Pope Francis Calls for People Power Ahead of Climate Summit
July 11, 2018
350.org & Pope Francis
As a co-organizer of the global Rise for Climate mobilization, 350.org welcomes today's call by Pope Francis for 'citizens' pressure groups' to take action ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit that is taking place in San Francisco, USA on 12-14 September, to ensure it provides 'suitable responses' to the climate crisis. "Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most" the Pope said.
Pope Francis Calls for People Power
Ahead of Climate Summit
THE VATICAN, Rome (July 6, 2018) -- As a co-organizer of the global Rise for Climate mobilization, 350.org welcomes today's call by Pope Francis for 'citizens' pressure groups' to take action ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit that is taking place in San Francisco, USA on 12-14 September, to ensure it provides 'suitable responses' to the climate crisis.
The global Rise for Climate mobilization taking place on and around 8 September aims to demonstrate how the tide has turned in the race against climate change, showcase climate action taking place around the world, and inspire deeper commitments from each other and from national governments.
The Pope delivered his support for community mobilizations on the final day of a climate change summit hosted by the Vatican that aims to put his landmark environmental encyclical 'Laudato Si' into action by 'inspiring a "massive movement" for the care of our imperiled common planetary home'.
The Summit, entitled 'Saving Our Common Home and the Future of Life on Earth', is being attended by faith leaders, youth activists, leading scientists, frontline community representatives and senior political figures.
These participants have already delivered resounding demands to keep fossil fuels in the ground and accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy, now the Pope's call to action has put the importance of people power firmly in the spotlight.
"Three years ago, Laudato Si' contributed mightily to the avalanche of righteous action that led to the Paris Agreement. Now, we need its revitalizing, sacred power to help ignite a new uprising for climate, jobs, justice and action," explains Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director of GreenFaith. "On 8 September, faith and spiritual communities around the world will help lead a global series of mobilizations calling on our leaders to act boldly and rapidly."
Already this year we have experienced deadly heatwaves in Pakistan, Australia and Argentina; catastrophic wildfires in Russia; drought in Kenya and Somalia; major water shortages in Afghanistan and South Africa; extreme storms and flooding in Hawaii, India, Oman and Yemen; record melting of the Bering Sea ice; and the 400th month in the row of above-average global temperatures. It is the people who have contributed the least to climate change who are suffering from these impacts the most.
"In the eye of the storm, the Pacific islands have been hit with the diverse effects of climate change and we turn to our faith for strength," says Brianna Fruean, Pacific Climate Warrior. "For me, Pope Francis calling to build citizen pressure ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit is a call for people to rise up for our islands, for vulnerable communities, for those on the front lines of climate impacts and for our common home."
Pope Francis is a strong proponent of tackling major challenges like climate change, injustice, and poverty together through community action. With today's announcement he has urged communities of faith to mobilize ahead of upcoming key political moments including the G20, the Global Climate Action Summit, and the UN Climate Change Conference.
Yossi Cadan, senior divestment campaigner at 350.org explains, "Pope Francis has singled out the Global Climate Action Summit as an opportunity to get organized and pressure decision-makers at all levels to tackle climate change.
By organizing a global mobilization of distributed actions in our towns and cities, universities, places of worship and community spaces around the world ahead of the Summit this September we will show we have the momentum, the solutions, and that we demand bold action now."
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO PARTICIPANTS AT THE
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE MARKING
THE 3rd ANNIVERSARY OF THE ENCYCLICAL " LAUDATO SI' "
Clementine Hall (6 July 2018)
Your Eminences, Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
I welcome all of you assembled for this International Conference marking the third anniversary of the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si' on care for our common home. In a special way, I would like to greet His Eminence Archbishop Zizioulas, because he and Cardinal Turkson together presented the Encyclical three years ago.
I thank all of you for coming together to "hear with your hearts" the increasingly desperate cries of the earth and its poor, who look for our help and concern. You have also gathered to testify to the urgent need to respond to the Encyclical's call for change, for an ecological conversion.
Your presence here is the sign of your commitment to take concrete steps to save the planet and the life it sustains, inspired by the Encyclical's assumption that "everything is connected". That principle lies at the heart of an integral ecology.
