Climate change put top of Justice and Peace agenda

‘You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes’

‘I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all’
(Pope Francis, Laudato si’ 14)

The ever-pressing question of climate and how we must act is the focus of the Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission’s annual assembly in July.

It was in 2015 that Pope Francis called on us all to work together to tackle climate change. Subsequently, in October 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report stating that we have just 12 years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, after which even just half a degree extra would significantly increase the risk of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

Just two months later in December 2018, Greta Thunberg, a Swedish schoolgirl climate activist, addressed the United Nations’ Katowice Climate Summit and said: ‘You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.’ Two months later, in February this year, the 16-year-old spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos and added: ‘Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire.’

She went on: ‘Until you start focusing on what needs to be done, rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.’

It is obvious that we must act immediately if we want to prevent the destruction of the planet, and life, as we know it today. We must all change, we need to change our own lives; we need to help our families and
households to change; we need to encourage our friends to change; we need to change our workplaces and schools. We cannot rely on other people to solve this crisis. Scientists alone will not be able to solve this and nor will politicians: we must all act to prevent the destruction of the planet.

Hence the decision to place climate change at the heart of this year’s J&P annual assembly. Our programme will include the following speakers:

• Dr Paul Rooney, from Liverpool Hope University, on ‘The reality and urgency of Climate Change action: the social and ecological imperatives’

• Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, on ‘Addressing the theological imperatives of Climate Change’

• Jo Musker-Sherwood, from Hope for the Future, on ‘Action: from the personal to the collective’. Hope for the Future is an organisation working to equip communities, campaigners and groups across the country to communicate the urgency of climate change.

The assembly will take place on Saturday 6 July from 10am to 4pm at LACE, Croxteth Drive, Liverpool, L17 1AA. Everyone is welcome to attend, lunch is included in the day, and a donation of £10 is suggested.

‘The earth is a gift, not a possession; it was given to us to administer, not to destroy. Hence, we must respect the laws of nature, as all of creation has its own goodness’ (Pope Francis, Laudato si’ 75)

• Please pray for our fieldworker, Steve Atherton, during his recovery from his recent operation, and for all
the wonderful staff of the NHS throughout the country.