Beyond COP26 and the shared mission of climate justice

Beyond COP26 and the shared mission of climate justice

The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change wrapped up with the release of the Glasgow Climate Pact, outlining the decisions, agreements, and commitments made that are inadequate responses to the gravity of the socioecological crisis and the suffering of those bearing its impacts, with real action, transparency, and accountability falling short. The last-minute change to the pact softening the language of “coal phase-out” to “coal phase-down” is also a major undermining of the process.

Given the present commitments, nothing will change in the next 20 years for the most vulnerable in the margins where communities already experience the brunt of climate impacts and ecological degradation, as they lose their homes, livelihoods, and overall security to the impacts of the climate crisis. The refusal of top emitters to take accountability for loss and damage is a manifestation of climate colonialism in a modern context, rooted in a history of exploitation which is also prevalent at a national level.

Yet, there is genuine hope drawn from the commitment shown by the youth, the indigenous, and faith groups, to share a more long-term and inclusive vision of care for humanity and all life that is part of God’s creation. The UN global forum is the only political space we have to negotiate the global responsibility and there are many committed people working in the process. The challenge is to broadly include all voices in global processes, make more transparent the influences of the corporate political lobby and their more just and needed contribution. While stressing the global dynamic, we must humbly acknowledge that we are part of our own national colonialism, and we face this with a deeper commitment for change through human development where all are recognized.

In a video statement after COP26 closed, UN Secretary-General António Guterres shared that “the COP26 outcome is a compromise, reflecting the interests, contradictions and state of political will in the world today. It’s an important step, but it’s not enough. It’s time to go into emergency mode.”

In the light of what Father Sosa said to “do what we must,” we strengthen our personal, community and institutional actions for a better world as we listen to the voices in the journey of synodality.

Engaging with the seven Laudato Si’ goals of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform (LSAP) is an obvious path for growing together in the journey to integral ecology and Ecojesuit working with the LSAP has the primary goal of joining the local to the global while the thrust is to advocate for climate justice.

Ecojesuit sustains its involvement in global discussions and platforms by supporting the work and daily advocacies of Jesuit ministries, ensuring the active and meaningful participation of youth, Indigenous Peoples and all at the margins, and broadening interfaith collaboration, thus deepening discernment and our commitment in caring for the Common Home.

Father Sosa challenges us to act creatively from where we are and engage globally in these six themes coming from the COP process through the Jesuit Conferences to take up the lead and echo the message of integral ecology and integrity:

1. Pushing for political accountability

2. Lobbying for the just transition to clean energy

3. Adapting with agroecology and food systems as a culture-based solution for climate justice

4. Calling for transparency on climate finance and accountability for loss & damage

5. Promoting the contribution of Indigenous Peoples in the protection of biodiversity 6. Seeking greater responsibility for the oceans, highlighted by ocean states poorly represented

“The annual UN Climate Change Conference, COP 26, ended in Glasgow a few days ago with unsatisfactory gains. Without losing hope, let us continue to walk with the vulnerable and work more vigorously, in advocacy with decision-makers for policy reform in favour of climate justice. Without waiting for political leaders to act, let us do what we must. As responsible citizens of this planet, let us together commit to do our part to care for our Common Home.” (Father General Arturo Sosa SJ, 6 December 2021)

Ecojesuit is strengthened in its collaboration with all faiths, the youth, and the indigenous, drawing from our faith to continue to respond to the call for climate justice, to keep the goal of 1.5°C, and to steadfastly amplify the cry of the Earth and the poor at the climate frontiers. Together we are challenged to respond to Father Sosa’s call to take “bold action to address the crisis affecting our common home…and to dismantle structures of injustice…as our contribution to a more fraternal, just, and sustainable world,” through our shared mission of climate justice.

The PDF copy of the Ecojesuit statement, COP26 and beyond: The shared mission of climate justice, can also be accessed here.

The Ecojesuit COP26 delegate network members are: Reverend James Shri Bhagwan (Pacific Conference of Churches); Ann Marie Brennan (Christian Life Community); Siji Chacko SJ and Charles Dhinakaran (Jesuit Conference of South Asia); Sue Martin and Gabriel Lamug-Nañawa SJ (Jesuit Conference Asia Pacific); Brex Arevalo and Lumnesh Swaroop Kumar SJ (Ecojesuit); Xavier Jeyaraj SJ, Fala Valery Ngong SJ, and Valeria Méndez de Vigo (Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat); Rigobert Minani Bihuzo SJ (Centre d’Etude Pour l’Action Sociale); Ciara Murphy (Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice or JCFJ); Martina Madden (JCFJ and Irish Jesuits International); Charles Chilufya SJ and Bryan Galligan SJ (Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa); Adolfo Canales, Edmond Grace SJ, and Telmo Olascoaga Michel (Jesuit European Social Centre); Maria Virginia Solis Wahnish (Economy of Francesco); Aaron Durnbaugh and Mark Mackey SJ (Loyola University Chicago); Ngonidzashe Edward SJ (Catholic Youth Network on Environmental Sustainability in Africa); Luiz Felipe Barboza Lacerda (National Observatory of Socioenvironmental Justice Luciano Mendes de Almeida); Nicholas Napolitano (USA East Province of the Jesuits); Paul Chitnis and Br. Stephen Power SJ (Jesuit Missions, Britain); Victor Reyes (Canadian Jesuits International); Mark Hathaway (Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice); Efa Ravelonantoandro (Centre Arrupe Madagascar); Mateusz Ciasnocha (European Carbon Farmers).

The Ecojesuit Secretariat team members are: Pedro Walpole SJ, Sylvia Miclat, Maricel de Jesus, Rowena Soriaga, Raiza Javier, Criselle Mejillano, and Gel Malibunas.

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