MANILA, Aug. 12, 2015—Climate justice groups from various sectors and faith traditions have recognized that the global crisis of climate change is spiritual as it is environmental.
Led by the Association of Major Religious Superiors (AMRSP) and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice, and Peace (NASSA), delegates of the recent national climate conference in Manila have come to realize that an “authentic ecological conversion” is needed if the planet, “their common home,” is to survive the effects of the degradation humans have caused.
“…we reiterate our conviction that the global crisis that we are now facing is also a spiritual crisis. Thus, we beat our breast and humbly recognize our errors, sins, faults and failures that we have committed against the environment. We hope that this leads us to an authentic ecological conversion, and a heartfelt repentance and desire to change,” the participants declare in their collective statement.
Less = more
Mirroring Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’, the eco-warriors go on to express conviction that “less is more” (LS 222), highlighting the integrity of human life, and the promotion of values.
They explain, “We believe in our vision of a global community that lives in peace and harmony with all of creation in praise of the heavenly Father who created them all.”
According to them, the gravity and urgency of climate change, especially in island-nations like the Philippines, is part of a larger ecological crisis given that it worsens the sufferings of people already burdened by such injustices as hunger, dispossession, and of human rights violations.
“Confronted with the complexity and the enormity of the challenge to act on it, we join hands in bringing the resources of our faith traditions to bear on the twin imperatives of combating excessive greenhouse gas emissions and promoting climate justice. We altogether heed Pope Francis’ invitation in Laudato Si’ to create avenues for a ‘new dialogue’ about how we are shaping the future of our planet, our common home, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all (LS 14),” they stress.
Faith with science
The participants are also push for science-based discourses on climate change which they hope will give concretize their faith-motivated responses.
“The ecological and climate crisis has a spiritual as well as scientific dimensions, and our responses should have the same,” they note.
“Our faith traditions are at the heart of our common identity, providing much of the impetus and inspiration for our continuing engagements,” they add.
Besides AMRSP and CBCP-NASSA, the other convenors of the climate conference held at the Asilo de San Vicente de Paúl from July 29 to 31, 2015 were:
- Philippine chapter of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM)
- Fellowship of the Care of Creation Association Incorporated (FCCAI), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
- Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
- Philippine Misereor Partnership (PMPI)
- Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
- Medical Action Group (MAG)
- Bulig Visayas
- Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development
They were joined by social workers, Church volunteers, educators, representatives of different dioceses, religious congregations, and climate justice advocates. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)