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“When men see Me for the first time and know Me for what I am, they will find themselves changing inwardly.
Many will for a time return to the joy of childhood and find the world a better home thereby. Many will feel strengthened in their desire to serve and to place themselves in the forefront of change. These are the ones on whom I shall call for the task of replenishment of man’s spirit and joy.
Believe if you can that I am with you, ready to use My strength on your behalf.
Believe, if you can, My friends, that I am eagerly awaiting the day of My open return.”
Readers will notice that this message is from Maitreya, the World Teacher, rather than Benjamin Creme’s Master. It was given, by a process of mental telepathy through Benjamin Creme, on 7 October 2014.
[This article from Share International magazine, November 2014.]
Q. (1) Is Maitreya still giving television interviews in China? (2) What is the total in China now?
A. (1) No. [As of 8 October] Maitreya has stopped interviews in China for the moment; I was informed on 8 October that He would be going to the Middle East on Friday 10 October to help the situation there. The aim is to reconcile the various warring groups. (2) He has now given 11 interviews in China; three more since the last issue of Share International.
Q. Please be so kind as to give an overview showing how many interviews Maitreya has given in each country so far.
A. USA: 29 interviews (January 2010-January 2011); Mexico: 14 (January-September 2011); Brazil: 41 (September 2011-January 2013); Russia: 51 (January 2013-May 2014); China: 11 (May-September 2014). A total of 146 interviews so far.
Q. Pro-democracy protests started in Hong Kong recently; was there any connection between the demonstrations and Maitreya’s broadcasts in China?
A. Yes, indeed. People are waking up and beginning to take action on their own behalf.
Q. Is Maitreya speaking more ‘forcefully’ or with greater ‘urgency’ than He did in for example 2010 and 2011?
Q. (1) Are Maitreya’s ideas having a greater impact now than they did when His interviews first started? (2) Are those who hear Maitreya more open and more galvanized now than His earlier audiences? (3) Are His ideas now considered more realistic; do people see more readily how they could be implemented?
A. (1) Yes. (2) Yes. (3) Yes.
Q. On 27 September 2014 there was a sudden volcanic eruption in Mount Ontake, Japan, in which over 50 people were killed or injured. This was so sudden and unexpected it makes one think that it had some unknown purpose or cause. Could you please comment?
A. This eruption was quickly manifested by Maitreya and the Masters to prevent a far greater tragedy that would have devastated a major city, causing thousands of deaths and huge destruction above and below ground. It is reminiscent of the time (1980) when Mount St Helens in Washington State, USA, erupted to save an even greater tragedy in the States of Washington and Oregon.
Q. Rallies and marches on the issue of climate change took place in more than 160 countries on 21 September 2014, including an estimated 400,000 people in New York City. It was called the largest mobilization of people against climate change ever. (1) How important do you think this global demonstration of people power will be for galvanizing action on climate change? (2) Is this day of protest a reflection of humanity’s response to Maitreya’s energies and presence in the world, and if so, will it tend to bring forward Maitreya’s Day of Declaration?
A. (1) Very important. (2) Yes, and yes.
Q. (1) In the book Esoteric Healing, by Alice Bailey, it is said that the scourge of influenza has its roots in fear and worry. What is the root cause of the Ebola virus? (2) Will we discover a treatment to stop this pandemic soon? And will we develop a vaccine to prevent it in the near future?
A. (1) The virus is awakened by man’s destructive and competitive greed. (2) Eventually, yes.
Q. Do you think there will still be an economic collapse worldwide before the Day of Declaration?
A. Yes, I believe so – it is an inevitable collapse of the present totally corrupt system.
Q. Does hyper-sensitivity physically and emotionally indicate that a person is highly evolved?
A. No – it could be the contrary.
Q. Since our effort and effectiveness has a direct bearing on the date of the Day of Declaration (see Jan/Feb 2014 Share International short interview with Benjamin Creme) can the same be said for the speed of transformation of the world after the Day of Declaration?
A. Yes. The world transformation does not happen by itself – as Maitreya has said, “Man must act and implement his will”.
Q. Is the unified focus of the group important for future group work with Hierarchy?
A. Obviously, yes.
Q. Will the groups now working with you to inform the public about the Emergence of Maitreya and the Masters continue to be useful to the Masters and to work with them after Declaration Day?
