Faith demands justice at Paris climate talks

Youth hold symbols of creation during an ecumenical celebration at the Cathredral of Notre Dame de Paris during the COP21 climate talks taking place in nearby Le Bourget, December 3, 2015.

Worshippers hold a symbolic globe during an ecumenical celebration at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris during the COP21 climate talks taking place in nearby Le Bourget, France, December 3, 2015.

I spent a week in Paris but never saw the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. Good thing I’d seen the sights on previous visits, because my assignment for the Lutheran World Federation kept me busy nearly every waking moment I was on the ground. The LWF joined ecumenical advocacy efforts by the World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance to bring the voices of those most affected by climate change to the political leaders who would be influencing the negotiations for a new climate treaty. Two of their key awareness-raising initiatives were the Fast for the Climate and People’s Pilgrimage. A gallery of my images are available (and free to use with attribution) on the WCC photo site here.

The LWF delegation was made up of seven youth delegates from around the world, plus their general secretary, Martin Junge, and two staff. I really enjoyed working with them and look forward to the potential for future assignments—fingers crossed for COP22 in Marakesh! You can continue to follow their work on the LWF for Climate Justice Facebook page. Scroll down there and you’ll see some of the images and videos I produced for them. Here are some of my favorite moments:

Nityalila Saulo (center) leads participants in the Philippines and Rome to Paris segments of the People's Pilgrimage to the COP21 climate summit in singing at a welcome service at Paroisse Saint Merri, Paris, France, November 27, 2015.

Nityalila Saulo (center) leads participants from the Philippines and Rome to Paris segments of the People’s Pilgrimage to the COP21 climate summit in singing at a welcome service at Paroisse Saint Merri, Paris.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, dances with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of South Africa to celebrate some 1.8 million signatures on an interfaith petition for climate justice during the COP21 climate summit in Paris, France, November 28, 2015.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, dances with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of South Africa to celebrate some 1.8 million signatures on an interfaith petition for climate justice.

French police stand guard at the Le Bourget metro station as delegates arrive for the COP21 United Nations climate summit in Paris, France.

French police prepare to welcome delegates at the Le Bourget metro station.

Climate justice activists organized by ACT Alliance stage a protest stunt during the COP21 UN climate summit in Paris, France.

Climate justice activists organized by ACT Alliance stage a protest.

An interfaith group of religious leaders sits in front of empty trays during a public action promoting the Fast for the Climate campaign during the COP21 UN climate summit in Paris, France.

An interfaith group of religious leaders sits in front of empty trays during a public action promoting the Fast for the Climate campaign.

I also shot a number of short videos for social media. Here are a few highlights, you can see the rest on the LWF Youth YouTube channel.