On April 22nd, 2016 Radhanath Swami joined faith leaders from around the world at Church Center of The United Nations in New York City to encourage world leaders to sign the Paris agreement on climate change. The event (The Interfaith Climate Change Statement To World Leaders Handover Program) was mainly organized by GreenFaith, in partnership with a number of faith based organizations.
Although a climate change agreement was made in Paris, each individual country that signed on still needs to approve it through their respective parliaments and legislative bodies. The Interfaith Climate Change Statement presents the positive judgement of the Paris Agreement from 250 global faith leaders, and urges its prompt signature and ratification by governments so that it can come into force as soon as possible. It also calls for action relating to emission reductions and a swift phase out of fossil fuel subsidies. The statement serves to renew the strong commitment of the faith community to remain active in defining the moral responsibility to care for the Earth,
The ceremony included short talks by faith leaders and representatives of the UN. It concluded with the presentation of The Interfaith Climate Change Statement to H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, the President of the UN General Assembly and was followed by a press conference.
Radhanath Swami shared the following message with the assembly.
“It is a great honor to be here in such a distinguished assembly.”
“From a spiritual prospective the condition of todays environment is to a large extent due to a crisis of the human spirit. The ecology of the world is a reflection of the ecology of the human heart.”
“The universal principle of religion or dharma, is to learn the science of harmonizing the body, the mind and the true self to live in harmony with God, each other and with nature. To transform greed into the joy of giving, arrogance into humility and gratitude, indifference into compassion, and prejudice into love.“
“In the Bhagavad-gita, there is a verse spoken by Lord Krishna:
bhoktāraḿ yajña-tapasāḿ / sarva-loka-maheśvaram
suhṛdaḿ sarva-bhūtānāḿ / jñātvā māḿ śāntim ṛcchat
That the Supreme Divine source of everything, or God, is the proprietor of all that exists –the mother, father and the most intimate friend of all living beings. And true peace is possible when we learn to recognize that we are not proprietors, but that rather we are caretakers of sacred property and caretakers of each other.”
“The Hindu Declaration on Climate Change states that all life is divine and interconnected. This current crisis is a real opportunity to put aside our differences and unite with one heart and one voice to appeal to world leaders and genuinely put forth policies and action to honor the sacredness of life itself.”
Other speakers included the following.
- Rev’d Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, GreenFaith
- Kiran Bali MBE JP, Global Chairperson, United Religions Initiative
- Imam Talib Abdur- Rashid, President, Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York
- The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, Bishop for Indigenous Peoples, Anglican Church of Canada
- Sister Gayatri, Representative to the UN in New York of the, Brahma Kumaris
- Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in New York: His Excellency Mr. François Delattre
- Director for Strategy, Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Mr. Halldór Thorgeirsson
- The President of the UN General Assembly, His Excellency Mr. Mogens Lykketoft