U.N. Climate Conference focus of Dec. 4 vigil

Staff Report

Rockford climate activists are holding a candlelight vigil at 5 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 4, to bring awareness to the United Nations (U.N.) Climate Conference taking place in Lima, Peru. The group will gather by the Rock River at the corner of East State and North Water streets by candlelight to share poems, songs by Kendra Beth Swanson of the band Dirt Simple, and information about the climate crisis.

More than 200 governments are preparing to meet for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Lima starting this week (Dec. 1-12) to lay the foundation for an effective new, universal climate change agreement in Paris in 2015 while also raising immediate ambition to act on climate change in advance of the agreement coming into effect in 2020.

The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has this year warned against rising sea levels, storms and droughts as a result of unchecked greenhouse gas emissions, and highlighted the many opportunities of taking climate action.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said in a press release Nov. 28: “Never before have the risks of climate change been so obvious and the impacts so visible. Never before have we seen such a desire at all levels of society to take climate action. Never before has society had all the smart policy and technology resources to curb greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience.”

Local Forest City 350 organizer and retired pastor Jim Roberts explained that this action will be part of hundreds of vigils happening around the world. “Rockford is part of an enveloping energy field of prayer and passion for life on this creation,” Roberts said. “We want to be part of the Great Turning: moving beyond exploiting the Earth to a mutually beneficial presence on the Earth where all our institutions — education, science, engineering, law, and economics, religion and the arts — proclaim the grandeur of existence and our mysterious and interdependent destiny with the whole Creation.”

The candlelight vigil is free and open to the public. For more information, visit Forest City 350’s webpage: http://forestcity350.wix.com/ecos.

About 350.org: 350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the Earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. Learn more at http://350.org.

From the Dec. 3-9, 2014, issue

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