Why Paris Matters…part 3

Part 3: Why us?

cop21

This is part 3 of 3 on the COP21 climate conference in Paris

This month leaders from 195 nations will gather in Paris in an attempt to forge an historic deal on climate change. (To read more about the COP21 process, see part 1 of this blog series.)

While the negotiators deliberate, tens of thousands of others will gather around Paris to bring awareness to the issue through seminars, forums, lectures, marches, and demonstrations. These “civil society” participants will come from all over the globe and will represent environmental organizations, faith groups, business leaders, community organizations, development experts, and countless others.

Climate Caretakers will be among the many groups meeting in Paris this December and will join with a larger gathering of evangelicals convened by the Lausanne Movement and A Rocha International. This broader coalition includes teams from the UK, France, Canada, the United States, India, and Singapore. Our group will participate in the civil society events taking place around Paris, in addition to planning and hosting our own events. A key element of our experience will include daily small group “consultations” with a variety of climate experts, activists, and leaders from around the world.

Why are we going to Paris?

First, and most importantly, we aim to use Paris as an opportunity to speak back to the North American Church about why climate change matters. While in Paris we’ll meet with numerous climate experts, environmental leaders, local activists, and ordinary people—all of whom have stories about how climate change is impacting their lives now.  We aim to capture those stories and share them (so stay tuned to the Climate Caretakers website to hear some of them).  We’ll also be writing, posting, and sending updates about what’s happening in Paris.

Second, we aim to be a witness to the world that Christians DO care about climate change. For years the prevailing narrative concerning Christians and climate change was one of skepticism. That trend is now changing as Christians rise up to bring attention to climate justice, biblical creation stewardship, and a Christian response to climate change. The world needs to hear that we care, and that we care because we follow Christ. In short, we aim to share the love of Christ through our presence in Paris, our conversations with other climate leaders, and our activism of calling for change.

Make no mistake; Paris will not “fix” climate change. But it will be an important step forward. Perhaps more importantly, it will provide us with an opportunity to spur our brothers and sisters toward climate caretaking while demonstrating the love of God to a world wondering about the church’s relevance in the 21st century.

Brian Webb

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