An open letter to Pope Francis, a global summit, and a people’s march for climate action

An open letter to Pope Francis, a global summit, and a people’s march for climate action

2014_09_15_P&P_PhotoThree events are responding to the increasing global understanding of the need for change in global climate action and Ecojesuit is highlighting these to share the emerging movements and also the growing reflection that we cannot go on business as usual.

Jim Hug recently wrote an open letter to Pope Francis that he is sharing with others because he’s heard that the Pope is “writing an encyclical letter on our ecological mission as the human family” and asks that the letter “be honest and urgent, spiritual, and radical.” He appeals to Pope Francis to ensure that his letter on ecology “can’t let people listen or read for a while, yawn, and then go back to their normal lives. Things have gone too far already.” Jim cites the presentation of a fellow Jesuit, Pedro Walpole, at the Seattle conference and who “spoke of the challenge of our future together in Teilhardian terms as the need to draw the 9 billion people that will inhabit Earth before this century is over into a new and higher level self-organization as a single human family.” Jim asks the Pope to make the letter strong, but also “to give some hope so that we don’t just throw up our hands in despair.”

Sensing that “change is in the air,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is inviting world leaders from government, finance, business, and civil society to join him at the UN Headquarters in New York, USA on 23 September for the Climate Summit 2014  “to engage leaders and advance climate action and ambition.” These leaders are expected to bring bold announcements and actions that will “reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015,” an ambitious plan that will limit the world to a global temperature of less than 2-degree Celsius. The Summit will focus on eight areas of actions and solutions: agriculture, cities, energy, financing, forests, pollutants, resilience, and transportation. Technically, the summit is not part of the negotiating process of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but is promoting a high-profile climate action to expand what can be achieved in December 2015, when the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC takes place in Paris, France.

Finally, the People’s Climate March  on 21 September will also take place in New York to demand a world within reach and “with an economy that works for people and the planet, a world safe from the ravages of climate change, a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.” Maximizing the opportunity to put public pressure on world leaders, people will peacefully flood the streets in New York City and in solidarity events around the world. More than 1,000 businesses, unions, faith groups, schools, social justice groups, environmental groups, and other concerned organizations are expected to participate and work together for this climate march. There is also a large representation of interfaith groups, colleges and universities, and religious congregations, that will come together on justice and principles of environmental justice and equality, representing the communities hit the hardest by climate change.

Jim Hug asks Pope Francis, who wrote about the joy of the Gospel, to “hold up a big picture of human solidarity.” We at Ecojesuit are not sure if all of these activities will bring the changes this world needs, but these are definitely big pictures of human solidarity and we all would do well to listen, understand, and take action no matter how small.

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