Earlier this year a report was released in which it was shown that around 1 million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction. Read more here “The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” Sir Robert Watson, Chair of Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES),said. “Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.” See the animated video showing the 5 direct drivers of change in Nature with the largest relevant social impacts so far.
The Season of Creation is the time of year when the world’s 2.2 billion
Christians are invited to pray and care for creation. It runs annually from September 1 through October 4. The theme for this year is ‘The Web of Life.’ It was first proclaimed by the Patriarch Dimitrios 1 for the Orthodox in 1989 and endorsed by people Francis in 2015. See letter of 23 May 2019 and letter of 5 June 2019 Visit their website and explore many resources it holds The website is in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese
The UN Secretary General António Guterres has convened a Climate Summit for Monday 23rd September 2019. This will take place during the opening of the 74th Session of the General Assembly September 17th – 30, 2019. UN Secretary-General is calling on all leaders to come to New York on 23 September with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050. Climate Week in New York City is September 23 – 29 in collaboration with the United Nations and wants to urge accelerated action for climate change.
In order to ensure that the transformative actions in the real economy are as impactful as possible, the Secretary-General has prioritized the following action portfolios, which are recognized as having high potential to curb greenhouse gas emissions and increased global action on adaptation and resilience.
- Finance: mobilizing public and private sources of finance to drive decarbonization of all priority sectors and advance resilience;
- Energy Transition: accelerating the shift away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy, as well as making significant gains in energy efficiency;
- Industry Transition: transforming industries such as Oil and Gas, Steel, Cement, Chemicals and Information Technology;
- Nature-Based Solutions: Reducing emissions, increasing sink capacity and enhancing resilience within and across forestry, agriculture, oceans and food systems, including through biodiversity conservation, leveraging supply chains and technology;
- Cities and Local Action: Advancing mitigation and resilience at urban and local levels, with a focus on new commitments on low-emission buildings, mass transport and urban infrastructure; and resilience for the urban poor;
- Resilience and Adaptation: advancing global efforts to address and manage the impacts and risks of climate change, particularly in those communities and nations most vulnerable.
In addition, there are three additional key areas:
- Mitigation Strategy: to generate momentum for ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and long-term strategies to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
- Youth Engagement and Public Mobilization: To mobilize people worldwide to take action on climate change and ensure that young people are integrated and represented across all aspects of the Summit, including the six transformational areas.
- Social and Political Drivers: to advance commitments in areas that affect people’s well-being, such as reducing air pollution, generating decent jobs, and strengthening climate adaptation strategies and protect workers and vulnerable groups.
Check out each of the nine areas – see the countries that are working on a particular thematic area and who are supporting. While the graphics only illustrate 6 areas the one that we are most interested in is Social and Political Drivers ensuring that the economic, environmental and social aspects of the transformation of economies and societies towards greater sustainability are managed in ways that maximize opportunities of decent work for all, reduce inequalities, promote social justice, and enhance country’s efforts to improve the people’s health.
One heading on expected outcomes address gender equality and climate change focusing on national climate change plans with gender action plans.
Where does one start? It can all seem so vast and out of our reach. A very good place to begin is with the position paper – See especially Page 15 for the critical action points.
Are you aware that there are Regional Weeks on Climate? One in Latin America and one in Asia preceding the Summit in New York. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Climate Change Conference will take place in Santiago in December 2019 More information HERE Website in French and Spanish.
On September 1, Christians from around the world will be praying as part of Creation Day and the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. If you are unable to join a service in your local community, you can join our prayer service online or through your phone. Representatives from Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, and Episcopalian churches will guide us in a 30 minute service of prayer, silence, and reflection. There will also be a chance for participants to share their own prayer for creation and our brothers and sisters. Check here for the details
Have you been reflecting on ‘Laudatio Si’? HERE Are you following the ratifications of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change? HERE Signatures without ratifications leave the agreement unfulfilled. Sustainable Goal 13 is on Climate Action ‘Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.’ Read more on this here
The action plan is three and a half pages long, and is currently in English only. Four Good Shepherd Sisters were among the participants to the conference and contributed significantly to the document with the inclusion of two important concepts – that of gender equality and spirituality. It is unthinkable for us that education for global citizenship would not include both education for gender equality and spirituality.
and read 10 things you should know about women and the world’s humanitarian crisis of May 23, 2016 All of our ministries throughout the world are addressing gender based violence in one form or another. South Korea is no exception with services to women and children who experience domestic violence, services to pregnant girls and young women, shelter accommodation for individuals experiencing crisis and shelter for trafficked women.
