Climate Week NYC 2023: A New Vision

Every September since 2009, Climate Week NYC has coincided with the United Nations General Assembly in New York.The General Assembly meets to discuss and strategize around the world’s most pressing issues, all of which have an ecological dimension. Outside the UN Headquarters, organizations all over the world host events focusing the international community on climate. 

At the Center for Earth Ethics, Climate Week is an important opportunity to host meaningful conversations that elevate ecological consciousness and earth ethics while uplifting the work of frontline communities and climate-vulnerable communities. This year, CEE hosted and supported a group of wonderful events that addressed the work of the General Assembly and the greater world as we all face our climate future. 

Invocation of Spirit and March to End Fossil Fuels

On Sunday, September 17, the March to End Fossil Fuels brought 75,000 people to the streets of midtown Manhattan to focus attention on fossil fuels as the leading cause of global climate degradation. To bring the spirit into this march, CEE supported Greenfaith and many other organizations at an Invocation of Spirit where faith leaders from many traditions came together to evoke liberatory celebration as we came together. Diverse, compelling voices called upon all present to be conscious of the spirits of nature, the elements, the ancestors, and future generations, as well as to look to our values for support through the difficult times the world is facing. 

CEE was proud to support the program development of the Invocation of Spirit and particularly such wonderful voices as CEE advisor Roberto Múkaro Borrero, Rev. Leo Woodberry, a member of CEE’s advisory board, and our colleague from the Kairos Center at UTS, Charon Hribar. Múkaro, who is Indigenous Guainía Taíno of Borikén (Puerto Rico), led the crowd in a recognition and thanks to the four directions and acknowledged the deep connection between planetary health and Indigenous lifeways. The Invocation offered a powerful moment of reflection and togetherness that set the stage in a good way for the March to End Fossil Fuels which traveled across Manhattan. 

“We will let the world know that we will not back down,” Rev. Woodberry proclaimed.

Hearing Nature’s Voice

On Monday, September 18, CEE and the Earth Law Center came together, with participation and support from the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, to reflect on the transition from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism. The event brought together speakers with experience in this transition from the fields of law, business, ethics and science an interdisciplinary conversation. Speakers included Natalia Greene, GARN; Alexandra Pimor, Earth Law Center; Nathan Lujan, University of Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum; SD Smith, advisor to the Ramapough Munsee Nation; and Gopal Patel, associate director of UN and interfaith affairs at CEE. The event was moderated by Grant Wilson, executive director of the Earth Law Center, and introduced and closed by CEE Executive Director Karenna Gore

This event addressed ecocentrism across many areas of life and human society. The conversation covered how each panelist approaches the transition but also how ecocentrism is an inherently interdisciplinary topic with panelists focusing on ideas of language, rights of nature, multicultural perspectives, and policy. The conversation asked the audience to question the world we accept and imagine the world we can co-create.

“I just want to point out something. [What it] means that we have to pay to be alive. And, that’s the conditioning,” said Ms. Pimor. “We treat ourselves like commodities, and we treat the rest of our community as commodities. So what would it take for us to actually execute a new vision of sharing?”

Faith in Her

Faith for Our Planet, an organization that works to promote climate action amongst religious communities, invited Karenna Gore to offer remarks at the “Faith in Her: FFOP Global South Women’s Conference” on Tuesday, September 19. This UNGA Sideline Event was convened to address and recognize the need for female leadership in the climate movement and the importance of centering global south and BIPOC female voices in the world’s struggle for a safe climate future.

CEE Research Associate Alyssa Ng also attended this event that brought together thinkers from around the world to talk about climate change and female empowerment, specifically relating to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5, which covers gender equity.

The Genocide of the Rohingyan People, Refugee Rights, and Going Home

The UNGA discusses a myriad of pressing world issues and, in the last years, the genocide of the Rohingya people has been  a critical issue. On Tuesday, CEE supported the Rohingya community at a program organized by Justice for All and the Burma Task Force at Union Theological Seminary. The speakers articulated the history of and context for the Rohingya genocide, both recently and in the longer-term. They made the case for a safe, secure and dignified repatriation of the Rohingya to Myanmar/Burma, their homeland. 

CEE was proud to support this program as it is not only a critical human rights issue, but also aligns with our work on freedom and religion or belief and the importance of celebrating and uplifting communities with place-based connection to the land and a desire to return to ancestral lands. 

Events Mentioned in this Article

Friday, September 15
Visions 2030 Earth Edition Festival

Sunday, September 17
Invocation of Spirit
March to End Fossil Fuels

Monday, September 18
Hearing Nature’s Voice

Tuesday, September 19
Faith in Her: FFOP Global South
Women’s Conference

The Genocide of the Rohingyan People, Refugee Rights, and Going Home 

Wednesday, September 20
Visions 2030 Earth Edition Festival

Friday, September 22
New Alpha Community Development
Corporation Global South Summit

Saturday, September 23
Global Gathering of Peace and Unity


Visions 2030 Earth Edition Festival

With Union Theological Seminary, CEE participated virtually in the Earth Edition Festival in Los Angeles presented by Visions 2030. In two separate armchair discussions, one with Karenna Gore and the other with Roberto Múkaro Borrero, our speakers explored earth ethics and traditional ecological knowledge as significant ideas for envisioning our climate future and engaging with climate optimism. Múkaro sat down with Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, the president of UTS to discuss how our life ways can adapt to new climate realities.

Gore sat down with Anthony Rendon, speaker emeritus of the California State Assembly, to discuss how we can organize around our climate future on a personal, community, and policy level. Both conversations were organized and moderated by Visions 2030 founder Carey Lovelace.

New Alpha Community Development Corporation Global South Summit

CEE was proud to support and host the New Alpha Community Development Corporation’s Global South Summit, a yearly conference that brings together environmental justice leaders and others to discuss how and where the climate movement can support the people of the Global South which has been so degraded and made vulnerable by the dynamics of the climate crisis.

Alyssa Ng spoke on a panel about global finance and the state of the global south. That panel also featured Dr. Florence Anoruo of South Carolina State and Mikhiela Sherrod of Oxfam. The next session addressed where to go from here, featuring Mustafa Santiago Ali, National Wildlife Federation; Alex Easdale, SCEN; Rev. Fletcher Harper, Greenfaith; and Jacqui Patterson, Chisholm Legacy Project.  

“When it comes to the future, two things come to mind: just and equitable transition,” Dr. Anoruo said. “We can not move to a position where a whole bunch of people are left behind.”

When it comes to the future, two things come to mind: just and equitable transition. We cannot move to a position where a whole bunch of people are left behind.

Global Gathering of Peace and Unity

To close out the week, Karenna Gore spoke at the “Global Gathering of Peace and Unity” convened by the Ramapough Munsee Lenape at their community center in Mahwah, New Jersey, in partnership with Unity Earth. This gathering brought together Ramapough Munsee Lenape and representatives from the Mohawk Nation, Kalpulli Huehuetlahtolli, Cetiliztli Nauhcampa, United Confederation of Taino People, the Schaghticoke First Nation, the Yawanawá people of the Amazon, the Tibetan Community of New York and New Jersey, Filipino allies, and officials from Bergen County and Rockland County government to discuss and gather ideas of unity and peace in recognition of the UNGA. 

During the gathering, the Ramapough Munsee welcomed representatives from all over the world, honoring their flags in ceremony. Convenings like this are important because CEE believes in work that is rooted in community and in connecting with and uplifting the work of Indigenous communities all around the world.