Taking the fight for climate justice to the Capitol and to Copenhagen

In less than a month world leaders will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, to devise a new global agreement to counter climate change.

By Lesley Crosson/CWS

Climate advocates delivered 15,000 postcards to lawmakers after the Washington, DC, climate change vigil.
Photo: L. Crosson/CWS

In less than a month world leaders will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, to devise a new global agreement to counter climate change.  And, for more than a year, Church World Service has been mobilizing the faith community to focus attention on the justice component of climate change.

On November 5, a major component of the advocacy effort came to fruition: CWS and activists from several member denominations delivered nearly 15,000 postcards and messages to the White House and Congress, following a rousing CWS-led climate witness and vigil on the northeast lawn of the Capitol.  See CWS CEO and Executive Director Rev. John L. McCullough address the vigil. (YouTube video opens in new window.)

The postcards and messages from people of conscience urge President Obama to attend the December 7 - 18 summit meetings in Copenhagen and pledge other individual actions toward creating a greener environment. 

More than just an agreement is at stake in Copenhagen. 

The world's poorest people contribute very little to climate change, but they suffer most from its devastating effects.  People in developing countries already are experiencing smaller harvests, less access to clean drinking water, longer and more severe droughts and increased exposure to mosquitoes carrying diseases like malaria and dengue fever.

Senator Schumer
Senator Schumer listened to climate activists Rajyashri Waghray (CWS), Christina Herman (Oblate Justice and peace), and Esmeralda Brown (UMC) after they delivered Countdown to Copenhagen postcards to his office.
Photo: L. Crosson/CWS

Their suffering and the need for the industrialized world to both curb carbon emissions and provide adequate funding to help communities in developing countries adapt to climate change are the basis for CWS advocacy efforts.

Reacting to reports that the President is willing to attend the Copenhagen meetings, Church World Service Director of Education and Advocacy Director Rajyashri Waghray, said the activists are "pleased that President Obama has expressed his willingness to be present in Copenhagen."

It's too early to claim victory, but CWS advocacy efforts are clearly having an impact: Even as volunteers were bundling postcards for delivery, word came from across the lawn in the Capitol that the Senate committee charged with sending a climate change bill to the floor of Congress had succeeded in reporting the bill out of committee.

With help from member agencies and individuals who continue to answer the CWS call to climate justice, Church World Service will take its demand all the way to the Copenhagen meetings next month.  Postcards and email Countdown to Copenhagen pledges still are being collected.

You can help by taking the Countdown to Copenhagen pledge and signing up to receive CWS Speak Out email alerts


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