The Hong Kong Interfaith Climate Network (HKICN) Statement of Thanks to Pope Francis on His Encyclical Laudato Si

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June 19th 2015 – Statement of Sincere Thanks to Pope Francis

The Hong Kong Interfaith Climate Network (HKICN) sincerely thanks Pope Francis for his encyclical Laudato SiPraise be to you, my Lord,’ that calls on all people of faith and none; the whole human family to care for creation and to protect our common home.

At the heart of Pope Francis message is the recognition of the urgency of the ecological crisis and that the climate is a common good. He asks us to recognise the immensity of the ecological challenge and that we all have a responsibility to act. We support Pope Francis in his call on the human family to shift away from the use of fossil fuels.

Pope Francis also recognises that all life on earth is interconnected and that global inequality due to poverty and the destruction of the environment are interrelated. Pope Francis describes this twin approach of helping the poor and defending the environment as “integral ecology.”

In particular, we join the Pope in his call for greater dialogue and education to reduce the human causes of climate change. A personal conversion is needed – where the changing of human hearts is guided by the universal common good. We also strongly agree that we can all learn from ancient lessons, found in different religious traditions, that all tell us “less is more.”

We also acknowledge the encyclical’s stance on science when it says: “science and religion, with their distinctive approaches to understanding reality, can enter into an intense dialogue fruitful for both” (61). He goes onto to say:  “If we are truly concerned to develop an ecology capable of remedying the damage we have done, no branch of the sciences and no form of wisdom can be left out, and that includes religion and the language particular to it” (63).

Hong Kong as a “World City” at the heart of Asia, we believe, with its wealth of both technology and cultural diversity, it has the potential, to become a pivot for positive change in the Region, ecological and moral. Laudato Si is an invaluable learning resource to that end.

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The Hong Kong Interfaith Climate Network (HKICN) was set up to support the spiritual and moral imperative of interfaith action on climate change in Hong Kong. The HKICN is also connected to global faith organisations. Further information can be found at:  www.hkicn.wordpress.com

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A Collective Odyssey

by Yeb Sano

14456649695_3a2febb0bb_k-960x532Our journey had reached the shores of Vanuatu, and it was the perfect place to launch the People’s Pilgrimage for climate action. Vanuatu has consistently found itself at the top of climate risk rankings in recent years, with its communities being exposed to the changes of climate disruption so profoundly. As a low-lying chain of islands in the South Pacific, it is a struggling nation beset with the challenges of an isolated economy, and bearing the brunt of intense cyclones and accelerated sea level rise.

Despite this fact, there was no sign of surrender or defeat. What greeted us was a surge of positive energy and gallant spirit.

As the Pilgrimage arrived in Vanuatu, we were treated to the warmth and vibrant culture of the Pacific, with our friends from Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu, and Solomon Islands welcoming us to Port Vila. With soulful chants, songs, and dances, the islanders received us, and their effervescence was deeply heartwarming and uplifting. After all, as we learned from our friends from the Pacific islands, fundamental to their resilience is their faith.

Setting foot in Vanuatu and getting to meet and hear from President Baldwin Lonsdale speak about the impacts of Cyclone Pam and the resilience of the people of Vanuatu brought back memories of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Cyclone Pam wreaked havoc in Vanuatu and neighboring countries of Kiribati, Tuvalu and Solomon Islands in March and was described as the strongest storm that had ever hit the region. Haiyan, which was incredibly off the charts in terms of intensity and has since been declared as the strongest storm to ever make landfall in modern recorded history, slammed the Philippines in late 2013.

The images of devastation would almost be indelible in our minds and as more and more of these extreme events happen all over the world, we are presented with an ever-expanding tapestry of tragedies. Yet, these are not ordinary tragedies, nor are they accidents. Much of the harm many vulnerable communities face are consequences of a chain of acts that have collectively altered the face of the planet and led to climate disruption.

Today, every super storm will have the fingerprints of climate change.

And climate change will have the unequivocal (to borrow the word the IPCC has used to refer to the human influence on the warming of the climate system) fingerprints of human activity, and more so the unmistakable fingerprints, or perhaps more aptly footprints, of an incredibly small number of entities that have benefited from the use and exploitation of the global commons.

