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Voices of community, faith, and nature from Oceania and Asia in climate reconciliation

Voices of community, faith, and nature from Oceania and Asia in climate reconciliation

Addressing the climate crisis in Oceania and Asia will only be possible if Pacific and Asian communities work together and engage in meaningful dialogue that promotes shared learning and collaboration.

Community, Faith, and Nature: Voices from Oceania and Asia at the Forefront of Climate Reconciliation is a joint dialogue on 6 July 2021 that highlights the interconnected roles of indigenous communities, faith, and nature in climate reconciliation. Hosted by Ecojesuit and the River above Asia Oceania Ecclesial Network (RAOEN) this dialogue is an official side event to the UNFCCC Asia-Pacific Climate Week.

Broadening the climate dialogue: The ocean, the communities of cultures and faiths, and local nature-based solutions and responses

The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean on earth and is the biggest climate determinant, absorbing excess heat from greenhouse gases that trap energy from the sun and resulting in increased sea surface temperatures and rising sea levels. The impact of the Pacific Ocean on the climate changes and in the lives of ocean and forest communities in Oceania and Asia is massive.

With this joint dialogue that hopefully contributes to ongoing climate actions, conversations, and negotiations, Oceania and Asia have a unique opportunity to set a global example in broadening the climate dialogue. By leveraging on the diversity of cultures and faiths in Oceania and Asia, the critical voices of ocean and forest communities especially Indigenous Peoples in these regions are acknowledged for their role in responding to the climate crisis as they are at the forefront of the impact and action.

Indigenous communities lead the struggle for nature-based solutions while living in areas where the worst impacts of the climate crisis are deeply felt. They articulate the most urgent need for climate adaptations and highlight the response needed to address the problem at the core, and their voices, not just global corporations, need to be heard more in global discussions.

Support for low-carbon actions and practices that many indigenous communities live out through agroecology as a nature-based solution. There are many natural local responses that are not driven by technology and indigenous communities who relate with the oceans and the land need venues where their voices are heard and listened.

This engagement echoes the urgent call for a radical shift in the business-as-usual leadership in climate action by emphasizing local and indigenous voices, actions, and stories as solutions and ways forward, not just interesting anecdotes. As well, recovery from the interrelated COVID-19 and climate crises cannot happen without addressing the nexus of climate, water, food, biodiversity, and culture.

A shared gratitude for creation and the common good as part of the global response

These local responses also draw their strength from a shared gratitude for creation and the environment that is in solidarity with local needs and the common good. These are the voices that faith-based organizations and movements are listening to in sustaining a reconciliation with the sea and the land.

In this process, voices from the ground are empowered, especially the youth, women, and Indigenous Peoples who can be considered “disruptors” in the global climate conversations. These are the voices and “disruptors” that faith-based organizations are supporting through years of community accompaniment.

The global response needs to be in the rapid reduction of carbon and climate action financing while indigenous communities need a reduction of their vulnerabilities in their social environment so they can focus on the local responses needed.

Indigenous Peoples and faith-based organizations have a capacity to respond as they are action-oriented while holding a shared gratitude for creation and a basic recognition of the common good.

To register for the event, visit: bit.ly/APCWJointDialogue

This article is also available in Spanish.

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