The Climate Crisis and New York Faith Communities
Thursday, October 8th, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
Cosponsored by ICNY and
This conference has now passed — deepest thanks to all our partners, presenters, and participants!
The climate crisis poses an existential threat to New York City, and indeed to our entire world. Global warming, sea-level rise, devastating storms, and the many other effects of carbon pollution are an imminent threat to public health, food and water security, and the sustainable development of human societies. Marginalized communities in New York and elsewhere are uniquely vulnerable, as they face a future of displacement and dislocation. With the United States posed to withdraw from landmark climate treaties, it is more critical than ever for local leaders to work together on real solutions. In 2013, New York City adopted the OneNYC 2050 strategic plan, to secure the city’s future and confront the climate crisis, for example by achieving carbon neutrality and 100% clean electricity. Real progress has been made in the past seven years, but there’s more for all New Yorkers to do, and faith leaders have a unique role to play.
In all of our diverse religious traditions, faith-based eco-justice organizations have taken up the ministry of environmental stewardship – caring for the earth and its creatures, out of their abiding love for both creation and creator. But too many faith communities and congregations have been slow to address the climate crisis. This conference will catalyze much-needed action, by exploring the role of faith-based organizations in confronting the climate crisis. Why, we will ask, is combating climate change a moral imperative according to diverse faith traditions? How does this essential work intersect with efforts to promote racial and economic justice? How can faith leaders spark discussions of the climate crisis in their own congregations, among policymakers, and in the broader society?
See below for the schedule.
Questions? Please contact Hanadi Doleh, ICNY’s Program Associate for Community Partnerships, at [email protected]
9:00 – 9:15 Welcome, Opening Reflections, and Land Acknowledgements
Hanadi Doleh, Program Associate for Community Partnership, Interfaith Center of New York
Owl, Ramapough Lenape Tribe
9:15 – 10:30 Panel Discussion: Faith-Based Perspectives on Climate Change
Religiously diverse community leaders and service providers will share lessons from their work, and perspectives from their faith traditions. How have they worked to respond to the climate crisis? What challenges did they face and how did they overcome them? Speakers will include:
Imam Saffet Catovic, Co-Founder and Chair, Green Muslims of New Jersey
Rick Chavolla, Board Chair, American Indian Community House
Gopal D. Patel, Co-Founder and Director, Bhumi Global
Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, Founder and CEO, Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action
10:30 – 10:40 Break
10:45 – 12:00 Keynote Dialogue: Building an Environmentally Sustainable City
Leading advocates and policymakers will explore the politics of the climate crisis and New York City’s sustainability plan as well as climate justice and faith-based perspectives. Speakers will be:
Karenna Gore, Founder and Director, The Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary
Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice
Daniel Zarrilli, Chief Climate Policy Advisor and OneNYC Director, NYC Office of the Mayor
12:00 – 12:05 Prayer
Dharmachari Ananta, Triratna New York
12:05 – 12:10 Break
12:10 – 12:55 Reflection and Next Steps – What Can You Do in Your Congregation or Community?
A Zoom town hall discussion, and reflection on the day’s conversations. Above all to discuss the next steps toward action – what will we take back to our congregations and communities from today’s conference? What can we do to support New Yorker City faith communities addressing climate change and economic sustainability? Introduced and facilitated by:
Rabbi Burt Visotzky, Director, Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue at Jewish Theological Seminary
12:55 – 1:15 Break
1:15 – 2:00 Multifaith Ritual Celebrating New York’s Rivers
Join religious and indigenous leaders in an interfaith ceremony offering prayers for the conservation and importance of the sacredness of water. The pre-recorded ceremony highlights several faith traditions and communities that are at risk because of climate disruption. There will be an opportunity after the video for conference participants to share a short prayer from their faith traditions.