Naomi Klein – social activists and critic of 21st century capitalism invited to Vatican to shift the debate on global warming.

A conference at the Vatican on ‘People and Planet First: The Imperative to Change Course’ will take place July 2nd and 3rd. Click here for more information  Naomi Klein has be invited to address the conference.  Read about the invitation from the Guardian 

Naomi Klein’s new book  ‘This Changes Everything’ Capitalism vs Climate is now available.  Another interesting article in the Guardian ‘The Pope v the UN’ Who will save the world first?  The article suggests that both Pope Francis and the UN are addressing the same issues.   It is worth comparing Laudato Si with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  The article outlines  three ways in which Pope Francis has raised the bar: 1.Thoroughness v holism.   2. Growth and Consumption and 3. Cause and Effect. Full article available here!

The Encyclical it is argued is far more than a document about climate change.  It is a profound critique of the deep logic of our political economy.  I agree but argue that the SDG’s is what we get when the 193 member states try to agree on what shape a transformative global agenda should take and seek to bring it home to the national level?  How envision a paradigm shift?  How ensure that no one is left behind?  The SDG’s are the outcome of the best and the worst of the UN.  The aspiration is clearly present but how implement the aspiration? How give it shape and form?  How bring the vision to regional, national and local level?  In negotiations power inequality, political wranglings and patriarchal mindsets pervades much of the discussions.  Yes the power inequality is seen in the ‘consumption-driven economic growth’.  Who of the 193 member states do you think holds most sway when it comes to negotiating SDG’s?  Who resists paying the already agreed 0.7% ODA?  Who continues to hold that climate change is not a reality? The NGO community and civil society are continually challenging the role of the corporate sector and multinationals in development.  The principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ while agreed to has been slowly reneged on over the years.  Civil Society space is shrinking at the UN?  Why?  As a member of civil society I agree that that the ‘SDG’s send a clear signal that they are in favor of business as usual.

And where is gender equality and the human rights of girls and women in either documents?  There has been a long and challenging journey to have SDG 5 name gender equality and to have this streamlined throughout all SDG’s.  Why is it so difficult to have gender equality acknowledged and legally upheld?  I suggest that patriarchy is  a neglected root cause and effect of poverty and the ecological crisis.  I suggest that patriarchy and not the SDG’s is the status quo approach to all of the issues that pervade society – not just global economics but gender inequality, gender based violence, human trafficking, migration, refugees, growing inequality and global warming. Only when gender equality and the human rights of girls and women are upheld everywhere on the planet will there be a paradigm shift.  I fear that the term ‘people’ can easily be read and understood as a continuance of patriarchy, whereas ‘gender equality and planet’  sends a clear message of intent re: systemic change heralding in a paradigm shift and substantive transformations change.