|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General, in message to orthodox prayer service, says reversing global
warming is challenge that requires participation of men and women of faith
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the United Nations Orthodox prayer service, 13 November:
I send sincere greeting to this annual prayer service for the United Nations.
This evening finds me far from New York in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. I have travelled to Latin America to see for myself the terrible toll environmental degradation and climate change are already inflicting on the planet and its people.
I am heartened that all of you have gathered to devote this year’s service to the theme of climate change. By now, the basic facts of global warming are incontestable. But, up close, its effects are doubly unnerving. Last week, I visited Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in South America. It is near the centre of the famous “ozone hole” in the Earth’s atmosphere. This time of year, children have to wear protective clothing against ultraviolet radiation at all times. There are days when parents don’t let them play outside, or even go to school.
Antarctica was another stop on my fact-finding tour. The message of scientists studying that vast expanse was chillingly simple: the continent is melting. The ice shelves off the area I visited -- King George Island -- have started to break up. For now, no one expects the worst but, if all of Antarctica’s ice were to melt, sea levels could rise by catastrophic amounts.
Slowing, indeed reversing, these trends have emerged as the defining challenge of our age. It requires both your prayers and your participation. Indeed, success in the fight against climate change is hard to contemplate without the input and energy of men and women of faith.
All of you can help inspire millions of people around the world to become better stewards of our planet. You can guide them towards healthier, more sustainable lifestyles. You can encourage them to conserve more, and to want less. And you can reinforce the belief, fundamental to all religions, that we have a sacred obligation to leave the world a better place for those who will follow.
So, dear friends, let us pray for our world and for its well-being.
And let me leave you with my own gratitude for your continued prayers in support of the United Nations, and its worldwide work for peace.