Why September 24 Could be the Most Important Day of the Most Important Year of Our Lives

Imagine if our great-great-great grandparents could have been part of a successful nonviolent movement to end slavery before the Civil War began.

Imagine if people of our grandparents' generation had been able to successfully defeat Hitler before he came to power.

Or think back to the ways that great leaders like Dr. King and Nelson Mandela were able to mobilize human intention to overcome American segregation and South African Apartheid non-violently. If they had missed their moment, we could be living in a very different world today.

One of the most pivotal moments in any of our lifetimes has come this year.

This is the year we could turn the tide on global warming. Think of the factors that have come together -- seemingly miraculously -- in 2015.

Pope Francis decided to address the world in his masterful open letter to humanity, Laudato Si, calling for action on climate change -- and its underlying causes in human society and the human soul.

A courageous group of Muslim leaders issued a powerful call from within their tradition, as did Jewish and other leaders.

The bad news about global warming became harder and harder to deny (although a few politicians still manage to do so), and the risks of inaction became more and more dire, leading some banks and insurers to consider certain fossil fuel operations as a bad risk.

The European Union, China and other global economies have taken strong stands on climate change, leaving the U.S. as a global laggard in addressing the issue, but President Obama has shown signs of his commitment to leave a significant climate legacy.

Which brings us to September 24. Many of the primary obstructionists on climate change solutions are members of Congress, and on September 24, Pope Francis will make a historic speech to Congress. If the Pope convinces these politicians that their moral responsibility outweighs political and ideological considerations, September 24 becomes the day the tide turns.

But even Pope Francis, with all his moral authority, may be ignored. That's why it's so important for all of us to add our voices to his next week.

Thousands will gather on the Mall that morning for a rally and march convened by Franciscan Action Network and Interfaith Moral Action on Climate. Leading up to that historic morning, a group of courageous and committed people have already begun a 10-day fast.

Later that evening, we are gathering a historic team of religious leaders -- Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Muslim, Jewish -- in Washington, DC, to celebrate our support for Pope Francis' call to action on climate and to announce five specific climate-related initiatives.

We hope the tide will turn that day. But if it doesn't, political cowardice will only strengthen our resolve as global citizens and people of faith.

So here's the question: will you add your voice at this pivotal moment? If we make it clear that public opinion is shifting, then we can build momentum between September 24 and November 30, when global leaders gather in Paris to make decisions that will have a profound effect on our lives, and even more effect on the lives of our children and grandchildren.

Maybe you've been on the sidelines so far. It's time. We need you to add your voice, your energy, your commitment, and your faith to the faith-based movement to care for God's creation, to protect future generations from ignorance and greed of our generation, and to take needed action before our moment passes.

I hope you'll join us in Washington, DC, or tune in to live-streaming of the gathering. Moments like this come along once in a lifetime.