A. Yes, if they make themselves available, they are expected to do so.
Q. I get the impression that some co-workers think you need to ‘work up’ a feeling of unity and that it should feel ‘cosy and fluffy’. People seem to think they ought to spend more ‘getting to know you’ time together. Your comments, please? Is that what’s required, really?
A. Unity has nothing to do with sentimentality. It either exists or it does not.
Q. Regarding the ‘Letters to the Editor’ published in Share International magazine, what is the difference between a disciple, a spokesman and a familiar? (1) Does a disciple work more closely with a Master than a spokesman? (2) If a familiar is a thoughtform created by one of the Masters, can a disciple or spokesman be a familiar or are they in all cases a ‘real’ person?
A. (1) Yes. (2) The ‘familiar’ is only created by a Master.
I was taking part in the climate march in Paris on 21 September 2014.
Near the end of the march, we stopped while the crowd reached our final destination, the Hotel de Ville Place. I was holding high my big colourful 'SOP Save Our Planet' banner, waiting for the march to resume.
Suddenly, a man with a big face, wearing an immaculate, light-coloured grey suit crossed the street with a gentle and calm but brisk attitude. He had incredible blue eyes and I was struck that he was not looking at the people in front of him but rather at the thousands of people present in the street. It looked like he was profoundly examining every banner held high over the crowd. I held my breath as he passed in front of me. He made a short stop and stared intensely at my 'SOP' sign. He said briefly and firmly: "That! Yes, I agree with." Then the march resumed.
After a week, I am still impressed by this man, so I wonder if it would be that this man was a Master?
P.C., Le Havre, France.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that the man was Maitreya.)
Yesterday, on 11 October 2014, we held our annual lecture in Amsterdam, Holland.
The hall was full but there were also some stragglers. Among the latecomers was a Tibetan-looking gentleman: it had been raining and he was soaked. He had a very distinguished appearance.
As the hall was really full I rushed over to him with my chair so that he didn't have to look for a seat. The Tibetan looking gentleman came to me and said: "Here we are again. I was also here last year". He reminded me (the penny hadn't dropped yet!) about my meeting with him last year at the lecture. (See letter 'The one who knows', SI, Dec 2013.) I suddenly remembered every detail of our previous meeting. He was impressed that I knew what had happened last year in great detail because I must see many people.
At that moment I realized that He must be the Master Jesus. I immediately thanked Him for His attending the lecture again. He also asked me how long I had been doing this work as a volunteer. I said, eight years or so, because I've lost count.
What amazed me was that this time His Dutch was flawless like a native speaker. I could only hear the sound of His voice and all the other people as a murmur in the background.
During the lecture He sat beside photographs showing Maitreya as the Kalki Avatar on a white horse during the Egypt demonstration in Tahrir Square. He stayed for the whole of the lecture.
Was He the Master Jesus?
A.A., Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that the man was indeed the Master Jesus.)
During August 2014 I felt guided to travel to California for the first time. It was a wonderful few weeks and I feel as though a special range of beneficial cleansing nature's energies were absorbed staying at Ojai and Sequoia National Park. However it was during my week at Mount Shasta that I feel something special occurred, from my first moment on the mountain; as though I was downloaded with concentrated spiritual energies of some sort that are still filtering and settling in me, that I sense are driving me forward in my evolution. I have also since this trip noticed an increased awareness of my thought movements and synchronistic events. Did something particular occur and what is happening within me now?
R.W., The Hague, the Netherlands.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that you were given a blessing by one of the Masters on Mount Shasta.)
This summer of 2014, we were having a Share International booth in one of our street festivals in the Los Angeles metro area. A woman, simply described as a middle-aged woman, looking nothing unusual, came to the table, glanced at the materials we had displayed, then at our booth exhibits and asked me, "Do you have a local office, where the public can come and visit?" I said that we do not have a public office/center in Los Angeles, but that we are an international network of volunteers, and that some groups in the world do have a center where the public can come, thinking about the Share International center in Amsterdam. She repeated again: "So, you do not have a public center in Los Angeles?" I answered that we do not, but offered her a local phone number to call and our Share International website. She thanked me, did not take any information or materials and left. I started wondering, that in all the time that I have been working on Share International booths, I have never been asked such a question. Also, her question was so single-pointed, and our conversation was short, but I cannot forget her for some reason. Could you kindly tell me if this woman was a Master?
