Latin American Church Calls for ‘Incisive’ Action Against Climate Change

An activist holds up placard depicting the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg during "Fridays for future" demonstration, a worldwide climate strike against governmental inaction towards climate breakdown and environmental pollution in Stockholm on September 27, 2019. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP) (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
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The president of the Latin-American Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CELAM) said Europeans need to leave behind a “poetic” understanding of climate change to begin combating it effectively.

In an interview Sunday with the Spanish news agency EFE, Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos of Trujillo, Peru, said that the United Nations climate convention currently taking place in Madrid (COP25) furnishes “an invitation to raise the awareness of European countries.”

Europe is far from the “lungs” of the planet, such as the Amazon or the African Congo, the archbishop said, and for that reason “perhaps the issue of caring for our common home and the danger of climate change is sometimes understood poetically.”

The COP25 meeting is especially important at the present moment, he continued, because everyone is aware that the Paris Climate Agreement “has not been fully complied with.”

As Breitbart News reported in 2017, after President Trump’s announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, a number of other nations quietly began ignoring the Paris energy goals.

At that time, Lawrence Solomon of Energy Probe, a Toronto-based environmental organization, noted that “most signatories are ignoring, if not altogether abandoning Paris commitments, undoubtedly because voters in large part put no stock in scary global warming scenarios.”

“The populist backlash — a revulsion at top-down governments laden with jet-setting politicians landing in posh places to preach restraint to the masses — has swept America with Trump’s election, Great Britain with Brexit, much of Europe, and Australia,” he said.

“In the process, global warming enthusiasts are being swept out,” he wrote.

According to the president of CELAM, a “greater awareness” is being created globally against the dangers of climate change and Pope Francis, in particular, deserves credit for his “futuristic vision” with the recent celebration of the Vatican Synod of Bishops on the Amazon region.

With that synod, the pontiff pushed forward the climate change agenda “not only from a pastoral point of view, but also from a scientific point of view,” he said.

In this regard, the archbishop recalled that in the synod “there was much talk about ecological conversion” and about the return to “a simpler, more austere way of life, with environmental and social responsibility,” he added.

As the pope has done, Cabrejos underscored the importance of youth in the struggle against climate change.

Young people are “more sensitive” to the current climate emergency, he said, and yet “we must call on them to be more incisive” in employing effective measures to stop it.

Citing a favorite phrase of Pope Francis, that young people need to “raise a ruckus,” Cabrejos said that in practice, this means “you have to mobilize, you have to take action for the common good, a greater good, which involves us all.”

Young people “are a great hope and we must invite them to raise a ruckus, to mobilize,” he said, since we “have responsibilities to future generations.”

CELAM itself is establishing a permanent body to give continuity to the Amazon synod by addressing the concerns raised during that meeting, he said.

What are needed from the Latin American Church are “concrete actions of responsibility and commitment” in the fight against climate change, which can then be transferred to the universal Church.

“To think that human beings are disconnected from nature is a very serious error, it is all interconnected,” Cabrejos said.

“If there is no responsibility and sensitivity to climate change, then the whole world will suffer,” he concluded.

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