Fasting for Solidarity

LWF Delegation to COP19. Photo: LWF/Sean Hawkey
LWF Delegation to COP19. Photo: LWF/Sean Hawkey

Reflections on Day of Fasting for the Climate

(LWI) – As The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) embarks on its monthly Day of Fasting for the Climate, the seven young delegates who launched the campaign reflected on it as a galvanizing act of solidarity with the vulnerable.

The Day of Fasting for the Climate will be launched on 1 January and continues on the first day of every month until 1 December 2014 when negotiations begin at the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 20) in Lima, Peru.

In November, the LWF delegation to COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland, initiated the fast to express concern over the lack of progress at the meetings, and were joined by many faith groups.

“We have decided to fast in solidarity with people affected by climate change around the world, with the millions who have already lost their homes and livelihoods because of extreme weather events and in remembrance of many who have already lost their lives,” they said.

The fast is necessary to build awareness that an ambitious agreement to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases is critical, and to encourage political leaders to reduce emissions.

“People of faith and different walks of life are standing together to build a groundswell of support for actions that slow climate change. This is urgent and equally affects people of all faiths and none. Climate change affects the poor and vulnerable most severely,” they emphasized.

COP 19 has galvanized the youth for climate justice.

As Ms Raquel Kleber, 24, LWF advocacy intern from Brazil, noted, “I can translate the experience at COP 19 as engaging in high-level advocacy with national governments and political leaders through the fasting campaign, while gaining awareness on climate justice.”

Martin Kopp, 26, from France, said, "This conference has taught me that advocacy is not only a matter of knowing the issue and speaking out loud, it is about talking to the right person at the right moment; making a difference is a question of good strategy."

For Ms Pranita Biswasi, 23, from India, the COP 19 fast helped give a voice to the voiceless victims of climate change. By getting involved in climate justice, people can make a difference. “Come on, everyone, let’s save the Earth,” she urged.

Ms Iwona Baraniec, 29, an LWF Council member from Poland, who coordinated the ecumenical and interfaith cooperation during the conference, commented that COP 19 offered the churches of Poland an opportunity to reflect on climate justice. “I think we should all realize how important our role and responsibility for God’s creation is.”

The director of the Polish Ecumenical Council, Rev. Ireneusz Lukas said that COP 19 had raised awareness on environmental issues and the urgent need for Christians to get involved in curtailing activities that harm the earth.

“I hope that COP 19 has built some bridges between churches and the public sphere and that it will help to strengthen a mutual cooperation of different partners, which is crucial if we want future generations to live on a planet that will still be a suitable place to inhabit,” Lukas said.

Concluding, Ms Matilda Mattson, 21, from Sweden said, “We have succeeded to build something that is bigger than us and hopefully it will continue to grow and grow and actually lead somewhere.”