay for their climate impacts.
- Commit to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
- Help ensure UK-based private creditors cancel the debts of low-income countries
Join us in prayer and protest
Together we can take the posture of prayer as we head towards COP28 and beyond. Here are some ways that you and your church can pray and act for climate justice
- Join us at our Decolonising Climate Conversations webinar 7pm on 29 November register here
- Save the date - 9 December 2023 - Global Day of Action. Around the world people will take to the streets to demand climate justice as the UN climate talks take place in Dubai. You can find more information about local actions from the Climate Justice Coalition here
- Prayers and Placards – use our new resource to encourage your church to pray and act for climate justice: download
- Be the first to hear about opportunities to put faith into action. Sign up for our campaign emails.