O.C., Los Angeles, CA, USA.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that the 'middle-aged woman' was not a Master, but a messenger for the Master Jesus.)
We live in Glastonbury and from our windows we can see the Tor. On 31 August 2014 at about 9.30pm my husband went out to look at the stars - something we do every evening before we go to bed. This time he knocked on the window urgently calling me to come outside.
Above the Tor was a spaceship hovering. It was silent. We could see it was round with white lights and it kept turning as though it wanted us to have a good look at it. Then it tilted so we could see that underneath it had coloured lights. We saw some flashing lights but we don't know if they came from the spacecraft or whether someone was taking photos up on the Tor.
The craft disappeared behind the trees but a few minutes later it was back again. It did this for about an hour.
(1) Could you please say which planet it came from? (2) Did it tilt and hover so to allow us to see as much as possible of it?
P.D., Glastonbury, UK.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that (1) the object was a spaceship from Mars. (2) Yes.)
On 4 September 2014 I was having lunch in a Parisian restaurant and reading the September issue of Share International magazine.
I had just finished reading the article by Rabbi Michael Lerner, which provoked in me a profound emotion and a deep feeling of love and compassion for humanity. I looked through the window and then I saw in the street an old man dressed like the old Jewish men from Eastern Europe I have seen in some old pictures from the beginning of the 20th century. He had a long white beard and wore a hat. He was begging for money but nobody seemed to feel touched by him. I did and I decided to take him some bread and give it to him. I felt compassion and sympathy for him, especially when I saw him stare at the window of a bookstore with a lot of curiosity. Then he left. I could not stop thinking about him and I left the restaurant trying to find the man, when a very tall middle-aged Caribbean man smiled and said hello to me. I felt as if he knew what I was doing and he approved. I finally found the old man and gave him a coin but I felt bad about the idea of just giving him a piece of bread. Then I realized that we were standing in front of a bakery, I asked the man to wait and bought him a sandwich. I noticed that his face could be Jewish and Arab at the same time.
He said thank you to me while holding my hand with a lot of tenderness. I cannot stop thinking about these two men.
(1) Was the Caribbean man just somebody, who felt sympathy for me or was he 'somebody special'? (2) And the old man, was he perhaps 'somebody special' too?
J. J., Paris, France.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that (1) the Caribbean man was the Master Jesus, and (2) the 'old man' was Maitreya.)
On 24 September 2014 while walking on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, California, I came upon a young, quite handsome man calmly sitting in the median way amidst busy traffic. He held a sign stating he was an Iraq veteran. We spoke for some time, and as I looked in his eyes, I thought, how is it that a homeless veteran has so much 'shen' in his eyes? The word 'shen' in eastern medicine refers to the life force that is visible in a person's eyes. And this Iraq veteran had a very strong life force energy in his eyes as well as a deep sense of calm and peace. His name was significant with meaning for me, initials R.H. I was filled with so much joy after speaking with him.
With respect, was this brother Maitreya or a Master of Wisdom?
B.B., Oakland, California, USA.
(Benjamin Creme's Master confirms that the man was Maitreya.)
Weeping icon of Archangel Michael, Iyalyssos, Rhodes, November 2013
Rhodes, Greece: A large and colourful icon of the Archangel Michael in the Sacred Church in the Old Cemetery of Ialyssos on the island of Rhodes began to weep tears in November 2013, and the orthodox bishop of Rhodes himself, Metropolitan Kyrillos, went to investigate. He verified that there were what looked like tears on the face of the Archangel, and asked for the icon to be moved so that the wall behind the icon could be examined. The wall was found to be dry which ruled out the possibility of moisture or damp penetrating the icon.
Satisfied that the icon’s tears could only be a miracle, the Metropolitan asked that the icon be brought to the Sacred Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in Ialyssos for public veneration, as well as to see if a change in environment would halt the phenomenon. According to the local vicar, Father Apostolos, the icon was made in 1896 and had recently undergone maintenance by the archaeological department.
