“The initiative “Faith in the Climate” was present at the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week, represented by Mother Flavia Pinto, a religious leader from the Casa do Perdão and one of the founders of Faith in the Climate and by me, Moema Salgado, the coordinator of the initiative. We had the opportunity to attend different debates, panels, and lectures on the climate crisis and the efforts of mitigation. Many of the debates presented innovative experiences, in most cases occurring at the local level (municipal and state) – which reinforced, for us, the confirmation that the sub-national level is and will be the most appropriate area for strategies of resilience and action to combat global warming.
Despite the richness of the debates and presentations and the presence of young people, the lack of racial and ethnic diversity at the venues of the Climate Week drew our attention: there were very few indigenous or black men and women, which demonstrates the need to expand the participation of a diverse civil society in these discussion and decision-making areas.
In this context of the Climate Week and amid the days marked by the sharp increase of the fires in the Amazon forest, Faith in Climate, in partnership with the Koinonia organization and the Baptist Church of Nazareth, promoted on August 23, the debate “Faith and climate change: religion, environment and preservation” in the Vovó Conceição Cultural Venue, at the Terreiro da Casa Branca, one of the oldest Candomblé sites in Salvador. The meeting included Mother Flavia Pinto, from the Casa do Perdão (Rio de Janeiro), Ekedy Neci Neves, from Ilê Axé Torrun Gunan (Salvador), Pastor Joel Zefferino, from the Baptist Church of Nazareth (Salvador) and Ane Alencar, from Pará and the director of Sciences at IPAM (Institute for the Environmental Research of the Amazon region), which has researched the impacts of climate change and the deforestation due to forest fires in the Amazon region for over 20 years.
With respect to science and her years of study in the Amazon, Ane Alencar spoke of the need to combat the criminal and destructive speculation of land in the Amazon region and how this process has brutally accelerated deforestation and, as a consequence, the warming of the climate locally and nationally. Ekedy Neci Nevis highlighted the local experiment of relocation of quilombo communities and the difficulty in making public spheres respect the traditional practices of Candomblé in the urbanization process of the cities: “In our experience, the trees are temples”. Pastor Joel spoke of the symbolism of biblical texts, emphasizing that “in the Christian tradition, the existence has its beginnings in the GARDEN,” and he recalled the immense inequalities suffered by the majority of the population, excluded by a system that only seeks profit and the enrichment of the few. Finally, Mother Flavia spoke of the concept of temporality, underlining that human existence is much older than 2019 years and that the knowledge and practices of traditional people are ancestral and how they have always looked after the relationship with nature and the environment. Mother Flavia also mentioned the importance in rescuing the notion of the sacred feminine: “The feminine is the creator and reproducer of force.”
Those present actively participated in the reflections and, according to their testimonials, they left even more committed to act personally and together, in the defense of the environment, as an affirmation of their faith and based on their knowledge of science.” Moema Salgado, coordinator of the initiative Faith in the Climate