By Marine Henriot & Benedict Mayaki, SJ
World leaders, policy-makers, scientists, faith-based groups and representatives of international organizations and of civil society, are gathered in Glasgow, Scotland for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference.
The COP26 summit, held from 31 October to 12 November, aims to bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The 2015 Paris Agreement demands nations curtail the increase in global temperatures to below 2°C, or preferably 1.5°C, a goal that experts say will mean slashing global emissions by almost half by 2030, and to “net-zero” by 2050.
Present in Glasgow for the Climate Change meeting is Lyndlin Moma, the director of advocacy of the "Laudato sí Movement," She spoke to Vatican Radio’s Marine Henriot about the need for political decision-makers to take urgent action towards protecting our common home.
Everything is interconnected
Moma explained that the "Laudato sí Movement" at the Climate Change Meeting aims to be a voice speaking for the protection of the planet by calling on world leaders to take steps for the actualization of the 1.5°C temperature increase limit. This she said, would limit biodiversity loss and protect communities made vulnerable by the effects of climate change.
Reiterating Pope Francis's words, she insisted that “everything is connected” and thus, efforts to protect the planet have to be integrated in order to reverse the devastating trend of the climate crisis.
A Christian ecology
Responding to a question about the existence of a "Christian ecology," Moma noted that the Church teaches us to respect and care for nature because we, human beings, are a part of biodiversity and are intrinsically connected to it.
She also highlighted that Catholic Social Teaching encourages us to care for the poor and the vulnerable, including those affected by climate change, even though they are not the cause of the climate crisis.
Stressing the need for an integrated approach which includes “taking into consideration the voice of the poor and the vulnerable”, she warned that we “cannot fight the climate crisis without tackling the biodiversity crisis” and the mining of fossil fuels.
Joint efforts needed
“As Catholics, we cannot act alone. We have seen Pope Francis, he is reaching out to other faiths," Muma said.
Ahead of COP26, the "Laudato sí Movement" had launched a “Healthy Planet, Healthy People” petition, inviting everyone to sign up to urge their political leaders to make decisions geared towards reversing the trend of the climate crisis. The petition garnered about 100,000 signatures.
Expressing her gratitude to those who signed the petition, Muma invited all – people of faith and non-faith actors - to work together so that we can achieve our goals at the COP26 meeting for the protection of the planet.