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A Child Vows Silence for the Climate's Sake

By Sahar Alsahlani


As noted in last month’s TIO, communities around the world gathered for prayer vigils for the climate discussion going on in Lima,Peru. They were the #LightforLima, asking for strong climate action from the world’s leaders. The Our Voices campaign, a global multifaith campaign for a strong UN Climate treaty, is gearing up for 2015. But the work we do in 2015 depends on sharing the successes of our previous work. Light for Lima has been our best and brightest action.

Itzcuauhtli Roske-Martinez has taken a vow of silence to demand a response to climate change. – Photo: Sahar Alsahlani

Itzcuauhtli Roske-Martinez has taken a vow of silence to demand a response to climate change. – Photo: Sahar Alsahlani

In New York, Religions for Peace USA was represented by Sahar Alsahlani. We asked her to share the story about the experience. The stories that we share about our work help sustain us in this movement for change. This is what Sahar shared.

On that night in New York City, December 7, colorful signs were held up and prayers from different faith traditions were read. As the sun set, people joined our growing intergenerational circle. The lyrics to “This Little Light of Mine” resonated throughout the hustle and bustle of the holiday-infused atmosphere of the New York City square park.

Perhaps the most poignant part of the evening was when two indigenous brothers and spoken-word artists from Colorado performed. The younger, 11 year old Itzcuauhtli Roske-Martinez, is taking one of the bravest stances regarding the movement. Upon hearing that nobody will listen to an 11-year-old speaking out against climate change, he kept quiet. And he is going to stay quiet until world leaders do something about climate change. The only time his voice is heard is when he performs with his brother, 14-year­-old Xiuhtezcatl.

Itzcuauhtli (pronounced “eat-squat-lee”) proclaims his vow of silence represents his generation’s challenge to the world, asking why they should “go to school and learn all this stuff if there is not going to be a world worth living in? Maybe it’s up to youth. Maybe each one of us has to be a world leader.”

Ahhh….Out of the mouth of babes. 

How can you join this movement?

Add your voice to ours and to those of many spiritual leaders through Our Voices. Sign in today to join this prayerful campaign of hope and urgency. We will deliver our message from thousands of voices across the globe to the negotiators at the 2015 Paris climate talks. Help us spread the word. Tell your community of friends, family and faith about the OurVoices Campaign.

All of our traditions call for striving for justice, including justice for our Mother Earth who cradles us all.

May God bless and protect everyone, insha’allah.