faith in action

People’s Justice March in Austria

The Rev. Martin Obermeir-Siegrist serves as the pastor the Linz and Ried/Innkreis United Methodist congregations and as director of children and youth ministry in the Austria Conference. He recently attended the People’s Justice March in Linz, Austria. We asked him about the experience.

A panoramic shot of people protesting. One sign reads, "Save our planet."

Where is the climate justice being held?

Linz, Austria (which is the capital of my province Upper Austria). But in all major Austrian cities people were marching today for climate justice, all together around 70.000 people.

Who is attending it?

Mostly pupils but also a lot of other people all ages. More than 65 organizations amongst them different churches and faith groups, Amnesty International, the Red Cross etc. called upon people to join the marches organized by the “Fridays for Future” movement. United Methodist congregations are part of this movement.  

Why did you join the march? 

Justice is a core topic of faith. Actively advocating justice is a way of living my faith. Climate justice might be the biggest challenge for our age. We need states and individuals to take action now!

How does climate justice impact the church and society in Austria?

Half of my congregation came to Austria from African countries due to the unjust distribution of goods and opportunities in the global South. While this fact makes our Austrian Church more colorful, lively and beautiful I know and I hear the stories of those brothers and sisters who were forced to leave home. The climate crisis reveals how much some of the iniquities in our world are connected to our lifestyle in Austria and other rich countries. As we believe we are the body of Christ and that we are part of a worldwide body it hurts us to see limbs of our own body suffering. So, we march and we fight for climate justice as well as for justice in our Austrian society, hoping that this will contribute to a change in the world.

What can we do as a church to support climate justice?

  1. Pray for climate justice. 
  2. Work for climate justice: Keep on advocating justice and bringing together people of different backgrounds willing to work together for climate justice. Let the church be a learning community of people willing to learn from God what justice means and how God’s grace and love are powers that can change individuals as well as communities.