1,450 kilometers ahead of the Climate Pilgrims in 77 stages. They want to reach Glasgow by November, where the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference is taking place. Karola Wiedemann from Climate Pilgrim for the background of the project.
KNA: Ms. Wiedemann is a worldwide climate pilgrimage in preparation for the 5th World Climate Summit. how did that happen?
Karola Wiedemann (Spokesperson for Climate Pilgrimage): In 2014 there was an initiative from the Catholic Diocese, Protestant regional churches and church aid organizations. As global players with their own worldwide organizations, the Churches wanted and wanted to take seriously their responsibility in the field of climate protection and climate change. That is why he established a worldwide network for climate justice with his own office in Hamburg. As a first joint action, the first worldwide pilgrimage to climate justice was launched for the 2015 World Climate Conference in Paris.
KNA: What can be gained from such action?
Wiedemann: Actions work because a large number of people participate and contribute. But you can also achieve a sign effect by contributing individuals with an exceptionally high level of commitment. For example, a Norwegian pastor walked all the way – from the Northern Cape to Paris – during the premiere in 2015. This time too, many climate pilgrims, the so-called pilgrims, will walk all the way.
At the same time, thousands make the pilgrimage – only a small part of the way, with individual daily steps or even more. Countless people support the pilgrimage with actions, prayers and strong discussions in the struggle for the most equitable and most effective solution for a more climate-friendly world, especially in host communities along the way.
KNA: How many people make the pilgrimage complete the route?
Wiedemann: This year more than 20 people cover a distance of about 1,500 kilometers from Poland to Scotland at the World Climate Conference. In addition to sleeping bags and sleeping mats, they also have a mission to have more climate protection in their luggage. Upon finishing in Glasgow, they hand over their petition to those responsible. Climate Pilgrims ensures that the voices of churches for greater climate justice and security are heard at the World Climate Conference. When churches speak so loudly and have a worldwide network behind them, delegates are impressed.
KNA: You’re currently beating the drums to inspire more climate pilgrims. why should you go with me
Wiedemann: The Climate Pilgrimage is a huge procession and pilgrimage as well as a very long performance. Pilgrims strengthen and inspire each other through community, through singing and prayer. Plus, they have a profound impact on society along the way. Along with their demonstrated commitment to greater climate justice and climate protection – particularly to change in agriculture, nutrition and mobility – the Pilgrims also take responsibility for the creation God has given us.
And his enthusiasm and drive is infectious. Pilgrims create something in people’s hearts, attract attention and reflect, they themselves are inspired to be active. Climate Pilgrimage also gives major churches a political voice in climate protection. So we’re happy for everyone who participated. You don’t even need to be Catholic for this.
KNA: How was the response of the first four pilgrimage routes?
Wiedemann: The response was overwhelming. Climate pilgrimage has reached an incredible number of people directly. The encouragement of politics, society and people along the way was also influential. Sometimes hundreds of people were traveling together; Many politicians or well-known personalities also came in the way and thus supported the cause.
In recent years there have been delegations from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Pilgrim groups from almost all European countries participated, as well as all age groups. Climate Pilgrimage is as international as the World Church. In 2015 we submitted a joint petition from two churches directly to the president of the Climate Change Conference; He was moved to tears.
KNA: Church aid organizations also support the network. How Are Catholic Heroes Involved in Climate Pilgrimage?
Wiedemann: From the Catholic side, the all-important actors of the spheres of creation and responsibility of the Universal Church are included. Among others, managing director Piermin Spiegel and climate consultant Katherine Schröder actively support the campaign. They are part of a broad coalition of Catholic dioceses, Protestant regional churches and church aid organizations.
Celebrities from church, politics, culture and society are also happy to walk with us in the direction of Glasgow. Bishop Rolf Lohmann, responsible for environmental and climate issues at the Conference of Bishops, donates the traveling blessing to us as patron in Münster. In addition to them, there is the patronage of Hans Joachim Schellnhuber from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Wolfgang Kloss, vice president of the JDK, and Annette Kur Schus, the deputy chairman of the EKD Council.
KNA: Have you ever run into them yourself?
Wiedemann: I really love performing and hiking, and I enjoy being in the community. So there is no doubt that I am going to be a part of the pilgrimage this year as well. Being together on the road shows me how many people are now taking climate change very seriously and struggling to find good, future-oriented solutions.
KNA: You mentioned that the ecological network also exists independently of climate pilgrims. What happens there the rest of the time?
Wiedemann: The network bundles and broadcasts ecumenical activities in churches and church aid agencies, and it also launches its own ecumenical campaigns on climate justice. It strengthens cooperation and harmony in this important matter.
KNA: Hands on Heart – How do you see the upcoming Herculean task of mitigating climate change?
Wiedemann: Everyone can play their part in their sovereign territory, as Pope Francis says in his environmental cycle “Laudato Si”. I already see a lot of movement and rethinking in churches, but also among more and more people.
However, without an ambitious shift in agriculture, nutrition and mobility, we will miss the climate target. It is very important for us to take people with us in this necessary development. This is the only way we can stop climate change. The more people support the issue, which is important for all living beings, the more likely it is that the appropriate framework conditions in laws and regulations will eventually be made into politics that enable climate protection. We hope that for this the important and right course will be set in Glasgow.
Devoted problem solver. Tv advocate. Avid zombie aficionado. Proud twitter nerd. Subtly charming alcohol geek.