Reflecting the CSW58 priority theme of “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls,” over the coming months Ecumenical Women will be posting stories about our individual member organizations’ efforts to implement the MDGs. What follows is the first of such stories about how the Lutheran World Federation is working to combat climate change, which is related to MDG #7.

Over the last two weeks, representatives from national governments and civil society are gathered in Warsaw, Poland, for the 19th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Parties discussed the framework for a new global agreement that includes actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as actions to help the world’s most vulnerable people and communities adapt to a changing climate that is already impacting lives and livelihoods.

Even as the delegates gathered in Warsaw, a devastating typhoon hit the Philippines, taking lives and changing the shape of communities, perhaps forever. Although a single weather event like Typhoon Haiyan cannot easily be attributed to climate change, this unprecedented storm is what scientists predict will become all too common if we fail to act soon to curb emissions.

The tone of conversations in Warsaw was set on the first day of the conference, when Commissioner Yeb Saño of the Philippines made a heart-felt and impassioned plea on behalf of his people for swift and strong action to combat climate change. As part of his statement he announced that he was beginning a voluntary fast until such time as the global community made significant progress in responding to the global climate crisis.

Commissioner Saño’s speech inspired delegates from around the world to fast in solidarity with the people of the Philippines and for all those devastated by a changing climate. The Lutheran World Federation delegation in Warsaw, made up of young adults from around the world, together with other ecumenical youth formed a “fasting chain” that lasted until the end of the conference – this past Friday, 22 November, with at least one youth/young adult delegate fasting each day. Check out the LWF Youth Blog for more information on the Federation’s delegation.