In early January, a 125-year-old church in Immerath, North Rhein Westphalia (Germany) was demolished to make way for the expansion of a dirty and unnecessary coal mine. Günter Salentin, the parish’s former priest, has been one of the most vocal opponents of the Garzweiler mine and the coal company RWE for decades.


We spoke to Gunther and other people of faith to find out why they took up the fight against fossil fuels. He shares his thoughts in this video, filmed in the Rhineland coal region of Germany not far from where the UN Climate Talks were held last November. Fiji held the presidency of the annual conference, and the 12 Climate Warriors from different islands in the Pacific traveled to Bonn together to underline the urgency of the climate crisis. From the Pacific islands to Germany, people around the world are experiencing the impacts of fossil fuel production. It’s threatening their very existence.

Watch what Gunther and leaders from the faith community have to say:


Lusia Taloafulu Feagaiga, a Pacific Climate Warrior and youth leader in the Methodist Church of New Zealand, spoke of this threat in Bonn emphasizing how religious communities can be powerful agents in this inter-generation, cross-cultural struggle. More and more, faith leaders are speaking out and taking action where they can – for example, by divesting church funds

“Faith gives us the strength to carry on. But what gives us even more strength are the encounters with people. Especially people from around the world who are impacted by climate change,” explained Antje Grothus, a Catholic climate activist from the Rhineland.

In 2018, more faith groups will be organizing in solidarity, in Germany and around the world. On World Earth Day, 22 April, we’re aiming for a powerful joint announcement of church divestment commitments. But these wins don’t come out of nowhere – they rely on community leaders like Günther, Lusia, and Antje to get it done. You can join them: sign up to receive updates in German on the growing faith divestment movement in Germany.

Or, if you’re not interested in faith groups but would like to help, you can take the Fossil Free pledge to begin organizing in your community today.



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