What has also become increasingly clear as we examine the tapestry of climate tragedies is that the most severe impacts are hitting those who have contributed the least to the causes of climate disruption, and have obviously benefited the least from the burning of fossil fuels. Many would argue that we would need to continue depending on fossil fuels to emancipate all people from poverty, but this convoluted theory has already been proven to be at the very least imaginary. The failure of this paradigm to address inclusive and sustainable development also sits at the heart of climate injustice.

But what is climate justice?

Justice itself is a complex concept, and different people will have different views on what it means and what it should serve. Yet if we just step back and reflect on the kind of complex challenges we face as a human family, it boils down to a matter of fairness, the rudiments of which we must have learned early in life, like taking turns, sharing food equitably, not getting more than you need, or literally not stepping on people’s toes, or literarily not killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

In the case of the small island nations, and of course my own country The Philippines, and many other vulnerable communities around the world, it is with steely resolve that we demand fairness. Because the major carbon polluters know the harm their very source of profit does. Because they have absolutely ignored the universal ethic of taking turns. Because they have gobbled up an enormously disproportionate slice of the cake (and ate it too). Because greed is their creed. Because they step on people’s toes and violate basic human rights. And because they are destroying life on this planet.

In Vanuatu, we gathered inside the hallowed hulls of the Rainbow Warrior (which was docked in Port Vila at that time) with the remarkable people from Tuvalu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, The Philippines, and Vanuatu, and we exchanged stories about calamities and catastrophes, but also hope and heroism. As we walked around the Port, praying with our feet, we marched to the cadence of the chants and feet-stomping led by the Pacific climate warriors. The energy was astounding, and we were walking as one, united in spirit, and mindful with every single step.

We realized we are on a common journey, a collective odyssey towards the new dawn of a more just and caring world.

But before we get there, we must stand together and hold those responsible for the climate crisis accountable. We stand together as island communities because we have no other choice but to stand together, and we do this for a vast volume of reasons, including having to face the most severe consequences of climate disruption. But most importantly, we stand together for it is a matter of survival for our peoples and our cultures. Justice must be served. But we must claim it.

Originally posted in OurVoices. Reposted wholly with permission.

To see the photos from the People’s Pilgrimage, click here.

Header image via flickr user Washed Over

See more at: http://ourvoices.net/evoke/blog/a-collective-odyssey/view#sthash.G5pjUXvF.dpuf

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Praised Be: Pope Francis Takes Climate Action Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, is a triumph for climate action in the world

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Praised Be: Pope Francis Takes Climate Action
by Rabbi Lawrence Troster & Jeff Odell Korgan

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With the publication today of Laudato Si (Praised Be), already the most widely-read papal encyclical in church history, Pope Francis eviscerated every false choice in today’s tired environmental debate, beginning with the notion that the ecological crisis pits people against nature. He also became the first pope to engage not only Christians and “people of goodwill,” but also “every person living on this planet.”

Speaking not only as the leader of over one billion Catholics, Pope Francis’ encyclical serves as a spiritual guide for everyone—believer and non-believer alike.

As parents (and one of us a grandparent), we’re inspired by this document, especially with the Pope’s deep concern for intergenerational solidarity. In a section called “Justice Between the Generations,” he asks, “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, children who are now growing up?” For us, this is not an academic question, but one that lies at the heart of why we are involved in this work. For Pope Francis, “Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice.”

The Pope’s ambitious document rests on a new concept uniting traditional elements of Catholic teaching: integral ecology. Simply put, integral ecology refers to the idea that how we humans treat each other (human ecology) is intimately related to how we treat the Earth and our fellow creatures (natural ecology). The pontiff explains that “every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment” and makes direct connections between our “throw-away culture” that pollutes and degrades the environment with how our society discards those “excluded” from the global economy, exploits workers, harvests human organs, and traffics in people.

More than that, he critiques our economic and political inactivity on the environmental crisis and offers a vision on how to create solutions: “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots concern and affect us all.”

