Faith and the Environment

EDN kicks off religious conversations on climate change

As humanity faces catastrophic climate change, a term used last week by the United Nations in their 10th Emissions Gap Report, we all have an opportunity to evaluate and change behaviors that fuel the crisis. One way to change our behavior is to pay attention to, reflect and act upon the words of religious, moral and social justice leaders, both past and present. 

In 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. influenced by the writing of Unitarian minister Rev. Theodore Parker, said, “Let us realize that the arc or the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Though that may be true, lately it feels like we’re not doing enough to ensure this bend, specifically when it comes to climate change and environmental justice issues stemming from it. To create meaningful change for the future, we must reflect on the greatest social movements in our nation’s past. 

John Biewen — producer and host of Scene on Radio’s “Seeing White” podcast — speaks to why remembering and valuing history within the United States is harder than it seems. In “Made in America,” the third part of his series , he says, “We Americans are notorious for not knowing or caring about history… On the whole, Americans care a whole lot more about tomorrow. Forget yesterday. Yesterday was so long ago, for one thing. Get over it.”

We’re at a tipping point where tomorrow, as we’ve known it, isn’t guaranteed. While the arc of the universe may be long, our place in it is in jeopardy. Today, simply valuing the words of religious, moral and social justice leaders isn’t enough. 

We must find ways to speak and act with a sense of morality as the world’s most vulnerable people and communities are most significantly impacted and as the consumption habits of the global north are harming the global south.  

Earth Day Network (EDN) and the Parliament of the World’s Religions (PoWR), organizations with deep historical ties to social movements within the United States and across the world, along with several other organizations, are co-hosting a series of global religious and moral conversations on climate change. 

We invite you to join us for the first Global Conversation on Thursday, December 5th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST. 

The series of conversations will run between December 2019 and April 2020, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. You’ll have the opportunity to hear from, and engage with, global faith leaders and further develop your moral voice around the climate crisis.  


  • Joshua Basofin, Parliament of the World’s Religions, Chicago, Illinois
  • Yonatan Neril, Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, Jerusalem, Israel 
  • Meryne Warah, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Amber Burgin, Elijah’s Farm, Durham, North Carolina
  • Sevim Kalyoncu, Green Muslims, Washington, D.C.   
  • Gauranga Das, Govardhan EcoVillage, Mumbai, India 

Meet the Conversationalists

Additional Partners: Arizona State University’s Sustainability, Energy, Education and Knowledge-sharing (SEEK) Project; Soka Gakkai International; the Center for Earth Ethics, Faith & the Common Good; and Interfaith Power and Light

More about the organizations: PoWR got its start by fostering interfaith dialogue in 1893 at the first World’s Fair in Chicago. EDN traces its history to 1970, when 20 million Americans took to the streets on the first Earth Day to usher in the modern environmental movement.