Two weeks after the release of the much awaited encyclical by Pope Francis, yesterday marked a new beginning as emerging religious leaders from all faiths converged in Rome. We meet from 27 June to 1 July 2015. Ours is a multi-faith gathering of young leaders between ages 20 to 40 years from across the world. It is an initiative organized by Our Voices and Green Faith. And it iis the first ever climate convergence of multi-faith leaders in Rome.
Many important leaders celebrated the encyclical – Praise Be (“Laudato Si’). On 28 June 2015, the young leaders with scientists, activists, founders and businessmen participated in the One Planet One Family march to St Peter’s Square. The march was organized in solidarity with the papacy and to thank him for his strong stand on action for climate and a new dawn for the care for Mother Nature. The procession started at Piazza Fernese, Roma, and culminated at St Peter’s Square, Vatican – just in time for the Pope’s address at noon.
The Fast for the Climate voice was represented by two colleagues: Martin Kopp, the Climate Justice Advocacy Officer of the Lutheran World Federation, and me, the founder of Green Sun Cities. We invited our fellow leaders in climate matters to join our monthly fast for the climate as well as the continuing 365 days fast on the road to Paris.
This People’s March and the continuing convergence of emerging religious leaders in Rome connect well with our call to fast among different faiths. We are united in our call for leaders to act on climate now as we head to Paris. We are a big global family with common interests. The words of Laureate Maathai “think globally and act locally” sound and resonate with what I am doing in Kenya. I joined Fast for the Climate this year; I have been engaged in rallying Africa to fast and at local level taking this fast in the 47 counties of Kenya.
The words that Pope Francis addressed us encouraged integration of multi-faith approaches to create lasting solutions for our planet (Una Terra Una Famiglia). The emerging leaders are glad to be joined by Yeb Sano from the Philippines. He is engaged in the fast from its inception as founder and his opening speech at COP 19. Besides he is leading a pilgrimage to Paris and pushes for a better outcome on climate talks and reaching a new deal after Kyoto Protocol. A mini pilgrimage held after the march provided reflections about changing the world with deep connected history across the streets of Rome. This was a pre-event to the Peoples’ Pilgrimage from Rome to Paris by Yeb Sano.
Let’s ready ourselves for new united action spurred by all of us towards a rejuvenated planet thanks to what you do now for future generations!
Benedict Muyale is a member of the international Fast for the Climate working group. He founded the Green Sun Cities initiative and is leading our fasting movement’s expansion in Kenya, with our 365 Days of Fasting due to reach Africa in August.