youth holding climate placard

September 2019: On the streets of New York, some 60,000 young people called upon their government officials, churches, and all the adults in their lives to not just say the right words, but begin a transformation in their daily lives. For WCC representatives, along with those from the Lutheran World Federation, ACT Alliance, and other faith-based groups, the march was an affirmation of ongoing work toward climate justice.


“In 2015, we started working in partnership with UNICEF to support churches’ efforts for children and young people. It was the children themselves who urged us in 2016 to include climate justice as one of the three pillars of the Churches’ Commitments to Children, a programme launched as a result of consultations with 245 experts from churches, children themselves and child rights organisations,” said Seidel to the participants of the online conference.

Seidel presented several resources developed by WCC with churches and partners sharing climate justice initiatives undertaken by children. “For example, the toolkit ‘Climate Justice with and for Children and Youth in Churches: Get informed, Get Inspired, Take Action’ features several examples and tools from children worldwide who mobilised their communities and leaders around climate solutions,” explained Seidel.

The “Cooler Earth – Higher Benefits: Actions by those who care about children, climate and finance” was another crucial resource presented by Seidel at the international conference. “Many people in the decision-making seats are not yet aware of how much their investments contribute to global warming. And many young people open their first bank account without checking if the bank they chose contributes to a sustainable future. Therefore, WCC started assembling free capacity-building resources for all on climate-responsible banking,” concluded Seidel.

Seidel’s presentation concluded with the announcement of an upcoming high-level statement, co-signed by WCC, UNEP-Finance Initiative, UNEP Faith for Earth, the Muslim Council of Elders, and the NY Board of Rabbis. All the signatories will request their financial service providers to align with the Paris Agreement.

The 12th International Conference “Code red, the planet is burning! Children’s rights to a healthy, safe and sustainable environment in the midst of a climate crisis?” will continue tomorrow, sharing initiatives and good practices supporting children and young people against environmental harm.

More info about the conference here

Resources for churches to support initiatives for and with children and adolescents

WCC’s Engagement for Children

Churches Commitments to Children action plan

New WCC toolkit empowers churches to work with children and youth for climate justice

WCC climate justice project wins Keeling Curve Prize