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Opening GreenBuild plenary by most reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu Boston, November 19, 2008


Sometimes you may not recognize the revolution that you are a part of… you may be discouraged. Know that you are the cat’s whiskers! I would like you to recognize that now you are part of a revolution that has turned around the moral climate so that nowadays a politician who is indifferent to the environment… to green issues is regarded (as similar to) someone who does not care whether women, children are abused…. (this now is) part of the texture … not to care about the environment is like (not caring about) egregious human rights violations.”


“It is somewhat in the same bracket as what you did here on November 4th. You have helped to usher in a new era.” On November 5th, his wife and he were outside Port Elizabeth, watching the celebration in Chicago, with tears streaming. “You are one fantastic people. I mean, you are one of the craziest countries I know. (There is such racism) so that a black man can be dragged behind a truck to his death. And yet, you … did what you did on November 4.”  Of President-elect Obama: “He’s a fantastic guy. I’m not jealous – he’s not only young, he’s handsome!”


“Often, God looks down on the world and weeps. On November 4th God rubbed his hands – Thank you, because you don’t know what you have done for the world. People of colour, people everywhere in the world… (have hope that we) actually can have a different world that is not marked by conflict.”


“Don’t sell yourself short” … You have accomplished … that and you are accomplishing in the green movement.”


“There are two people who have received blue ribbon Nobel prizes. Two people known for passion for the environment, for greening. Wangari Maathai and your Al Gore. On behalf of the world - very presumptuous (to speak on behalf of the world, but…) – thank you. Thank you for your passion, your concern.”


“Some thought you should be ruthless in using all that (God) has given. No. Please go and care as I would care.”


(In speaking of God, he is) “not speaking of historical truth; not tangible things that science can measure… but talking about profound truth.”


“Two years ago in Tromsř, Norway, … in the Arctic cathedral … next to the pulpit was a slab of ice that was melting as I was preaching. A woman bishop of Greenland said ‘Ice in our country is melting; so thin now that we can’t skate over it. So our way of life is being altered quite drastically. Animals are drowning because the ice is thin.’ Thin! Thin!”


“We know climate change is a reality. For many of our sisters and brothers it is a disaster happening now. I’m not speaking about some theory – you know it! A young woman from Nigeria came and she said ‘our tribes are fighting because our pasturage is shrinking.’ ”


“You know it. Climate patterns are changing.”


“You; you, are fantastic people. You are saying you want to build homes, structures friendly to human beings. You are saying ‘we are looking to wind, sun.’ ”


“God is almighty, omnipotent, but also – impotent; a weak God. He doesn’t strike a lightning bolt (during the) holocaust. (When) children (were) thrown into gas chambers: ‘Where are you?’ (During the) injustice of apartheid: ‘What are you doing, God?’ ”


“When God has you, and you as God’s partners… incredible things happen. God has a dream – ‘that my children everywhere will know that they are all members of one family.’ ”


(How can we) “spend obscene amounts of money on death and destruction, when a minute fraction of that money – defense budgets – could give … everyone enough food and water to drink?


“Someone said ‘There is enough in the world for everyone’s need, not enough for anyone’s greed.’ ”


“This global village is sustainable. We can survive. We can more than survive; we can prosper.”







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