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Why I Care: Summit of Conscience for the Climate

June 5, 2015:

Paris is the host of the UN Climate Change talks in December

Why do you care about the environment?

A groundbreaking summit, hosted by the French Government in Paris on July 21st, will bring together major religious and moral figures ahead of the December 2015 UN climate change talks (Paris COP 2015) to ask exactly that.

Its unique aim is to encourage the emergence of a “narrative of conscience” on the climate and the environment.

"It is designed to remind everyone – including: delegates to the COP, faith leaders, artists, economists, UN officials and young people around the world – that protecting the planet is a deeply personal issue and ultimately our responsibility as passionate individuals,” said ARC Secretary General Martin Palmer who has been acting as consultant on the programme.

People are asked to say 'Why do I care?' about the climate
"What is unique about this project is that the faiths, along with the arts and other cultural organizations, are asking a deeply personal question – ‘why do I care’," Palmer said.

The summit will invite prestigious speakers, including faith leaders, Nobel Prize Laureates and personalities involved in humanitarian action, to share their wisdom and personal reflections on the Climate and the Environment with a specially invited audience of 300 people.The audience includes experts on the climate and environment, ambassadors from the countries of the COP delegates, influential representatives from a diverse range of faith and secular communities and youth ambassadors. The talks will encourage each speaker and guest to pause and reflect on their commitment to the planet through a simple question – ‘Why do I care?’.

Alongside the summit, a communication campaign will raise public awareness and mobilize people across the globe by asking everyone to reflect on and share their answers to ‘Why do I care?’, either through social media, print, video or conversation.

Twitter hashtag #WhyICare and follow

In December there is yet another COP on climate change, this time hosted by the French government in Paris. Uniquely, alongside all the usual diplomatic UN protocol, President Francois Hollande of France decided a new approach was need if this COP was not to go the way of virtually all the previous ones.

He appointed a special envoy, Nicolas Hulot, famous in France as the main television presenter on wildlife and environmental issues. Nicolas’s brief was to change the nature of the discourse around, not just the COP, not just climate change, but our relationship with the whole of nature of which we are a part.

In discussion with ARC's Secretary General Martin Palmer a project was born, which will have as its focus this groundbreaking Summit of Conscience for the Climate.

When Hulot asked Palmer what was needed, he said: “What is needed is a change of ethos. Not ethics. Ethos. And ethos is what faiths, the arts, the wonderfully diverse cultures of our planet do best. Many want faiths to be moral teachers, to give a list of ethical reasons why something should or should not be done.

But the world’s faiths, with very few exceptions, do not teach ethics. They inspire through the ethos of everything we do – how we raise our children’ share food and drink with strangers; celebrate as well as fast; repent but also rejoice; sing and dance as well as sit quietly reflecting.”

More details

Twitter hashtag #WhyICare and follow
More details about how you can be involved will be made available on the website at the press conference and launch of 'Why do I care' in Paris on June 24th.

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