Here we can think back on the call that Francis of Assisi received from the Lord in the little church of San Damiano: "Go and repair my house, which, as you can see, lies in ruins". Today, the "common home" of our planet also needs urgently to be repaired and secured for a sustainable future.
In recent decades, the scientific community has developed increasingly accurate assessments in this regard. Indeed, "the pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet's capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world" (Laudato Si', 161). There is a real danger that we will leave future generations only rubble, deserts and refuse.
So I express my hope that concern for the state of our common home will translate into systematic and concerted efforts aimed at an integral ecology. For "the effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action, here and now" (ibid.). Humanity has the knowledge and the means to cooperate in responsibly "cultivating and protecting" the earth. Significantly, your discussions have addressed some of this year's important steps in this direction.
The COP24 Summit, to be held in Katowice, Poland, in December, could prove a milestone on the path set out by the 2015 Paris Agreement. We all know that much still needs to be done to implement that Agreement.
All governments should strive to honor the commitments made in Paris, in order to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis. "Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most" (ibid., 169), and we cannot afford to waste time.
Along with states, local authorities, civil society, and economic and religious institutions can promote the culture and practice of an integral ecology. I trust that events such as the Global Climate Action Summit, to be held from 12-14 September in San Francisco, will provide suitable responses, with the support of citizens' pressure groups worldwide.
As I observed, along with His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, "there can be no sincere and enduring resolution to the challenge of the ecological crisis and climate change unless the response is concerted and collective, unless the responsibility is shared and accountable, and unless we give priority to solidarity and service" (Message for the World Day of Prayer for Creation, 1 September 2017).
Financial institutions, too, have an important role to play, as part both of the problem and its solution. A financial paradigm shift is needed, for the sake of promoting integral human development. International organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank can encourage effective reforms for more inclusive and sustainable development.
It is to be hoped that "finance . . . will go back to being an instrument directed towards improved wealth creation and development" (Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 65), as well as towards care for the environment.
All these actions presuppose a transformation on a deeper level, namely a change of hearts and minds. In the words of Saint John Paul II: "We must encourage and support an 'ecological conversion'" (Catechesis, 17 January 2001). Here the religions, and the Christian Churches in particular, have a key role to play. The Day of Prayer for Creation and its associated initiatives, begun in the Orthodox Church, are beginning to spread among Christian communities throughout the world.
Finally, dialogue and commitment to our common home must make special room for two groups of people at the forefront of efforts to foster an integral ecology. Both will be at the centre of the next two Synods of the Catholic Church: young people and indigenous peoples, especially those from the Amazon region.
On the one hand, "Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded" (Laudato Si', 13). It is the young who will have to face the consequences of the current environmental and climate crisis. Consequently, intergenerational solidarity "is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us" (ibid., 159).
Then too, "it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions" (ibid., 146). It grieves us to see the lands of indigenous peoples expropriated and their cultures trampled on by predatory schemes and by new forms of colonialism, fuelled by the culture of waste and consumerism (cf. Synod of Bishops, Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology, 8 June 2018).
"For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values" (Laudato Si', 146). How much we can learn from them! The lives of indigenous peoples "are a living memory of the mission that God has entrusted to us all: the protection of our common home" (Address, Puerto Maldonado, Peru, 19 January 2018).
Dear brothers and sisters, challenges are not lacking! I express my heartfelt gratitude for your efforts in the service of care for creation and a better future for our children and grandchildren. Sometimes it might seem too arduous a task, since "there are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected" (Laudato Si', 54).
Yet "human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start" (ibid., 205). Please continue to work for "the radical change which present circumstances require" (ibid., 171). For "injustice is not invincible" (ibid., 74).
May Saint Francis of Assisi continue to inspire and guide us on this journey, and "may our struggles and our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope" (ibid., 244). After all, that hope is based on our faith in the power of our heavenly Father. He, "who calls us to generous commitment and to give him our all, offers us the light and the strength needed to continue on our way.
In the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much, is always present. He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our Earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward. Praise be to him!" (ibid., 245).
To all of you I impart my blessing. And please, remember to pray for me.
Copyright. Libreria Editrice Vaticana