In November 2013 the icon was still weeping in its new environment, sometimes stopping but then continuing again, and it is even reported that a second icon of the Archangel Michael is weeping in the original church as well. Large crowds have gathered to venerate the icon. (Source: tv.kosmos.gr; pravoslavie.ru)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that Maitreya is manifesting this miracle.)
Weeping icon of Theotokos (Madonna), Milan, April 2010
Milan, Italy: An icon of the Madonna in the Chapel of Saints Nicholas and Ambrose in Milan was confirmed to be weeping on 25 April 2010. This was the second time in two years that the icon of Madonna had been seen to weep in the presence of many visitors. The Madonna is also known as the Theotokos in the Orthodox tradition (the icon has Bulgarian Orthodox provenance).
The church authorities of the Metropolia did not report the previous occurrence, not wishing to attract undue speculation concerning such phenomena, but the tears were seen by many. Metropolitan Evloghios has officially confirmed that he and the other Bishops were witnesses to the event, but they are so far declining to speculate on the meaning of the event. (Original Source: Ortodossia-In-Occidente, Milan Archdiocese’s News Weblog)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that this was a miracle manifested by the Master Jesus.)
A.C. sent this photograph of light patterns that have appeared on her fence in North Massapequa, New York, USA, since 19 May 2014. “What a delight to see them outside my window every day,” she says. (Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms they were manifested by Maitreya in association with the Space Brothers.)
Patterns of light on a wall in Frome, UK, on 20 June 2014 at 7.30pm. Photograph sent by C.H., Frome, Somerset, UK.
In January 2013, while talking on the phone with a friend who had just lost his young son, I was attempting to give him hope, talking about reincarnation, and so on. Suddenly I felt the vibrations of the room going up, it was strange, fast and pleasant. The feeling was like when your head is coming out of water. I quickly took pictures of the place from where the vibrations were coming. Once the photos were on my computer screen, I could see the circle of light. Was it a manifestation caused by a Master?
Name withheld, France.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms this was a Blessing from the Master Jesus.)
Local magazine in Nîmes, France, La Gazette, published a report in September 2011, on the phenomenon of light patterns appearing on buildings in Nimes, saying they are as mysterious as crop circles.
My friend’s son spent a night in a hotel in Bristol and on waking the next morning, Wednesday 10 September 2014, found a large hand-print on the bathroom mirror. He says it was definitely not there the night before and when he tried to wipe it away it faded but then came back again. The strange thing was the mirror was completely dry apart from the hand-print which was damp, rather like condensation.
My friend’s son has quite large hands apparently but when he placed his hand on the print it was much bigger than his own. He didn’t know anything about Maitreya’s ‘Hand’ (although my friend does) but was sufficiently shocked and surprised to call his mother and send her a photo.
Could this be a sign?
M. I., Stoke on Trent, UK.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘Hand’ was manifested by Maitreya.)
We were returning to Tokyo after a video presentation at Koriyama-shi, Fukushima-ken, on 19 September 2014 at about 5pm, when we saw a cross formed out of cloud in the evening sky. Could you please say whether it was it a sign?
M.Y., Y. and O. T., Tokyo, Japan
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that it was a sign, manifested by a UFO from Mars.)
One of the crosses of light photographed by New Zealander W.H. in the windows of a shower room at a hostel in San Francisco, taken in August 2013 and August 2014. They were visible only at night and when the outside street lights were on. The circles of light were large and bright, and when a car approached in the driveway the effect was stunning.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the crosses of light were magnetized by Maitreya.)
by Monte Leach
The World Rainforest Fund, a nonprofit group founded in 1984, is dedicated to preserving biodiversity and saving rainforests worldwide, primarily tropical rainforests in Latin America. The group’s focus is on the Brazilian Amazon, the largest intact rainforest on Earth. The fund helps indigenous people save their rainforest homes; gives grants to nonprofit groups carrying out projects of special value to conserve rainforests; and educates the US public on the importance of preserving rainforests. David Seaborg, founder and president of the World Rainforest Fund, is an evolutionary biologist and a long-time environmental activist. Monte Leach interviewed David Seaborg for Share International.
Share International: What is the current situation regarding the destruction of tropical rainforest? Your website includes a dramatic statistic, that 300 acres are being destroyed every minute.