While we in our ministries are continually challenged with the violence experienced by women and girls in their everyday lives it is imperative that curricula for education for global citizenship address all such gender based violence. 5.1 End all forms of discrimination against women and girls. 5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation and 5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
We, in our ministries throughout the world know the cumulative disadvantage that girls and young women face that makes they easy pray to traffickers for sexual and other types of exploitation. We know how they are oppressed, discriminated against, controlled by patriarchical forces, robbed of their dignity, and experience day in day out countless violation of their human rights.
President Michael D Higgins (Ireland) at the World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, Turkey, May 23 and 24, 2016. spoke to Gender Equality Listen to YouTube President Higgins said that gender inequality remains the most persistent and prevalent form of human rights violation in today’s world. “We must recognise…that no distorted version of culture, or mythical structures should be used to justify the most egregious violations of women’s rights in so many regions as happens at the present time”
The document is in three parts … affirmations, commitments and urging member states and united nations to act. The challenge how to implement in diverse cultural situations.
(Met some friends at the film)
Last evening a 40 minute film was premiered in New York and will be launched today across the globe. It is a new phase in the climate movement. It is the story of four communities preparing to participate in Break Free from Fossil Fuel actions in May 2016.
If you check out this link you can get access to a discussion guide that can help initiate discussion Click the tab Posters and More
This is a natural continuation of COP 21 which was held in Paris last December and the signing of the Paris Agreement at United Nations headquarters on Friday April 22nd, 2016.
It could be part of your celebration of Laudato Si which was published one year ago. Naomi Klein is also interviewed on this film. Have you read her book ‘This Changes Everything’?
The Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network have published their December newsletter. There is some good material if you are following up on COP 21 and some more video links
Don’t forget to link it with Laudato Si and the following from our Congregational Chapter Direction Statement: To recognize our interconnectedness with the whole of creation which obliges us “to protect our common home.”
- “Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights . . . as well as gender equality, empowerment of women,” (Introduction)
- “Parties acknowledge that adaptation action should follow a country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems,”(Article 7)
- “Capacity-building . . . should be an effective, iterative process that is participatory, cross-cutting and gender-responsive,” (Article 11)
- Gender balance in the Committee established in the document to facilitate implementation and promote compliance (Article 15; see also paragraph 103 of decision)
- The Guardian articles:
- “COP21 is too male dominated and has male priorities, says UN special envoy” (8 Dec)
- “Women and climate change injustice: thoughts from the Paris talks”(10 Dec)
- “Climate talks: anger over removal of human rights reference from final draft” (11 Dec)
- “Paris climate deal: nearly 200 nations sign in end of fossil fuel era”(12 Dec)
- Urgent Action Fund report “In Our Bones”: stories of grassroots women leaders tackling environmental challenges in Indonesia and the Philippines
Thanks to Joann Lee
Post-2015 Women’s Coalition
Center for Women’s Global Leadership
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
The Paris climate conference closed on Saturday evening by adopting a strong, clear, and honest agreement. The deal will not guarantee that the world stays within 2°C or reaches the more ambitious 1.5°C limit, but it lays out for the first time a framework for getting there. Crucially it does so without denying the reality gap between actions to date and what’s needed to save the planet from dangerous climate change.
