As the sun went down over the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday, December 7, dozens of people of multiple faiths gathered at the Jaffa Gate to march with solar lights around the ramparts.
The unusual demonstration was part of a global interfaith climate action, building on the momentum from the People’s Climate March in September. Corresponding with the December 1-12 UN Conference of Parties climate talks in Lima, Peru, faith groups have held solar-lantern events, dubbed #LightForLima, in 13 countries to call for progress toward an international agreement on climate change.
The Jerusalem event was organized by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD) in conjunction with interfaith discussions on climate change held at Jerusalem University College on Mount Zion.
“This event shows that people of many faiths can come together in Jerusalem to promote a sustainable future for us and our children. It also helps to show the possibility of interfaith collaboration to overcome tension in Jerusalem,” said ICSD Executive Director Rabbi Yonatan Neril.
In a green twist on the religious tradition of candle-lit vigils, many of the gatherings used solar lamps. For each solar lamp used in #LightforLima, the charitable organization SolarAid is delivering two lamps to African rural communities to replace dangerous kerosene lanterns.
#LightForLima was coordinated by OurVoices.net, a multifaith, global climate campaign. Leaders from Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Christian communities led events, while religious leaders from several traditions wrote prayers specifically for the campaign to encourage followers to pray for world leaders during the Lima meetings.
Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth, an international network of Jewish leaders, plans an OurVoices.net Hanukkah initiative next week.