On Sunday September 21st, 2014 more than 300,000 people turned out for the People’s Climate march in New York City just days before many of the world’s leaders were expected to debate environmental action at the United Nations climate summit. This event was said to be the largest climate march in history. High-profile environmentalists including Bill McKibben, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Goodall and Vandana Shiva marched alongside policymakers such as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Vice President Al Gore.
Peoples of faith including thousands of Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Indigenous people were in attendance. Many Franciscans led by the Franciscans Action Network (FAN) marched together singing and waving placards calling for protection of mother earth. Br. Benedict Ayodi OFM Cap. (director of the office of JPIC ) represented Capuchin Franciscan friars around the world. He was joined by many other friars from the US and some Franciscans International (FI) representatives from New York and Geneva.
I and many other Franciscans participated this march because we believe that climate change is a reality and that we stand at a critical moment of Earth’s history. Social, economic and environmental crises call for an assessment of our current situation,and for the discovery of effective ways to promote responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, to future generations and to our planet.
We as Franciscans following in the footsteps of our founding father Francis of Assisi (the patron saint of environment) are in solidarity with all others calling for policies and actions to protect and conserve our environment. We need to act now because we have only one atmosphere, our planet mother Earth.