Religious bodies from around the globe have converged on New York City for an interfaith summit on the environment.

Organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and Religions for Peace, the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change begins Sunday, while the United Nation’s Climate Summit takes place Tuesday, also in New York City.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim, visiting researcher at Georgetown University and a member of the WCC’s working group on climate change, talked Thursday to via Skype about the interfaith summit.

The summit involves 30 religious leaders from around the world.

“One of the objectives of this Interfaith Summit will be to convey the faith communities’ concerns and proposals to the Secretary General’s Climate Summit as part of long-term efforts to influence the climate negotiations and the contributions countries bring to the table,” according to the Interfaith Summit website.

Kim said religious leaders were not invited to be part of the UN’s summit, so part of the Interfaith Summit’s mission is providing a faith witness on environmental concerns.

“We need to take care of this problem,” said Kim, referring to destructive climate change.

“We just wanted to make an added impression that religious leaders are taking this seriously,” Kim said. “Part of taking care of the earth—stewardship—is vital for all religious leaders, not just for Christians, but for religious leaders worldwide.”

“I think we wanted to make a case that climate change is also social justice,” Kim said. “The poor people are affected even worse than the rich.”

Kim said environmental justice does not exist in a vacuum; rather, it is tied to economic justice and racial justice, for example. As such, it deserves attention even amid other global crises like the war on terrorism.

Watch the interview with Kim at

Learn more about Grace Ji-Sun Kim at

Watch other Skype interviews at

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