The Guardian story reads that the Climate Agreement is the world’s greatest diplomatic success. ‘Like any international compromise, it is not perfect: the caps on emissions are still too loose, likely to lead to warming of 2.7 to 3C above pre-industrial levels, breaching the 2C threshold that scientists say is the limit of safety, beyond which the effects – droughts, floods, heatwaves and sea level rises – are likely to become catastrophic and irreversible. Poor countries are also concerned that the money provided to them will not be nearly enough to protect them. Not all of the agreement is legally binding, so future governments of the signatory countries could yet renege on their commitments.’ Read more…
- David Waskow and Jennifer Morgan (World Resources Institute) – summary of the key provisions and implications of the Paris agreement
- Positive coverage in the Economist
Sister Yolanda Sanchez is currently in Paris, attending the COP21 climate change conference. Here’s her update from the first week of the conference, along with lots of pictures. Many thanks to Yolanda for representing us all in Paris!
Hermana Yolanda Sánchez se encuentra actualmente en París, asistiendo a la conferencia delcambio climático COP21 . Aquí está su reporte desde la primera semana de la conferencia, junto con algunas fotos. ¡Muchas gracias a Yolanda por representarnos todos en París!
Sœur Yolanda Sanchez est actuellement à Paris, assister à la conférence sur le changementclimatique COP21. Voici son rapport à partir de la première semaine de la conférence, ainsi que quelques photos. Un grand merci à Yolanda pour nous représenter à Paris!
COP 21: Climate change, change of the system and paradigms.
From November 30 to December 11, 2015, 195 countries are meeting at the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) having as their main objective to review the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change
This is very important, but even more important to me because I am participating in the space called “Climate Generations” (this place gives civil society, NGOs and other participant a space to bring an alternative voice to this Summit). From this it is clear to see that there are many people with a deep commitment to climate change and to changing present paradigms regarding this.
What I lived in this first week of the COP 21? I have signed petitions, I have heard about good practices and alternative initiatives being carried out not only in the developing countries but also in developed countries to reduce the impact of climate change in large and small cities; I have shared with many people who have come from all over the planet -young, less young, religious, people of all confessions- all animated with the desire to share experiences, express a concern in front of the indifference of Governments with regard to climate change and its consequences. Brothers and sisters of indigenous people have also brought their voices and concerns for the destruction of the land that they have inhabited for many centuries.
I have also participated in prayer initiatives carried out, among them the Ecumenical prayer at the Cathedral of Notre Dame. With joy I see that churches have undertaken this COP 21 to also assume the challenges on climate change and its consequences, assuming the responsibility of taking care of “our common home”.
What I have perceived in this atmosphere of COP 21?
On the one hand there is a serious commitment of many people who have become aware that must not only speak of climate change but also a change of system, of paradigms, of ways to consume, and of behaviors. Development must never mean destruction of nature and its resources.
Secondly, I see that the language of human rights appears in the text being discussed. It refers to respect, protection and promotion of human rights for everyone in all of the actions proposed for tackling climate change.
And what is coming after the COP 21? Although this Summit is a turning point and an opportunity to make concrete commitments this is only a part of the solution. Many communities on the planet are still being threatened by the increase in the sea level, deforestation, natural disasters, and pollution of water sources, and there are whole communities in a situation of great vulnerability who will be forced to migrate. Many multinational companies are responsible for the current crisis in which these peoples are living.
A serious and determined will by individual Governments at national level, with or without international agreement is needed to deal with all these situations in which real people are living. Someone said “we cannot wait to have an international agreement to start acting now and take action at the national level”.
Personally, I think that it is also time to engage much more in advocacy work, lobbying, pushing government policies at nationally and internationally level responding to the needs of the people. In this first week of COP 21 I met many sisters and brothers who are already actively engaged in this.
Finally I invite you to meditate, to deepen, and put into practice the teachings that Pope Francis brings us in the wonderful encyclical Laudato SI , it is a source of inspiration and guidance for all peoples of the planet. He invites us to act and to participate in the care of creation, accepting the challenge that he makes us in Chapter 6, number 203 and so on: Towards a new lifestyle – at all levels.
Thanks Yolanda for this write up.
You may be interested in this interactive website – Climate Change Conference in Paris. It is in English and French. Click here You can Learn – get to know the issue, Act – with suggestions as to what to do, and Follow the conference day after day.
Read another viewpoint from The Guardian December 4th and check what your national papers are reporting. Do look at the video in the middle of the article.