Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fasting for the Climate

Written by Karin Frank
Outreach Coordinator for WAIPL

Last week our faith partners including United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society and the Lutheran World Federation delegations in Warsaw, Poland at the UN COP19 Climate Conference shared a message with the larger faith community:

We are here as part of an interfaith witness to ensure the global community hears the cries of creation and responds to the urgent realities of a changing climate. 
The tone of conversations at this gathering was set on day one when Commissioner Yeb Saño of the Philippines made a heart-felt and impassioned plea on behalf of his people - our Filipino brothers and sisters - devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. As part of his statement he announced that he was beginning a voluntary fast until such time as the global community made significant progress in responding to the global climate crisis. 
We have begun a fasting chain and are inviting you to join us as additional links. The point for us is one of sacrifice and solidarity. Mindful that our two delegations - the US and the EU - remain impediments to progress on such critical issues as mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage, we felt it important to join in this global witness. 

Commissioner Yeb Saño at the UN climate talks in Warsaw.
The fast was begun by Yeb Saño, who is now on the ninth day of his fast ending at the end of the conference on Saturday morning. With our brothers and sisters in Warsaw, the Philippines, and around the world, Earth Ministry/WAIPL’s partner Creation Justice Ministries is encouraging you to join them in fasting this week, in whatever way is appropriate for you, be it fasting from food during certain times this week or be it fasting from carbon by going to work by bike or bus rather than car this month. You can also post about your fast on CJM’s Facebook page and on Earth Ministry’s, and you can also post on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #FastingForTheClimate.

In the Jewish and Christian faiths, fasting personally and collectively is a form of repentance and of mourning. It is one of the great tragedies of climate change that the people who will suffer most from it are those who had the least to do with causing it. The entire world will suffer for the sins of our societies. As people of faith, call on our own communities to repent. As people who care for others, we mourn for the recent devastation in the Philippines and for all who will suffer in future disasters as a result of climate change.

We are only a week away from Thanksgivukkah and, by the retail calendar just a few short days from Christmas. As we enter the time of year when we give thanks for all of the richness in our lives, we have come face-to-face with the cost of our abundance. As we enter the time of year when we are often faced with the brokenness in ourselves, our families, and our communities, we are also reminded of the world's brokenness. Let us fast before we give thanks.

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