Climate change affects us all.
We share this beautiful gift of the Earth.
As Catholics, all we have to do to remind ourselves is read Genesis. It is in Genesis that we hear the word of God, telling us what He has created for us. He loves us so deeply that He created all the Earth for us.
It was on the sixth day that God looked at everything He had made and found it very good.
For us, believers that we are, true believers, how can we read Genesis and not feel drawn to the goodness God gave us? He created a beautiful place for us to live, raise our children and grandchildren, and he also charged us with the heavy burden of caring for this beautiful place. He gave us “dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.” He also said, “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground, I give all the green plants for food.”
This is a heavy burden indeed.
And I fear we are failing in our responsibility. Perhaps we have become blasé? Especially those of us living in the first world. It’s easy for us to go about our day without thinking about our sisters and brothers living in the third world, those without the ability to run to the grocery store on our way home from work. It takes conscience effort to remind ourselves that there are millions of people who live without our conveniences. So many get their food through hard work of farming the land, fishing the rivers, and hunting.
At this very moment, there are families leaving their homes, moving to higher ground due to the rising sea levels. There are people who can no longer fish the rivers because the rivers have gotten so low, even dried up completely. And farmers who can no longer work their farms in the middle of the day due to the extreme heat, they must do everything before the sun gets too hot, or later in the day, when it has cooled slightly.
At the United Nations, this is an everyday concern.
This week, the United Nations will be hosting COP27, The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. They will be bringing together Heads of State and government representatives along with climate control activists, civil society and CEOs.
They, COP27 will be looking for ways to work together to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to build resilience to climate change and to commit to finance action in developing countries.”
This meeting is not without controversy, just today I read there were people accusing the attendees of hypocrisy, suggesting they would have been more believable if they held the meeting virtually, as opposed to flying from far away countries. While I can understand their comments and concerns, I would like to say there is nothing quite as moving as sitting across the table from someone with lived experience as they tell their story. Yes, we might be able to hear their story via Zoom, to me it’s not as impactful.
In preparation of this important meeting, The IOM, International Organization for Migration, has released the report “People on the Move in a Changing Climate-Linking Policy, Evidence and Action” You can find a link to the report by going to the United Nations website, then search for COP27, where you will find many interesting documents, and first-person testimonials regarding climate change and migration.
Pattie Hughes, SSVP