As unusually heavy thunderstorms claimed eight lives in Durban, South Africa on the evening of Sunday, November 27, delegates gathered for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 17) were reminded of the real human costs of global warming.
Also held on the summit’s eve was a climate justice rally that hoped to bring home the message of our moral responsibility to preserve the Earth. Supreme Master Television brings us this report.
Correspondent (M): Coinciding with the start of the COP 17 summit in Durban, South Africa, the multi-faith rally, “We Have Faith – Act Now for Climate Justice,” was held at Kings Park stadium.
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu – Nobel Peace Prize laureate (M): What we can’t see are the angels who are surrounding us.
Christiana Figueres - Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (F): We take the energy that you have here today, and we take it into the negotiations.
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane – COP 17 president, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (F): As incoming COP president, I make a commitment that your petition will be taken seriously and that it will receive the attention it deserves.
Christiana Figueres - Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (F): Do not give up, save your energies, and continue your prayers. Thank you.
Presiding at the rally was South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who emphasized that humanity must now unite to stop the biggest threat ever of greenhouse gas pollution.
The rally was attended by leaders and members of faiths that included Anglican, Jewish, Buddhist, traditional African, and others, including COP 17 president Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane – COP 17 president, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (F): We are hoping that parties will come together and be guided in the spirit of saving multilateralism in saving the planet. So we are all here to work together to provide global leadership so as we make sure that we come up with an outcome that’s balanced, that’s realistic.
Correspondent (M):Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres, who was also present, made a statement acknowledging that the participants' voices were being heard. Lending their support as well were celebrity artists such as South Africa’s Grammy-winning group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka who performed in a concert.
The petition titled “We Have Faith,” signed by some 200,000 concerned citizens, calling on world leaders to commit to a fair, ambitious, and legally binding agreement to replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol, as well as funding to help Africa adapt to climate change, was then delivered to COP 17 leaders.
The Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association also participated with materials to promote the organic vegan solution to climate change, which many agreed is a crucial way to honor the Earth.
Rabbi Hillel Avidan – Durban, South Africa (M): The methane gas from cattle and other domestic animals are a primary cause of the greenhouse effect. It is so costly to produce beef, mutton. Much cheaper to produce crops. So people really should consider giving up the eating of meat.
Correspondent (M): Supreme Master Television, reporting from Durban, South Africa.
VOICE: Bravo and our appreciation, Your Eminence Archbishop Tutu, and all leaders and participants of this energizing rally for coming together toward the noble goal of protecting lives. May the concerted efforts of government leaders and citizens alike help to save and restore the beauty of our shared planet.
Yvonne Chaka Chaka (F): Hi, my name is Yvonne Chaka Chaka and you’re watching Supreme Master Television. And we’re here in Durban at COP 17. Healthy living, good environment, let’s make it with our own two hands. It can be done.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Grammy-winning artists, South Africa (M): For COP 17 Durban: Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save the Planet!
VOICE: Speaking in an August 2011 videoconference in Chicago, USA, Supreme Master Ching Hai urged leaders of all faiths and beliefs to join in inspiring humanity toward a safer future for the Earth.