Monday, December 14, 2015

Climate Agreement: 'A Sacred Bread Moment'

"This is a historic moment. For the first time in human history, 196 have nations agreed that we are in a climate crisis and we can no longer delay action. The strong presence of civil society and the moral voice of faith traditions have been essential in pushing the negotiations forward. -Rev. Sally Bingham
By all accounts, the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) on Nov. 30-Dec. 11, was a resounding success. Representatives of 195 countries adopted an unprecedented global agreement on Dec. 12 to fight global climate change.

"The Paris agreement is adopted for the climate," said the president of COP21, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, prompting a long round of applause throughout the room.  (Video footage from BFM-TV in France).

"From a justice perspective, the agreement's recognition of the risk of "loss and damage" for climate vulnerable nations, and the need to address and minimize displacement related to the impacts of climate change, is an important step forward underscoring the need for developed nations like the United States to support those least responsible for causing this crisis," said Rev. Sally Bingham, founder and president of the national environmental organization Interfaith Power and Light.

The agreement--which is compatible with Goal 13 of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development--is only a beginning, "The Paris COP is a moral call for a safe climate for our children and grandchildren and a critical step forward," said Rev. Bingham. "There is much work to do to reach this goal, and U.S. faith communities will continue to advocate for stronger action from our government and financing for the most vulnerable."

Joan Brown, a Franciscan sister who is director of New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light, was present at the talks.  Here are some excerpts of the experiences she related through her blog,

"I feel very humbled to be in the COP 21 at this historic moment when the world came together for the first ever climate change agreement. Some important pieces include a 2 degree target that aspires to 1.5 or below, mechanisms and near term process dates and accountability to ramp up efforts, for the first time a section that addressed loss and damage, it sets the course toward the end of fossil fuel dependence and the way to a clean energy future, and it is a document that the world can stand behind—-though it is not perfect nor as strong as desired.

I have been trying to think of a symbol that might describe this amazing and moving moment and yet also carry the concerns for the vulnerable communities.

Bread is a symbol of this process. Bread has fed thousands each day here at the COP as they worked. Bread feeds billions on the planet each day whether it is flat bread, tortillas, chapatas, french bread, pita or other types of bread. Bread is sacred and shared in rituals. Bread is sacred and shared around family and community tables. Even when their is not total accord in the family, bread is shared together in tears and laughter. Bread requires work and good ingredients. As a baker, sometimes my bread is amazing and sometimes is almost a failure—but we eat it, because we cannot waste bread. 

The COP21 agreement is a sacred bread moment shared around the holy table of the Earth. The bread is not perfectly risen, it misses some ingredients and lacks some salt. While there may not be total accord around the table we sit and share and nourish one another to continue the hard and vital work ahead. We open our hearts and ears to the stories of climate crisis of the vulnerable and their needs and we seek, through our work, to share the bread of our lives through prayer infused action."
Here is Sister Joan's Full Post

Stay Tuned for updates and specific details from the COP21 Summit

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