Today, the prophetic Healthy Planet, Healthy People petition was presented to representatives of the United Nations 26th Climate Change Conference, further amplifying faith leaders’ calls for bold action at COP26.
The petition supports Pope Francis’ plea for urgent action and carries the signatures and demands of more than 120,000 Catholics and more than 425 partner organizations, which collectively represent hundreds of thousands of Catholics from six continents.
Prominent Catholic leaders, including Cardinal Peter Turkson and Bishop Victor Phalana of the Diocese of Klerksdorp, South Africa, signed the petition.
The presentation of the petition took place during the Faith in Action for Climate Justice event. The interfaith gathering was held at St George’s Tron Church in Glasgow and united faith groups across the world in prayer for God’s creation.
The petition calls on governments to set ambitious targets that tackle the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis together; limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and promise no more biodiversity loss; ensure equitable global action; and protect and respect human rights, including the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in climate and biodiversity action.
Participating organizations in the interfaith event included Laudato Si’ Movement, Christian Aid, Act Alliance, Living Laudato Si’, SCIAF, Lutheran World Federation, Tearfund, CAFOD, YCCN, WWC, Glasgow Interfaith Declaration, CYNESA, among others.
Last month, the faith world came together in a historic joint appeal that called on governments to “take speedy, responsible, and shared action to safeguard, restore, and heal our wounded humanity and the home entrusted to our stewardship.”
The joint appeal, signed by about 40 faith leaders, pleaded with governments to create a better future. “Future generations will never forgive us if we miss the opportunity to protect our common home. We have inherited a garden; we must not leave a desert for our children,” the appeal stated.
Quotes from leaders:
Dr. Lorna Gold, Chair of the Laudato Si’ Movement Board of Directors: “COP26 is an opportunity for the world to take urgent, radical, and conscious action in response to the ecological crisis and climate emergency we are experiencing. The need for bold action from global leadership is paramount if we are to care for the most vulnerable and limit warming to 1.5 degrees, as per the Paris Agreement.”
Sister Rainer of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary: “Climate change is a reality. We are experiencing these changes every day. In our small ways, we can pull together and act boldly to change the world. So this is the moment. This is our time to do it now and most importantly together.”
Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, General Secretary, ACT Alliance: “In 2021, the world is faced with two global emergencies–COVID-19 and the climate crisis. Both must be addressed urgently and with justice.”
Jen Morris, Young Christian Climate Network: “The climate crisis is both a symptom and a cause of global injustice, with the world’s poorest paying the heaviest price for the actions of the richest. YCCN is calling on the UK government to put people before bank balances and use its role as hosts of COP26 to push for urgent action on climate finance.”