As he explains integral ecology, Francis draws from the best of the Judeo-Christian tradition. He utilizes biblical teachings that have been quoted by Jewish and Christian eco-theologians for decades: from the Creations stories of Genesis 1 &2, to the laws of the Sabbath, Sabbatical Year and Jubilee in Exodus and Leviticus; expressions of awe and wonder in the book of Psalms, concern for justice from the prophets; the glory of Creation from the Wisdom literature and the parables and life of Jesus from the Gospels. But Pope Francis doesn’t stop with quotes from the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament—he also (marking a first for papal encyclicals) draws from the teachings of local Catholic bishops conferences from Japan to Colombia to southern Africa as well as the teachings of theologians, other Christian denominations, secular scientists and even a Sufi mystic.

With this encyclical, Francis models the very dialogue he calls for.

The chief outcome of this dialogue of integral ecology is a rejection of the false choices presented by our current environmental debate. He skillfully retires the following false dichotomies:

THE UNIQUENESS OF THE HUMAN PERSON VS. THE RADICAL EQUALITY OF ALL CREATION: People are special—we are made in God’s own image and likeness. Our Creator charged us with caring for and guarding Creation. We must not view other species “merely as potential ‘resources,’” but accept their  inherent value. Every created thing gives God glory through its existence, and when we interfere with this part of God’s plan, through environmental degradation and species extinction, we offend our Creator.

CREATING JOBS VS. CARING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: Pope Francis easily dismisses the tired jobs vs. the environment argument by recalling how work and creation were closely linked in the Garden of Eden—guarding and tilling it. Humanity has always been called to work. At the same time, we are to always integrate a sense of “awe” in the creation we alter through our work, while we strive for full employment for all adults. Pope Francis challenges the prevailing paradigm of progress that technological advancement automatically leads to better employment and a higher quality of life, and points out the negative impact that new technology can have developing societies.

INDIVIDUAL ACTION VS. INTER-GOVERNMENTAL SOLUTIONS: In Chapter Five of Laudato Si, Pope Francis expresses both hope in the capacity of the world’s governments to find ways of protecting the “global commons,” like the climate, and dismay that they have so little to show for all their meetings thus far. He calls for “an agreement on systems of governance,” —alluding to the upcoming pivotal UN climate talks in Paris this winter—but also affirms simple daily individual actions “which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness,” such as reducing water consumption, turning off unnecessary lights, wearing warmer clothes during winter, and utilizing public transportation. For this pontiff, protecting creation rejects the false choice of big government solutions vs. individual choices—we need both.

SCIENCE VS. RELIGION: Portrayals of church antipathy toward science are frequently cartoonish, but they have their root in some truth. Pope Francis leaves all that in the dumpster of history with a thoughtful review of scientific findings on a range of environmental issues, from climate change to pollution, species extinction to water as a human right and an unequivocal pro-life stance. He shows himself to be a deeply spiritual man who has demonstrated a lifelong curiosity about what science can reveal about the laws of both human and natural ecology. Pope Francis joins Popes Benedict and St. John Paul II in viewing science as a tool to further the aims of church teaching.

The coming days, weeks, and even years will see much reflection on this groundbreaking encyclical.

But we need more than study, Pope Francis insists, and he devotes an entire chapter to action. On June 28, at noon in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, the two of us will come together with other religious and secular leaders from around the world to thank Pope Francis and call for a strong U.N. climate agreement on greenhouse gas emissions. Church bells will ring at noon local time around the world as shofars sound, gongs are rung, and other joyful noises emanate from houses of worship on all continents.

The One Earth, One Human Family march and these “joyful noises” will be the first fruits of Pope Francis’ encyclical, an interreligious response in the spirit of global solidarity—among all humanity with all Creation—to stand with Pope Francis in insisting on a strong global climate agreement.

Blog originally posted in OurVoices. Re-posted wholly with permission.

– See more at: http://ourvoices.net/evoke/blog/praised-be-pope-francis-takes-climate-action/view#sthash.bDJ72Mjy.dpuf

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Columban Missionaries Welcome Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment

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Missionary Society of St Columban

聖 高 隆 龐 傳 教 會      

General Council

HONG KONG, June 18, 2015.   Columban Missionaries welcome and celebrate Pope Francis’ newly released encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home.  This encyclical marks a historic moment in the Church as the first encyclical addressing the human relationship with all of God’s creation.  Laudato Si deepens the contributions of previous papal statements and documents which have addressed the relationship between humans and the natural world.

