Care for the environment has long been an important part of the teachings of the Church, and now with Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical, Laudato Si, which will specifically address the current environmental crisis, our call to stewardship of the planet is stronger than ever.
Catholics around the world have been mobilizing around the urgent issue of climate change, and in the lead-up to the upcoming United Nations negotiations on climate change (COP21) in Paris in December, the movement has truly gone global.
Through its work, Development and Peace has seen how the poor in the Global South are the ones who suffer the most from the effects of climate change. The organization will be launching its Create a Climate of Change campaign this fall, and has also added its voice to those of hundreds of other Catholic groups around the world by joining the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM). The GCCM is a coalition that is calling for action on climate change based on the principle that climate change is a moral issue. This is explained in the GCCM’s statement to the Church and the world:
“The basis of our concerns is scriptural and founded on the tradition of the Church. From Genesis through Revelation, Catholics accept as a revealed truth that creation and its order is a good that we must embrace and steward. This has been echoed and championed by Church leaders for two millennia. In response to what God has given the human race—clean air, life-sustaining water, fruits of the earth’s harvests, and the bounty of the sea—we are called to honor God our Creator for these many blessings. We are obliged to respect these gifts, which are for all people. For this reason climate change is for Catholics a profoundly spiritual, ethical, and moral issue.”
As part of its campaign, the GCCM has launched a petition that is calling on world leaders to, “drastically cut carbon emissions to keep the global temperature rise below the dangerous threshold of 1.5°C, and to aid the world’s poorest in coping with climate change impacts.”
The petition was recently endorsed by the Pope, who asked the Pontifical Ceremonieri, Monsignor Guillermo Karcher, to sign the petition on his behalf as a way to show his endorsement, since popes don’t sign petitions due to protocol. The GCCM is hoping to gather 2 million signatures in time for the COP21 meeting in Paris. As one of the countries that is suffering the most from the impacts of climate change, the Philippines alone has committed to the challenge of getting 1 million signatures!
We invite you to the sign the petition (on the right) and tell world leaders that the call for action on climate change is a global and universal one!