David Seaborg: That’s right. Three hundred acres per minute worldwide of tropical rainforests are being destroyed either through cutting or burning, which is about half the size of the state of California every year.
SI: During the time you have been involved with this issue, has it gotten any better or worse?
DS: Better and worse. Ecuador is making progress. Costa Rica has reserved a lot of its land. Brazil has slowed down the rate (until recently). On the other hand, it is speeding up in Indonesia and Malaysia mainly because of the production of palm oil – cutting bio-diverse forests to plant monocultures of oil palm trees to produce palm oil, which is used in many products. So it’s getting better in some areas, there are some victories, and it is getting worse in other countries.
SI: Overall, would you say it is getting better or worse?
DS: Overall, it’s getting worse but there is also more awareness. Both sides are getting stronger in the battle. The side fighting for reserves is getting more sophisticated, more knowledgeable, creating better alliances among environmental groups around the world, as well as with indigenous and local people, and winning a lot of victories, for example in Ecuador with the Ecuadorian government. So it’s not all negative. But there is a growing number of people in the world, and overpopulation puts pressure on the forest. There’s also more disparity between the rich and poor. Money gives the rich more power to take destructive actions and win.
SI: Could you talk about the work that your group has been doing and highlight some of the victories you’ve helped to achieve?
DS: One of our latest projects was in Ecuador where we are now focusing more attention. The Ecuadorian government was building a road, contrary to Ecuadorian law, which would have led into a 10,000 acre rainforest. According to scientists at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, this rainforest has the highest numbers of species per acre in the world. Last year we gave a grant of $3,500 to Fundacion OSA, a foundation run by a man who has done a lot of work saving and expanding Ecuador’s rainforest. He used our grant to hire people to inspect the road. They found that it was wider than approved by the Ecuadorian government. The grant was also used to print magazines to show the Ecuadorian government how destructive the road would be to this pristine rainforest. If the road were built, anyone who wanted to go in and cut and burn and exploit the forest for anything they could get for profit would do that.
This work convinced the Ecuadorian government to take away its approval of the road. We are now working to protect the forest permanently. But at least we saved the forest for now because the road would have led to its destruction. As the forest has such a high number of species, and we saved it for only $3,500, it appears that we may have set the record for the most species saved per donor dollar in history.
SI: Are there other World Rainforest Fund projects you’d like to mention?
A: We are also working with the Kaya Foundation. Kaya empowers people by providing microloans. They give loans with the stipulation that if one person cuts the forest and therefore breaks the agreement to sustainably harvest the forest, all of the people in the project lose their microloans. This model is a good one because it helps people monitor one other.
These microloans are in Quechua communities in Ecuador. Quechua Indians, the indigenous people, were offered money from oil companies to be allowed to come in and ‘develop’ the forest with oil drilling. But the Ecuadorian constitution says the oil companies need to have permission of the indigenous people or they can’t drill. The Quechua people are very poor so they are tempted by the money. At the same time they want to save their forest.
The Quechua have the expertise to create an organic farm, but they need the money to jump start it. If they can start an organic farm, they can eat the produce, sell the excess and tell the oil companies, “No”. This is a great project because if we don’t help them it is likely that the forest will be destroyed, but if we do help them the forest will be saved. We have already given a grant to The Kaya Foundation to get the project going. We want them to get a matching grant to double its power, so we are helping them set up this project on a crowd-funding website. They are using our grant as leverage to double the amount of funds available….
SI: In your public education efforts, do you find that most people are aware of why it is vital to protect the rainforest?
DS: Not always. Some people know, but some people only know part of the story. Rainforest is important because it controls the global climate in two ways. One is that photosynthesis takes carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, out of the atmosphere and adds oxygen. When trees are burned or cut, carbon dioxide is added back to the atmosphere so things get worse. It isn’t that you take away the ally by killing the trees. You turn an ally into an adversary because the trees are giving off carbon dioxide when they are burned or cut.
When a mega-dam is built, which floods the rainforest, methane is given off. Methane is 25 times more powerful a greenhouse gas, molecule for molecule, than carbon dioxide. So you have tremendous global warming effects there. When you cut the rainforest and raise cattle to produce hamburgers, the cattle give off methane.
