Faith leaders from around the world met to discuss the dangers of climate change.
Invited by French President François Hollande to the “Summit of Conscience for the Climate” and joining politicians, campaigners and scholars, faith leaders from around the world spoke out about the dangers of climate change.
Pope Francis was hopeful that the meeting in Paris would succeed, but told the mayors of large cities worldwide that they are the “conscience of humanity.”
Pope tells mayors from 60+ cities that he has "great hope" that the Paris UN Summit on climate change can reach "a fundamental agreement"
— Gerard O'Connell (@gerryorome) July 21, 2015
The mayors are considered huge players in this discussion because urban areas are responsible for 75% of all human emissions of greenhouse gases. Many of the mayors signed a declaration stating that “human-induced climate change is a scientific reality and its effective control is a moral imperative for humanity”.
Other religious chimed in with their thoughts. Cardinal Peter Turkson, who helped Pope Francis write his environmental encyclical, said that averting climate change was for the common good, and “the costs are being borne by those who have least contributed to it.”
Muslim, Hindu and Christian leaders agreed that climate change was a real problem but also an “opportunity for renewal”.
The leader of the Sufi brotherhood Alawiya, Sheikh Bentounes, urged mankind to foster “a hope of a future”.
Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of over 300 million Orthodox Christians, expressed sadness at humanity’s short-sightedness, but reminded all that “scientists and theologians” agreed that humankind relies on nature. “Religion must also be involved in the crucial questions of climate change”.
David Rosen of the American Jewish Committee said that climate change was a both a symptom of greed and a cry for help. “It is the opportunity for humans to rediscover the higher values than materialism and indulgence”.
No matter what the person’s background, all who spoke at the summit expressed concern over the future of the climate and its effects on humankind. There are hopes that another meeting in Paris in 2015 will garner international agreements to cut greenhouse gas emissions.