In a brief report to the Jesuits of Micronesia, David Andrus, SJ shares his experience as one of the participants to the Reconciling with Creation Reflection Workshop of the Jesuit Conference Asia Pacific (JCAP) held at the Culture and Ecology Center in Bendum, Philippines from 6 to 10 June 2016.
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The Ecology Commission of Christian Life Community (CLC) developed Progressio Supplement #72: Caring for Creation that focused on matters of ecology and environmental concerns, and stands as CLC’s contribution to the ongoing action in the ecology frontier, one of the priorities of the Lebanon World Assembly.
The CLC discussion on the theme of ecology aligns itself with the directive of the Church’s Social Doctrine – as laid down by the Second Vatican Council, and as ratified by all following popes – in urging a firm and concerted response from people of faith to the environmental challenge of our time. And today, above all, we align ourselves with the brave and clear call of Laudato si’: On the Care of our Common Home that responds to and seeks to ameliorate the ravaged state of our sister earth and our shared home.
Benjamin Kataliko and Benjamin Kambale, students from Collège Boboto, a Jesuit high school in Kinshasa, DR Congo (DRC), won first place in a national poster contest on nature and the environment. Under the supervision of a school professor, Mr Dénis Nzeza, they designed a poster on plastic waste that showed not only ways to recycle plastic waste, but also the need to change attitudes.
In his opening remarks to the media during the closing day of the COP21 climate talks in Le Bourget, France on 11 December 2015, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon shared, “I have been attending many difficult multilateral negotiations, but by any standard, this negotiation is most complicated, most difficult, but most important for humanity.”
This statement reflects the weight of expectations placed on COP21. For many, the Paris Agreement was a success, reflecting a universal, explicit acknowledgement among the nations of the world, that climate change is a serious issue requiring urgent action. However, while long on ambition, the Agreement falls short on steps for concrete action.
There is no doubt that the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (COP15) in December 2009, caused a real trauma in the world of climate change negotiations. Since then, these negotiations have taken on a tone of fatalism or at least a huge prudence. But there is an acknowledgement that COP 21, presently taking place in Paris, is proceeding more smoothly than Copenhagen. The messages released by world leaders at the opening ceremony were much more positive than in previous occasions.
The tension held during the first week of the 21st meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP21) in Le Bourget, Paris, France is clearly a sign of the times and a time when we define the future. The decisions may not be in ink but the momentum to achieve commitment is building up rapidly. It is unlikely that 150 leaders will attend COP22 in November 2016. That meeting may help the economy of Marrakech, Morocco but critical difference has to be made here and now so that we go home doing the right things.