On September 21, 2014, an estimated 400,000 people gathered in New York City for the People’s Climate March. People from all different backgrounds, religious beliefs, minority groups and even countries gathered to encourage world leaders at participating in the U.N. Climate Summit to make substantive policies and efforts to combat climate change. A common theme among many of the groups joining the march was the need to protect our children’s futures. A Time Magazine video montage of climate marchers begins with a young girl holding a sign reading, “Don’t pollute the world I will grow up in.” The corresponding article mentions a 9-year-old boy at the march dressed in a banana suit excitedly telling people about wind energy.
It’s a good thing these children care so deeply about the environment, because they will be the most affected by climate change. A Guardian article cites a UNICEF study which “estimates that 25 million more children will suffer malnourishment because of climate change, with a further 100 million suffering food insecurity…Because of climate change, [children] will suffer more than adults because of their relative lack of resources and higher vulnerability to disease.”
Our faith teaches us not only the importance of caring for creation but also for the poor and vulnerable among us, such as children in less developed countries who will be most affected by climate change. The 2014 Interfaith Summit on Climate Change released a powerful statement directed toward world and religious leaders. The statement clearly makes the connection between caring for children and the earth by saying, “When those who have done the least to cause climate change are the ones hardest hit, it becomes an issue of injustice.”
Now we pray that world leaders will also see our current treatment of the earth as an injustice, both to God’s creation and to our children.