Another way that deforestation affects climate is albedo, the reflectivity of the earth. When there is a green surface reflecting from the earth, that’s different than when you cut the trees and the surface becomes brown. That change in reflectivity changes air currents and rainfall patterns, causing floods and droughts. Local climate is also affected because the trees produce rainfall locally by the process of evapo-transpiration. The xylem of the tree takes water up to feed the leaves, and the water then comes out of the leaves. Half the water in the Amazon rainforest comes from trees, the other half from evaporation of the Atlantic Ocean.
This process works its way across in convections, circles, from the Atlantic, and through rain, and all the way to the Andes where it’s cold, condenses to snow, and melts and then feeds the rivers. When you cut the trees you break this cycle and get local droughts, and the local farmers and indigenous peoples can’t grow food.
When we affect global warming, this affects world food production by affecting rainfall. Floods and droughts are caused, instead of the rainfall falling normally on the farms. Plus, half the world’s species are in the rainforest. So we’re causing a mass extinction of the world’s species by destroying the rainforest.
SI: Working in this field for so many years, what do you think it will take from an environmental standpoint to make sure we survive on the planet?
DS: It will take a complete transformation in our thinking and outlook. Nature has a right to exist in itself and humans have a moral obligation to protect it. We need to have an awakening where we become aware of our ethical obligation to protect nature.
We also need an awakening of practical environmentalism, that we need the services of ecosystems in order to be able to grow our food and get our water.
We need an understanding of the magnitude and urgency of the problem – for example, global warming, which as I pointed out, is related to destruction of the rainforest. The destruction of rainforest is causing the glaciers in the Himalayan mountains to melt, which feeds seven rivers on the Asian continent. The water is necessary for 2 billion people and the ecosystems of the forest there. If the glaciers keep melting, at first there will be more water coming down, but then the glaciers, the source of the seven rivers, will be gone. Then the 2 billion people, plus all the wildlife and ecosystems, will have no water. That’s just one of many problems.
We are knocking out our ability to get water and produce food, so it will lead to the fall of many higher species of life and the human race itself. Either every human will die or we’ll at least have a fall of civilization and billions of people will die. There will be a tremendous mass extinction and catastrophe bigger than anything the human race has ever experienced. We need an awareness of the importance of this problem.
We have to get away from fossil fuels, get rid of coal as an energy source and go to solar, wind, certain biofuels, and conservation and energy efficiency. We have to reduce population because the world population is over 7 billion and doubles every 40 years. More mouths to feed, more people using energy, puts more strain on the planet. So we need to empower women to have access to birth control and abortion and not just be regarded as mothers but people who go out and work and have their own choices.
We need to get away from cars and airplanes and into public transportation and trains. We need to recycle as entire societies, everything recycled. We need to set aside reserves of biological hotspots. Twenty billion dollars is all it would take, maybe a little more, to preserve the 20 or so biological hotspots around the world. Hotspots mean the highest species diversity in the world. We need to set aside preserves, national parks worldwide, of rainforest and coral reefs. We need to empower the local, indigenous people to save the rainforest and also other ecosystems.
We need to get money out of the military and into helping with conservation and empowering and feeding people. We need to get rid of traditional agricultural systems and move toward organic agriculture. We need to transform corporate capitalism into a more just economic system, and redistribute the wealth so that there are not a few very rich and many poor people.
SI: How much time do we have to do all that?
DS: We don’t have much time. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) summarizes the findings of scientists worldwide on global climate change and publishes periodic reports. They get attacked by the climate deniers as being wrong. In fact, they are wrong but in the other direction.
SI: You think the IPCC is too conservative?
DS: Yes. The problem is much worse than even the IPCC reports and the news media present. The news media doesn’t give this nearly enough attention and doesn’t go into the seriousness of the problem nearly enough. So we really have to get it together and work very hard right away to prevent catastrophe.
For more information: www.worldrainforest.org.
On 21 September 2014 the largest-ever climate march made history, when 2,700 simultaneous climate events took place from Melbourne to Manhattan. Over 1 million people took to the streets in cities, towns and villages in more than 156 countries around the world to demand action on global warming. The events took place before the UN Climate Summit was held in New York on 23 September, hosted by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He took the unprecedented step of joining the marchers in New York, saying: “Action on climate change is urgent. The more we delay, the more we will pay in lives and in money. The climate summit that I am convening has two goals: to mobilize political will for a universal and meaningful climate agreement next year in Paris; and second to generate ambitious steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen resilience.”
