International Efforts to Reduce Climate Change
DIAC members are interested in supporting local, national and worldwide efforts to reduce carbon emissions and make the world less threatening for our children. I’ve attempted to review the two major worldwide initiatives from 2015, as well as other more local campaigns, to find opportunities for DIAC to make important contributions to the cause.
The Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The 31-page Agreement of December 12, 2015 was signed by some 188 countries, including all of the largest. It’s most revealing statements are:
“Recognizing that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet and thus requires the widest possible cooperation by all countries, and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions,…” And, “Acknowledging that climate change is a common concern of mankind, Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women, and intergenerational equity,… “
It’s exciting that this level of agreement and urgency was achieved, but it seems to me that our actions will have to be local, including making sure our representatives are working toward the agreement and we collectively and personally are reducing our greenhouse gas footprint.
The Pope’s Encyclical Letter – “On Care for our Common Home”
As stated on the back cover of the letter, as published by the Word Among Us Press:
“It is no longer enough to speak only of the integrity of ecosystems. We have to dare to speak of the integrity of human life, of the need to promote and unify all the great values. Once we lose our humility, and become enthralled with the possibility of limitless mastery over everything, we inevitably end up harming society and the environment.” Addressed not only to Catholics by to “every person living on this planet.” Pope Francis’ second encyclical is a challenging call for a “bold cultural revolution” in how we think about our technological progress and economic growth. The degradation of our environment, he says, is a symptom of deeper problems: rapid change, unsustainable over consumption, indifference to the poor, and the decay of social values. He offers a variety of solutions, including a change in lifestyles away from “extreme consumerism” and towards a greater sense of social responsibility. For Christians, and “ecological spirituality” –-- one that is grounded in the convictions of our faith --- is not “an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian aspect of our Christian experience.”
I think it is something many of us would enjoy reading. It is affirming and motivating. But it doesn’t reveal any leads for us to follow.
Bill Eyring, Membership Committee Member, DIAC