Columban Superior General, Fr. Kevin O’Neill says of Laudato Si, “We thank Pope Francis for his visionary and pastoral leadership which invites us as faithful disciples of Jesus to an ongoing ecological conversion. Our lived experience speaks to us as we see the impacts of the exploited Earth and exploited peoples. We believe, as stated in our 2012 General Assembly, ‘that we are called to solidarity with marginalized people and the exploited Earth [which] are ways we participate in God’s mission’.”

Pope Francis invites us to new understandings, reflections, and actions when he says, “I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.”

We are reminded in Laudato Si of the interconnectedness of the human and natural worlds in these words, “Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”  For Columbans this interconnectedness and solidarity can be found in our own Constitutions which say, “The biblical perspective of stewardship inspires our attitudes and challenges our use of material resources.  It should lead to a lifestyle in keeping with Gospel values.”

As pastoral leader Pope Francis calls us into communion when he says, “The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures. In this way, they make their own that Trinitarian dynamism which God imprinted in them when they were created. Everything is interconnected, and this invites us to develop a spirituality of that global solidarity which flows from the mystery of the Trinity.”

Internationally recognized eco-theologian, Columban Fr. Sean McDonagh says, “Laudato Si is an important step in the Church’s understanding of our human relationship with both the Creator and all of creation. We must continually learn from science, evolve our theology, and humbly situate ourselves in the wider creation story that began with the initial flaring forth 13.7 billion years ago to the world in which we live now and in to the future.  We must be open to encounter creation and learn from it.”

Amy Woolam Echeverria, International Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Coordinator for Columbans says, “Having worked for many years in the care and respect for creation as an expression of our missionary spirit, we are filled with hope that Pope Francis’ leadership will energize the entire Church and wider community towards an ongoing ecological  conversion.  We believe that Praised Be has enormous potential to inspire change in both individual and institutional lifestyles as well as for national and global environmental and economic policies before it is too late.”

Columban missionaries have been dedicated to the care and respect for creation for decades  through theological reflection, academic study, sacramental and liturgical practice, grassroots projects, policy advocacy, and artistic expression.  Recognizing that care and respect for creation is a universal call which unites people of all faiths, many of whom, inspired by the resources of their own traditions, are actively involved in care for the environment; we commit ourselves to working with them in a spirit of ecumenical and interfaith cooperation as well as with grassroots partners like the Global Catholic Climate Movement and Our Voices.

We wholeheartedly commit ourselves to working with the Church as well as with our ecumenical, interfaith, and grassroots partners wherever we are present to promote and integrate Laudato Si into the work for giving Praise and Glory to God through our care and respect for our common home.

Columbans around the world welcome Laudato Si: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kmYBTzPJnI

For Columban positions on issues of the Environment, Justice and Peace: http://www.columbans.co.uk/news/jpic-policy-statements-of-the-columban-missionary-society/

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ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ POPE FRANCIS ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME

Please click here to download Laudato Si – EN an English copy of the Encyclical.

June 18th 2015

For information

(directly and fully copied from )

www.news.va/en/news/encyclical-laudato-si-on-the-care-of-our-common-ho

Key Points on LAUDATO SI’: ON THE CARE OF OUR COMMON HOME

Pope Francis’ first encyclical is focused on the idea of ‘integral ecology’, connecting care of the natural world with justice for the poorest and most vulnerable people. Only by radicallyreshaping our relationships with God, with our neighbours and with the natural world, he says, can we hope to tackle the threats facing our planet today. Science, he insists, is the best tool by which we can listen to the cry of the earth, while dialogue and education are the two keys that can “help us to escape the spiral of self-destruction which currently engulfs us”.

At the heart of the Pope’s reflections is the question: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”. The answers he suggests call for profound changes to political, economic, cultural and social systems, as well as to our individual lifestyles.

