Interfaith Action in COP26 Week One

By Arthur Lyon Dahl – International Environment Forum, IF20 Environment Working Group.

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At the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, engagement by faith-inspired organisations continued through its first week. 

The Bahá’í community of Glasgow held an interfaith Earth Reflections online on the evening of Wednesday November 3rd, with music, a Hindu prayer, poets from the Shetlands and Uganda, reflections about the beauty of nature, quotations from the Quran, a Bahá’í prayer in Hawaiian, Sami chanting, and reminders about the prayer and meditation vigil on the Sunday before COP26, for which the video is now online here. They also organised a tree planting on Saturday, November 6th. 

The International Environment Forum organised five events during the first week, including one hybrid event in Glasgow and others online, on health equity and climate change, strengthening global climate governance, biodiversity, imagining a positive future for nature and culture, climate change engineering the future, and strategies for climate resilient communities, with many presentations emphasising a spiritual dimension. All the events were well attended, and the videos continue to be available, with a complete report here

Indigenous peoples have been very active at the COP26, defending their cultures and values, and their responsibility for a major part of the as-yet-undisturbed parts of the planet. Small Island States have also been highlighting their vulnerability and the risks to their culture and spiritual values. Given the importance of action on climate change to our future, we all should be praying for the success of COP26, which has one more week to run.

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Arthur Lyon Dahl is President of the International Environment Forum, and a retired Deputy Assistant Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with 50 years’ international experience in environment and sustainability. His most recent focus has been on global governance and UN reform.