The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development collaborated with the Interfaith Declaration on Climate Change in organizing interfaith press conferences at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-17) in Durban, South Africa in late 2011. The press conference featured respected religious leaders and scientists, who underscored the seriousness of global climate change already underway, and called for immediate action. They highlighted the unprecedented string of climate and weather catastrophes experienced globally in 2011, including over $50 billion in damages in the United States alone. The protracted impasse of recent years’ negotiations was counterbalanced by a hopeful and forceful note sounded by the religious leaders and scientists, which was publicized in numerous international media outlets.
The religious leaders emphasized the importance of faith-based initiatives to promote change. This position, shared by a growing number of religious leaders, communities and faith-based organizations world-wide, represents an important new direction. Spiritual communities, in addition to praying for appropriate moral and ethical behavior, are pressing for fundamental changes in society through what might be called pulpit power. The Interfaith Declaration on Climate Change aims to further the spirit of activism in the face of slow action by governments.
The Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA) and the Abibimman Foundation of Africa also collaborated in putting on the conferences. The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development received support from the Julia Burke Foundation for its work on this initiative.