Chapter 1 sets out six of the most serious challenges facing “our common home”

  • Pollution, waste and our throwaway mentality: “the earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth”
  • Climate change: “one of the principle challenges facing humanity in our day” but “many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms”
  • Water: “access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right” yet entire populations, and especially children get sick and die because of contaminated water
  • Biodiversity: “Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species” and the consequences cannot be predicted as “all of us, as living creatures, are dependent on one another”. Often transnational economic interests obstruct this protection
  • Breakdown of society: Current models of development adversely affect the quality of life of most of humanity and “many cities are huge, inefficient structures, excessively wasteful of energy and water
  • Global inequality: Environmental problems affect the most vulnerable people, the greater part of the world’s population and the solution is not reducing the birth rate but counteracting “an extreme and selective consumerism”

And Chapter 3 explores six of the deep root causes of these growing crises

  • Technology: While it can bring progress towards sustainable development, without “a sound ethics”, it gives “those with the knowledge, and especially the economic resources… an impressive dominance over the whole of humanity”
  • The technocratic mentality: “the economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit……yet by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion”
  • Anthropocentrism: we fail to understand our place in the world and our relationship with nature. Interpersonal relations and protection of human life must be set above technical reasoning so environmental concern “is also incompatible with the justification of abortion”
  • Practical relativism: environmental degradation and social decay is the result of seeing “everything as irrelevant unless it serves one’s own immediate interests”
  • Employment: Integral ecology needs to take account of the value of labour so everyone must be able to have work and it’s “bad business for society” to stop investing in people to achieve short-term financial gains
  • Biological technologies: GMOs are a “complex environmental issue” which have helped to resolve problems but bring difficulties such as concentrating land “in the hands of a few owners”, threatening small producers, biodiversity and ecosystems

So where do the solutions lie? Here are six of the best

  • In “The Gospel of Creation”: Chapter 2 examines the Old and New Testaments to show how human life is grounded in our relationships with God, with our neighbours and with the created world. We must acknowledge our sins when we break these relationships and realize our “tremendous responsibility” towards all of God’s creation
  • In Integral Ecology: Chapter 4 explores this new paradigm of justice which means “the analysis of environmental problems cannot be separated from the analysis of human, family, work-related and urban contexts”, while solutions must be based on “a preferential option for the poorest of our brothers and sisters”
  • In Dialogue: Chapter 5, entitled ‘Lines of Approach and Action’ stresses the need for “honest and open debate, so that particular interests or ideologies will not prejudice the common good”. The Church does not presume to settle scientific questions or to replace politics, but it can promote dialogue on global and local governance, transparent decision-making, sustainable use of natural resources, as well as engaging in respectful dialogue with other people of faith and with the scientific world
  • In Education: Chapter 6 urges schools, families, the media and the churches to help reshape habits and behavior. Overcoming individualism, while changing our lifestyles and consumer choices, can bring much “pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power” causing significant changes in society.
  • In Ecological Conversion: Chapter 6 also highlights St Francis of Assisi as the model of “a more passionate concern for the protection of our world”, characterized by gratitude and generosity, creativity and enthusiasm
  • In Spirituality: Finally Chapter 6 and the two concluding prayers show how faith in God can shape and inspire our care for the environment. The Sacraments, the Trinity, the model of the Holy Family and our hope for eternal life can teach, motivate and strengthen us to protect the natural world that God has given us.

(from Vatican Radio)

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The Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) Statement of Thanks and Support on Laudato Si

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Statement of Thanks to His Holiness, Pope Francis

On the Issuance of His Encyclical on the Environment, Laudato Si

June 18th 2015

“God wills the interdependence of creatures. The sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 340)

The Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) profoundly thanks Pope Francis for his encyclical Laudato Si that calls on all men and women of goodwill, the whole human family, to care for creation, protect human dignity and safeguard our common home. We are grateful that the leadership of Pope Francis in the issuance of this encyclical has highlighted the urgency to act on climate change and highlights that “human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning.” (205)

We support Pope Francis’ acknowledgement that the climate, together with other components of natural systems, is a common good, and that we all must recognise the immensity and urgency of the challenges ahead. We also agree that justice includes intergenerational solidarity; the environment is “on loan to each generation.” (159) We too recognise that all creatures, including humanity, are interconnected and dependent on one another and hence integral solutions are required.

