“Attending the most recent annual UN climate change conference in Glasgow, COP26, was great for the ELCA living out its public witness and social teachings. Our ELCA delegation was diverse and included frontline people – folks most impacted by climate change and that through ELCA’s work in areas such as Lutheran Disaster Response, state public policy offices, and ELCA World Hunger, appreciate both the urgency and what it takes to build a resilient and sustainable society,” said Ruth Ivory-Moore, ELCA program director for environment and Corporate Social Responsibility. News sources have told us many outcomes of COP26. Hear also from Lutheran leaders who give us a sense of what it meant to be there.
By Isa Petersen, ELCA Hunger Advocacy Fellow at Texas Impact
As the exciting intensity of COP26 wears off, I have truly been able to reflect on the amazing opportunity it was to represent the U.S. Civil Society as a young Lutheran. The number of young adults I was able to engage with on a daily basis was something that made COP26 extra special to me. Never before would I have been able to converse with young people who are passionate about climate change from parts of Sweden, Italy, Uruguay, and more.
This facet ofCOP26 made the event feel optimistic and full of hope, as I witnessed many young individuals leading panels and running their own events. The Glasgow youth protest is one example of global youth taking action and calling for change. It has become increasingly evident that now is the time for climate action, with young voices leading those driving forces.
Although the outcome of COP26 was not perfect, I am still left with passionate hope for the future.
I stand with my colleagues in demanding climate justice, not just for us in the United States, but also for our brothers and sisters around the world who are currently suffering the consequences of our actions. As Lutherans, we just stay committed to being good stewards of our planet and hold our representatives accountable for staying committed to their pledges. I wish everyone could have felt the immense sense of urgency and saliency of this global event.
Just know that fighting for climate justice doesn’t end here. We must stay alert, informed, and continue to be environmental advocates!
By Vance Blackfox (Cherokee), Director, ELCA Indigenous Ministries and Tribal Relations
The choir was present in Glasgow. And it was a global choir. The hymns and compositions sung at COP26 were similar in message, but the melodies are distinct.
It is clear that we, the great majority of those attending COP26, are in agreement that the time is now to take action and make happen the promises set forth by the parties in previous and present conventions.
In my short few days observing the happenings, it was also clear that countries and organizations are beginning to embrace the fact that Indigenous people do indeed hold the knowledge and wisdom about Mother Earth and all our relatives in Creation necessary for a healthy continued existence. Such has been spoken by both Natives and non-Natives, at numerous presentations and panels.
I journeyed at COP26 with other ELCA climate activists, including my nephew Manuel Glenn (Cherokee), a young adult, through whose eyes I wish I could see at this moment. How must he feel knowing that his life on Mother Earth will be drastically impacted, and soon, if we don’t act now.
Yet, we cannot not wait on him and his generation to do the work. We must do the work now so that he and all young people will one day regard us and not resent us. We Natives value the responsibility of centering the next seven generations in all things, doing so is critical today.
“In our ministry, we learn about the extent of the environmental crisis, its complexities, and the suffering it entails. Meeting the needs of today’s generations for food, clothing, and shelter requires a sound environment. Action to counter degradation, especially within this decade, is essential to the future of our children and our children’s children. Time is very short.”
~ from ELCA social statement Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice
Hear an overview of COP26 actions from ELCA and Lutheran World Federation leaders, as well as four spiritually centered, passionate young Lutherans who attended, in “Now Not Later: Lutheran Young Adults Look at COP26,” video of a post-COP26 webinar.
And continue to raise your voice as we care for God’s good creation today. More at ELCA.org/environment.