COP 26 Day 1 Report from Rev. Susan Hendershot

Oct 31, 2021 | Blog |

By Rev. Susan Hendershot, IPL President

Attending the Talanoa Dialogue this evening hosted at the Garnethill Synagogue as a part of Scottish Interfaith Week, I was struck by the young Quaker man who spoke of his anger and frustration in working on climate change. He said that hope can be difficult because people say that these climate negotiations at COP26 aren’t going to move us forward, but that he is choosing to come here with hope.

As I reflect on the idea of hope, I think about the very clear way that I felt it earlier today. I attended an Interfaith Prayer Vigil with IPL Board member Vy Nguyen and United Methodist representative John Hill in Glasgow’s George Square, where speakers from multiple spiritual traditions, including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, and many others, led us in prayer and reflection from their tradition on care for Earth, our common home. Our traditions are different, and some would use this as a way to divide us. But it is in our solidarity, our common humanity, that we can make a path forward in this crisis. That is cause for hope.

The city of Glasgow has welcomed us with open arms, and yet we know that not everyone who needs to be here is here. With Covid vaccine inequity, many of our siblings from the Global South are not able to attend COP26. A global crisis needs global solutions, and those who are being impacted worst are also those who contributed least to historic global emissions. They should be at the table. We must work in solidarity to increase ambition to meet this moment, our best chance of halting runaway climate change.

There is a moral opportunity for religion to lead, and I’m grateful to see so many leaders from faith-based organizations here to demonstrate that we will not squander this opportunity. Let us lead with hope, courage, justice, and love.

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