We join Pope Francis in his call for dialogue and for us to work to create a new and universal solidarity that recognises those integral relationships between the social and economic ills of our age. To achieve this universal solidarity–this communion–a new and better paradigm of socio-economic development is necessary, one that is sustainable and includes intergenerational solidarity.

Thus, we underscore within the encyclical Benedict XVI’s contribution to the social teaching of the Church: “To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of  true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago”. (175)

We applaud Pope Francis for urging that all Christians “cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.” (14) Quoting Saint John Paul II, the Holy Father tells us that Christians must “realize that their responsibility within creation, and their duty towards nature and the Creator, are an essential part of their faith.” (64) Thus, the Christian may live by the ecological commitments of their convictions, and so work to restore the garden that God created for us in the beginning.

“A healthy relationship with creation is one dimension of overall personal conversion, which entails the recognition of our errors, sins, faults and failures, and leads to heartfelt repentance and desire to change.” (218) We thus call to mind St. Francis of Assisi and invite all to examine their everyday habits and lifestyles, mindful of their connection with God, neighbour and creation, so that each of us contributes our skills to build a better future.

We urge our human family to shift away from fossil fuels with the goal of keeping global average temperatures within 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels. We have the technology to do this, and clean energy for all is feasible.  We draw on our Judeo-Christian heritage of hope and faith, believing that all things are possible with sufficient love and commitment.  We must all prayerfully reflect, with the encyclical, on how we may best put our shoulders to the task of moving our economies and institutions to gear up for a renewable energy future.

In thanking Pope Francis for his inspired leadership, we the GCCM sincerely thank all bishops who raise awareness on climate change and we urge their brother bishops and catholics of the world to join them.

In support of the encyclical, the GCCM will further promote personal and organisation ecological conversion to reduce emissions and transition to a low carbon world. We encourage all Catholics to know and live the prophetic wisdom of Pope Francis, sharing his concern for the needs of the poor, the protection of the environment, and all gifts given to us by God.

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The Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) is a first-of-its-kind international coalition of Catholics from many nations, continents, and walks of life. We are laity, religious, and clergy, theologians, scientists, and activists from across the globe. We are united by our Catholic faith and our work in various roles and organizations on climate change issues. The GCCM encourages all people to sign its climate petition asking world leaders to keep global average temperatures within 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels. It is expected at least 1 million signatures will be  presented to world leaders at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP 21) in early December 2015. The GCCM petition was endorsed by Pope Francis. Further information can be found at: http://catholicclimatemovement.global/

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Religious Groups share their messages on Climate Change

The Pope’s encyclical on climate change is being released, and he is not the only one to be speaking out about how humans are affecting the world.

Across the world religious groups are making their views on climate change clear, and they share a common message – climate change is an urgent issue, and pointing towards a strong deal in the Paris summit this December is paramount.

Buddhism – The Dalai Lama talked about the right issues, way back in 2009. More recently, many Buddhist leaders signed a strong statement pointing out that “the time to act is now”.

Christianity – Many churches have issued statements urging action.

17 Anglican (episcopal) bishops wrote a declaration emphasizing urgency, which can be found here.

The Pope releases his encyclical on climate change tomorrow, a major event for the Catholic church. The significance of this is described here. He’s made his views clear before, saying in Mass this February that  “even for us there is a responsibility to nurture the Earth, to nurture Creation, to keep it and make it grow according to its laws.”

The spiritual leader of the Eastern Orthodox church, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, made his views clear on World Environment Day 2009.

The Presbyterian church of the US released a resolution called “The Power to Change: U.S. Energy Policy and Global Warming.”

Hinduism – A climate change declaration was made in 2009, saying that “the Hindu tradition understands that man is not separate from nature.”

Judaism – Hundreds of Rabbis have joined together to tell us that “Earth needs not only the joyful human voice but also the healing human hand,” in a Rabbinic letter on the Climate Crisis. The number is going up daily.

Islam – An Islamic Faith Statement tells us that we are “the only creation of Allah to be entrusted with the overall responsibility of maintaining planet Earth in the overall balanced ecology that man found.”

Sikhism – EcoSikh released a Sikh perspective on climate change last year.

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