WCC- Neddy Astudillo, who coordinates work with Latin American communities for the organization GreenFaith, based in Florida (USA), reflects below on her role at COP27, and why she believes churches have the power to make a difference.
Astudillo believes it’s important to share information about climate change with many different communities, not just a few.
“For Latin Americans who migrate to the United States, there are particular issues that affect us,” she said. “We speak a different language than the dominant language—English—so sometimes we need support and resources in ways that makes sense to our culture, and make sense to our language.”
GreenFaith also values its ecumenical work, Astudillo said.
“We work with faith communities as a way to build movement and build power,” she said. “The answers that the world needs today require all of us to join in the effort for climate justice.”
Astudillo attended COP27 as part of an interfaith and multi-faith delegation. “We are here to witness how the world finds a way to tackle the climate crisis,” she said. “We feel that the spirituality that we have—it’s a very key element to response to our challenges today, from the call to justice, from the call to protect the most vulnerable, from the call to love one another.”
Faith communities know about sacrifice, Astudillo added.
“We are called to bring our spiritual gifts, that all our faith traditions have, and are meant to protect life, and I think we still have the power to protect life if we use the spiritual gifts that God has given us,” she said.
She started each day at COP27 praying and hoping she’d be led to speak to the right people. She asked many people: “How are you assessing what needs to be done to respond to climate change?”
She also connected with other people of faith to see how they can be partners.
“It is time to speak up,” she said. “In our action and in our working together, is when we can find a solution so we can avoid a major crisis.”
She had a message for every sector of society: “It is time to unite and do our part for climate justice, time to protect the most vulnerable communities and the next generations.”