This is an important time in terms of climate conversations and decisions at both the national and the global level, and our leaders need to see grassroots support for action on climate.
We invite communities all across Texas to hold interfaith vigils for climate action on Thursday evening, December 3, 2015.
We're all in this together. Climate change is global and affects all of us. It's time now to work in partnership with our brothers and sisters of different faith traditions in calling for a different way forward.
This is an important year for climate action.
- In June, 2015, Pope Francis issued his encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si (On Care for Our Common Home), which is addressed to all people and calls on world leaders to take action to mitigate climate change.
- In August, 2015, President Obama and the EPA announced final Clean Power Plan standards—our first-ever national standards on carbon pollution from power plants.
- In December, 2015, world leaders will meet in Paris for two weeks of UN climate talks. At this COP21 meeting, leaders are expected to adopt a new protocol to reduce global carbon emissions, replacing the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which is due to expire. Leaders will also decide if and how to help the world’s poorest, developing countries adapt to climate change.
What happens at an interfaith vigil for climate action?
Each vigil will be different, because it will be planned by local leaders to reflect the needs and interests of each community. Here are some ideas:
- Host the gathering at a centrally located house of worship.
- Gather at 6:00pm and share a vegetarian potluck meal. Sharing a meal is a great way to build community! (Maybe make it meat-free, because that’s the easiest way to accommodate dietary restrictions for members of several different religious traditions.) OR…skip the potluck and gather food-free, at 7:00pm.
- When people arrive, collect their names and contact information on a sign-in sheet. This will help you and us plan future events and get information out to concerned Texans about ways to be involved. Download and print a sign-in sheet here.
- At 7:00pm, begin the program. Invite local religious leaders from different traditions to read excerpts from recent religious statements about climate change. It would be great to have leaders from each particular tradition read from their tradition’s statement or to share teachings from their traditions. Make it fun! Invite leaders to read excerpts in an engaging and compelling way, poetry-slam-style.
- At 7:30pm, “dial” into a video conference with other Texas communities who are hosting vigils as well as with TXIPL’s Executive Director, Bee Moorhead, and Associate Director, Yaira Robinson, who will be in Paris during the UN climate talks!
- In order to connect to the simulcast video call, you will need a reasonably new computer (≤ 5yrs old, preferably with a web camera and built-in microphone) and a broadband Interent connection (1Mbps minimum, 3Mbps or higher preferred.) The video conference will be held using Citrix GoToMeeting software. Learn more about requirements for Citrix software here.
- Audio can be handled by phone or by computer speakers (or, e.g., by connecting the computer to a large set of speakers or your venue’s sound system.) If you do not have access to the video call, you can connect and join the audio call, either by phone (number forthcoming) or by computer.
- Ask people to commit to at least one action. People can commit to making changes in their personal practices at home; making changes in their neighborhoods, schools, houses of worship, and workplaces; and/or advocating for policy changes at the local, state, and/or federal level. Our actions matter.
- Close with a prayer or two or four: Excerpts of Climate Change Faith Statements | Climate Vigils Closing Prayers
Attend a vigil in your community. (Click here to see which cities are planning a vigil.)
Not one already happening near you? Sign up to host one!
Top photo used courtesy John Ragai via Flickr Creative Commons.