Review 2021: the Pope calls on the world to act on the impact of climate change on the poorest countries | Earth beat
Philippine Coast Guard personnel rescue residents stranded by flooding caused by Typhoon Rai in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, December 16, 2021. As of December 21, the storm has claimed more than 370 lives and Caritas Philippines has appealed donations to strengthen its emergency response. (CNS Photo / Philippine Coast Guard Document via Reuters)
Pope Francis invited Catholics – and anyone else interested – to join a seven-year journey to broaden the reach of his 2015 encyclical on the environment in a time of global climate change.
Known as the Laudato Si ‘Platform for Action, the effort was officially launched on November 14 in dioceses around the world.
The invitation came as communities around the world experienced extreme heat and drought, massive flooding, intense and long-lasting forest fires, sea level rise and failed crops in 2021.
The Pope introduced the platform in a video on May 25, encouraging people to join the global grassroots movement to create a more inclusive, brotherly, peaceful and sustainable world.
Coordinated by the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, the platform is a “journey that will see our communities engage in different ways to become totally sustainable, in the spirit of integral ecology,” said the Pope.
He called for a “new ecological approach that can transform the way we inhabit the world, our lifestyles, our relationship to the earth’s resources and, in general, our way of looking at humanity and living life” .
The initiative called on dioceses, parishes and individuals to build an integrated global effort to protect creation for future generations. The Vatican platform is intended to help those who want to increase their commitment to bringing the encyclical, “Laudato Si ‘, on Care for Our Common Home “, to life by committing until 2028 to carry out a set of actions that they have developed according to local needs.
Featuring a preface from Pope Francis and a message from the UN’s António Guterres, the Vatican released this “Laudato Si ‘Reader” in November, with a wide range of reflections on Francis’s 2015 encyclical. (Capture of ‘CNS / Libreria Editrice Vaticana screen)
In the United States, 17 dioceses and 58 parishes had committed to participate in the platform from its launch. More are expected to join, said Jose Aguto, executive director of Washington-based Catholic Climate Covenant.
The platform calls for integrating actions in different sectors, such as universities, parishes, dioceses, religious orders, community organizations, neighborhoods, businesses and health establishments.
“The alliance, we are really excited about the US participation in the Laudato Si ‘action platform so far. We look forward to the seven-year journey as a big milestone,” Aguto said. December 1.
The effort surrounding the platform began at the close of the two-week 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Representatives from more than 200 nations gathered from October 31 to November 31. 13 with the goal of agreeing to halve global carbon emissions by 2030 as part of efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
COP26, as the conference was known, was delayed for a year due to the pandemic.
A delegation from the Vatican and several Catholic organizations and parishes were present throughout COP26. Vatican officials participated in the high-level talks, while Catholics from other groups participated in side events.
In a video message, Vatican officials urged the conference to provide funding from the richest countries to help the poorest countries respond to climate change and take urgent action to comply with the standards of the Accord of Paris.
Africans join a protest during a day of action at the United Nations Climate Change Conference on November 6 in Glasgow, Scotland. (CNS / Simon Caldwell)
The final deal, however, fell short of these goals, disappointing Catholic environmental and development advocates. Measures to limit temperature rises have been postponed to 2022 and richer countries have failed to provide the climate finance needed to help poor countries respond to and adapt to climate change.
Although promises and concrete actions did not result in the final agreement, “we are on the path that there is no turning back,” said Christine Allen, director of CAFOD, the Catholic international development agency in England and Wales, which joined the Vatican delegation. in Scotland.
“The level of awareness around the world that we must act and act with urgency has absolutely taken place,” Allen said.
Chloe Noel, coordinator of the Faith Economy Ecology Project at the Washington-based Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, which joined the parallel activities of the online conference, told CNS on December 2 that while delegates from major fuel-using countries fossils began to discuss reducing these consumption, “there is no clear plan on how this will be done and when it will be done.”
“We need more ambition to keep the temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius, not to mention what the temperature really needs to be, which is 1.5 degrees Celsius,” Noel said.
She also called for a broader financial commitment from the richest nations of the world to help developing countries already feeling the negative effects of climate change.
“We will continue as a climate movement, as a faith community, to push the US government to address the loss and damage at COP27,” Noel said.
COP27 will be held in Egypt in November 2022.
In other events, the Catholic Climate Covenant partnered with Creighton University in July to convene the second of three planned biennial conferences “Laudato Si ‘and the American Catholic Church”. Over 2,700 participants have joined a series of online programs to learn how to bring the Encyclical’s climate change education more broadly into church life.
“We continue to develop the Catholic community (which is) concerned about the climate.” We are seeing a steady increase in the number of interested Catholics, “Aguto told Catholic News Service.
“But we have to raise our voices more. Science is becoming more and more important and the divisions in our country are more and more marked. We must first speak about love of God and love of neighbor. We must first speak about love of God and love of neighbor. create space for dialogue, “he added.
This screenshot shows some of the young adults attending the Catholic Climate Covenant’s second biennial “Laudato Si ‘and the US Catholic Church”, July 13-15, 2021. (CNS Photo / courtesy Catholic Climate Covenant)
A global campaign to divest from fossil fuels continued to gain adherents in the fall, with 72 institutions – including 36 Catholics – announcing days before COP26 that they would withdraw investments from carbon-based energy companies. Institutions hold assets of $ 4.2 billion.
Father Salesian. Joshtrom Kureethadam, Ecology and Creation Coordinator at the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, welcomed the announcement during a video conference on October 26 hosted by key divestment supporters.
The Vatican and Pope Francis are increasingly vocal about shifting investment funds from fossil fuels to clean energy alternatives. In 2020, as part of the Laudato Si ‘Year, the Vatican issued guidelines for Catholics to implement Integral Ecology and other actions outlined in the Pope’s Encyclical.
“In very strong language, divestment was recommended,” Father Kureethadam said at the online conference. “Last year we announced the Laudato Si ‘action platform. Among the goals of Laudato Si’ is ecological economics and she mentioned the need to divest. So the Vatican supports this. trip.”
The priest called the task of reducing the use of highly polluting fossil fuels a “huge challenge” but one that was possible. A large majority of climate scientists have concluded that the burning of fossil fuels is one of the main causes of climate change.
Changes were underway during the year in two major Catholic environmental groups.
The Catholic Climate Covenant announced in September that Aguto would be its new executive director, succeeding Dan Misleh, who became the founder. Misleh helped establish the organization in 2006 and continues to play a leading role in its work in the United States.
In addition, the Global Catholic Climate Movement became the Laudato Si ‘Movement in July.
Leaders of the movement said the change better reflects the work of the six-year global network and its connection to prayer action on environmental protection and climate change.
The new name is easily translated into other languages as it incorporates the Franciscan phrase Laudato Si ‘, which means “praise be to you” in Italian, said at the time Lorna Gold of Ireland, who chairs the organization’s board of directors.
Enter your email address to receive free EarthBeat newsletters.