Since President Trump, announced US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the United States Catholic Church affirmed its agreement and a commitment to climate action. Now a campaign is launched with a declaration on Climate Change.
The declaration starts saying: “As Catholic communities, organizations, and institutions in the United States, we join with state, tribal, and local governments, as well as businesses, financial institutions, and other faith organizations, to declare that we are still in on actions that meet the climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.”
It is a calling in a tune with the spirit of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, n° 23: “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.
In recent decades, this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognise the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.”
Launching the campaign a public letter calls to commitment, giving a link for any further action. “Since the beginning of this year the Covenant and a subcommittee of Steering Committee members have been working on an initiative to join the US Catholic community with the We Are Still In campaign (WASI). WASI is a US civil society response to President Trump’s announced US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. WASI affirms the agreement and a commitment to climate action by American civil society in the present absence of US federal leadership.
To date, over 2,600 institutions—including cities, states, tribes, businesses, investors, universities, non-profit organisations, and places of worship—have joined WASI.” The Declaration states an important point: “[A]t its core, global climate change is not about economic theory or political platforms, nor about partisan advantage or interest group pressures. It is about the future of God’s creation and the one human family. It is about protecting both ‘the human environment’ and the natural environment. It is about our human stewardship of God’s creation and our responsibility to those who come after us” (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good, 2001).
For this reason, it is working closely with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Covenant developed a Catholic Climate Declaration as “a complementary Catholic expression of solidarity with WASI.
We hope thousands of Catholic institutions across the United States, through their top decision makers, will sign the declaration thus representing the largest expression of support for climate action by the Catholic Church in America since Laudato Si’.
In celebration of its 3rd anniversary, the announcement of the number of declaration signatories will be on June 18, 2018.”
On April 19, a letter was already sent to all US bishops asking that they sign on the name of their dioceses and encouraging them to promote the campaign among other Catholic institutions and ministries within their dioceses. A “second stage is to gather support from across the US Catholic community, using top-down, peer-to-peer, and bottom-up approaches”, and this is the aim of this letter sent, “to each of the 28,000+ organizations in the Official Catholic Directory” Find here the declaration and sign on form: http://www.catholicclimatecovenant.org/catholic-climate-declaration. “Any Catholic organization in good standing is welcome to sign, including congregations within religious orders, parishes within dioceses, and local offices of national Catholic organizations. In addition, a host of materials related to the declaration – including Bishop Pates’ letter, FAQs, leave behind, video, and action alert, and step-by-step guide – are available on our website for you to use directly or tailor as you see fit.”
Even though the campaign concerns the US Catholic Church it is worth supporting since climate change affects all and puts at risk the effort to reduce poverty and hunger in the world. The signatures will be gathered from now until June 11. This action looks forward to the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in September 2018, which coalesce many of these efforts, both Catholic and secular.
John Paul Pezzi, mccj
VIVAT International NGO,
with consultative special status at UN