“Fast for the Climate” to Launch International Campaign

Press Conference in Paris in Front of French Parliament Building

(LWI) – A coalition of French religious and lay organizations will launch the monthly “Fast for the Climate” campaign – a global interfaith initiative spearheaded by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) - at a joint press conference in Paris on June 4.

The Fast for the Climate will take place on the first day of each month until December 2015 – when the United Nations climate conference (COP21) begins in Paris. It has grown into a global movement with the participation of youth, environmental and faith groups, who all want urgent action on climate change by governments this year.

The campaign was launched by the LWF  together with many other global organizations on January 1, following an initiative of the LWF delegation to COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland, in November. The delegation, which comprised young delegates from all LWF regions, was inspired by the plight of the Philippine delegate, Yeb Saño, whose own family was caught up in Typhoon Hai­yan. In a moving speech, Saño, who will be a panelist at the Paris press conference, said he would not eat until countries at the Warsaw conference delivered actions that would “stop the madness.”

Lead Churches to Act

"This fast is an effective door-opener for the LWF. Through a practice that carries both a deep spiritual meaning and a strong symbolic message, the LWF can lead churches to act on climate change,” said Martin Kopp, who was part of the LWF delegation in Warsaw. “In France for instance, the fast is the first-ever common action on climate change of the three biggest Christian institutions. It serves as the first step of the ecumenical collaboration toward COP21, that will be held in Paris in late 2015."

The hosts of the press conference, which will be held on a house boat facing the “Assemblée Nationale” are Chrétiens Unis pour la Terre, A Rocha France ; Bible et Création, Pax Christi France, le Christianisme Social ; Justice, Paix et Sauvegarde de la Création-Alsace.

Panelists include Nicolas Hulot , Special Envoy for the Planet of the French President;  François Clavairoly – Co-President of the Council of Christian Churches in France (CECEF) and President of the French Protestant Federation (FPF);  and Tareq Oubrou, Great Imam of Bordeaux from the Great Mosque of Bordeaux.

Raising Awareness

 “Fasting made climate change real for me, opened my eyes and brought me closer to my neighbors. This is one of the reasons why fasting once a month is interesting: it raises one’s awareness on a regular basis and not only when extreme weather events happen,” Kopp said. “As long as you share your commitment around you, you help raising awareness about climate change. And that is, after all, what makes your fast matter.”

LWF members and staff from around world are taking part in the “Fast for the Climate,” as well as LWF council members during the Council meeting in Indonesia in June.

Read more and get involved | Press Conference Speech - Yeb Saño