The flagship People’s Climate March in New York was led by global indigenous and frontline communities hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. It attracted approximately 400,000 people including former US Vice-President Al Gore, primatologist Jane Goodall and Héctor Figueroa, president of the building service workers in New York, part of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the second largest labour union in the USA, who said: “We work in buildings that get flooded. We get hit by health epidemics like asthma that are rampant in our communities, and we care about the world that we will leave for our children and grandchildren.”
On the Canadian border with the USA, thousands of marchers from First Nations groups and local organizations travelled from Vancouver and Seattle, showing “climate change knows no borders”. They raised awareness of the destructive tar sands oil extraction and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas, with its unacceptable environmental destruction and increased carbon output. Keya Chatterjee, World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Renewable Energy Director said, “Our big successes have happened when people left their homes and went out in the streets…. Leaders must seize on this rallying cry and find a way to give the people what they want: climate action now.”
In Tanzania, the Maasai marched across their traditional lands to call for action to protect their homelands in the Serengeti from the impacts of climate change. Events also took place throughout Africa including Johannesburg, Togo, Niger, The Ivory Coast, and Benin as well as Nigeria.
In the Pacific Islands from Tonga to Tokelau, people rallied calling for ‘Action Not Words’. In rural Papua New Guinea, students from a primary school walked to a nearby lighthouse, which has become partly submerged due to rising sea levels. Noelene Nabulivou of Fiji, from Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DAWN) said: “Women of the Global South are tired of hearing politicians and other development partners give one excuse or another for why the strongest and most useful climate mitigation target of 1.5 degrees Celsius is not possible…. This march is to let everyone know, that the time is now!”
In London, 40,000 people marched to the Houses of Parliament as the bells of the churches rang out. A special prayer from Archbishop Desmond Tutu was used at all the climate marches. It is a prayer for ‘our leaders, custodians of Mother Earth, as they gather in New York City at the climate talks’, and asks that they may ‘negotiate with wisdom and fairness’.
Parades, marches and bicycle rides took place in Paris as 25,000 people took part in ‘Paris Marche pour le Climat’, and in Berlin over 10,000 people converged for a colourful festival at the Brandenburg Gate. In Rio, thousands marched on the beaches of Ipanema, after images were broadcast on the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW) and many local Quaker Meetings issued a joint statement: “This week, we join the People’s Climate March as members of this beautiful human family, seeking meaningful commitments from our leaders and ourselves, to address climate change for our shared future, the Earth, and the generations to come. We see this Earth as a stunning gift that supports life. It is our only home. Let us care for it together.”
Greenpeace presented a petition with 6 million signatures calling for the creation of an Arctic Sanctuary. Avaaz and interfaith groups also submitted a petition with over 2 million signatures demanding action to save the planet.
The Interfaith Summit on Climate Change was also held in New York on 21-22 September 2014 just before the UN summit. Faith leaders representing different faiths and religious traditions around the world delivered a statement to world leaders to express deep concern for the consequences of climate change on the Earth and its people. The statement highlighted the disproportionate effect of climate change on the lives, livelihoods and rights of poorer, marginalized and more vulnerable populations, including indigenous peoples. They called on governments to commit to limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius and to completely eliminate fossil fuel use by 2050. This would include joint actions such as short-term emissions cuts, phasing out fossil fuel subsides, coal caps or divestment from coal, large-scale forest protection, increased energy efficiency and other steps. Ultimately, the faith leaders requested all nations to work constructively towards a far-reaching, fair and legally binding global climate agreement in Paris in December 2015. This agreement will replace the Kyoto Protocol as the world’s most important treaty on climate change, and will require all countries to rethink their energy systems.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon invited heads of state to come to the New York summit with commitments on climate change that could be incorporated into the final deal. Many who took part in the process said that getting an early draft would be vital to the success of the final two-week Paris summit in 2015 – leaving details to the last minute could lead to further delay. The UN hopes that a draft agreement will be on the table before December 2014, when all parties will meet again in Lima, Peru, for further discussion.