Young climate activists represent LWF at COP25

Lutheran World Federation delegates walk towards the plenary hall on day one of COP25 in Madrid. All photos: LWF/Albin Hillert 
Lutheran World Federation delegates walk towards the plenary hall on day one of COP25 in Madrid. All photos: LWF/Albin Hillert 

Introducing LWF’s delegation 

(LWI) – The United Nations climate meeting is underway in Madrid, and six young climate activists from member churches around the world represent the LWF. They bring a clear message that climate justice is intergenerational justice and that creation is not for sale. 

But who are the delegates, what are their expectations, and what visions do they bring to the table, as the world negotiates global efforts for climate justice?

Khulekani Sizwe Magwaza, an LWF council member from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa:  

“I work for climate justice because I’m vulnerable to climate change. My family, my friends, my community, my church is vulnerable to climate change. I want to tell the stories, of how we are vulnerable, of how climate change has affected my community. And climate justice has everything to do with social justice.   

At this COP I’m expecting many different things. Reading what is at stake for the negotiations, I am expecting serious decisions on article six of the Paris agreement. But I am also expecting some consideration of human rights, particularly on participation. Human rights must be considered, and we must see participation from civil society organizations, from the public community. But also gender as well as intergenerational equity need to be considered carefully. We need action to be scaled up.”

Fernanda Zuñiga, from the Lutheran Church in Chile:  

“I work for climate justice because it is something that involves everyone, not just the governments but all of civil society, the churches, all of us who live on this planet today, and those who will live here in the future.  

In this COP, my task is to share what is happening here with the vision of the Lutheran World Federation for climate justice. We are trying to raise the voice so that we are heard as youth, as well as all the generations that are living on this planet.  

At this COP, we have the opportunity to make our voices heard, but also to act. Not only do we have to make decisions, but also take action on those decisions, for the future of our planet.”

Erik Bohm, from the Church of Sweden: 

“I work for climate justice because I feel a responsibility as a human being, and as a Christian, to take responsibility for what is happening with the climate, to take action. 

At this COP, I’m most excited to see progress on the funding question. I want the big CO2 emitters to take responsibility, as well as the developed parts of the world.  

We have the opportunity to be the generation that kept the temperature increase below 1.5 degrees. To do this, we need politicians to take action, because now is the time to take action. But we also need normal people at home to take action. That includes thinking about what we buy, how we travel, and what we eat. The faith community is very much connected to the political sphere, and is like a link to the people, and can be a role model for hope.”

Stephanie Joy Abnasan, from the Lutheran Church in Philippines: 

“As a steward of God’s creation, I think it is my responsibility to work for climate justice. The fight for survival is now a fight for climate justice.  

I come from a region which is very much affected by the impacts of climate change, especially on its threat to life, to health, to water, and food security. I have seen first hand how it has affected my country, and I think that it is my responsibility to act.  

At this COP, I come as a youth delegate of the Lutheran World Federation, and I join other churches and interfaith dialogues, and I would expect that in the coming days we are together as churches in praying for the success of this event. Praying that our state leaders will be given the wisdom and the knowledge to make the necessary decisions and to take action on this issue of climate justice.”

Sebastian Ignacio Muñoz Oyarzo, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile: 

“I work for climate justice because I think we all want a just world, one that is clean and dignified, and in which we can all live.  

We have an opportunity to be more conscious about what we are going through today, and we have an opportunity to make a change. In the end, we have the power to take care of this planet. Making that change can be complicated, but if we all work together, we can make sure that we succeed in this.  

We need to make sure our messages reach out into the communities. And this way, that they can be heard through campaigns, conferences like this one, through activities all around the world, through Lutheran churches or other religions.”

Erika Rodning, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:  

“I work for climate justice because climate justice relates to everything we do. As a young person, the actions that we take now will really affect the world in which I will live in the future, and of other young people to come.  

In my work as a dietitian, I see how related climate justice is to nutrition, food security and global health.  

At this COP, I’m looking forward to seeing lots of collaboration between people. I think it’s really important that people from different countries can share their stories together – that countries that are not yet so affected by climate change can learn from the countries that are experiencing hardship already in our current time from climate change.  

We have an opportunity to take action now, before we reach the point of irreversible, devastating effects of climate change. I think it’s really urgent that we take action at this moment, and not wait until it’s too late.” 

 

Photos from COP25

Learn more about faith-based engagement at COP25

Learn more about LWF expectations for COP25