PARIS, France, Dec. 9, 2015 – Filipino activists along with their foreign allies who had walked from Rome to Paris to demand change for climate at the COP21 released recently the “Laudato Si’ Manifesto,” which is a synthesis of Pope Francis’ pronouncements on ecology.
“Our walk is a message of sacrifice of the suffering climate,” explained Rodne Galicha, one of some 1,500 climate pilgrims whose message was received well by host communities en route to the French capital.
“I would rather continue walking rather than be there at COP21. We will continue the pilgrimage for climate justice and bring the message of Laudato Si’,” shared Yeb Saño, former Philippine climate negotiator, who led the Rome-Paris climate march.
According to them, the manifesto carries a strong message on the climate, from ecological conversion to the paying of ecological debt, even demanding the protection of indigenous communities who are climate victims.
The climate activists point out that their common statement is to work on the Holy Father’s “Laudato Si’ Manifesto” where they believe the ground for discussion, analysis, and solutions to ecological problems can be found.
They add that the document also seeks to be a reference guide for world leaders, environmental activists, church leaders, organizers, and teachers, among others, and offers a reality-check of what individuals, institutions, and organizations can do for environmental action.
The “Laudato Si’ Manifesto” reads:
1. The Earth is our common home. (LS, 1)
2. We demand ecological conversion: both personal, communitarian, and institutional.
“The need for each of us to repent of the ways we have harmed the planet, for “inasmuch as we all generate small ecological damage”, we are called to acknowledge “our contribution, smaller or greater, to the disfigurement and destruction of creation”. (LS, 8).
3. We want ecological liberation. “We look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity… He asks us to replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which “entails learning to give, and not simply to give up. It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God’s world needs. It is liberation from fear, greed and compulsion”. (LS, 9)
4. Care for the Earth is integral. “He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.” (LS, 10)
5. We call for ecological solidarity that will foment ecological action. “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development…” (LS, 13) Ways to act: divestment in fossil fuels, converting to renewables, energy-efficiency attitude, response to climate adaptation, disaster response, and supporting grassroots initiatives.
6. We demand climate justice for the destruction of our planet perpetrated by mining companies, businesses, multinational corporations, and greedy countries. “… after ceasing their activity and withdrawing, they leave behind great human and environmental liabilities such as unemployment, abandoned towns, the depletion of natural reserves, deforestation, the impoverishment of agriculture and local stock breeding, open pits, riven hills, polluted rivers and a handful of social works which are no longer sustainable”. (LS, 51)
7. We need to pay our “ecological debt” for the harm we have done to the environment, communities, and individuals suffering now and the future. (LS, 51)
8. The need to engage for a new ecological dialogue. “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.” (LS, 14)
9. We should create an integral space for “ecological citizenship” as a practical path of becoming witnesses for the environment. “Only by cultivating sound virtues will people be able to make a selfless ecological commitment.” (LS, 211)
10. We are interconnected, we should foment connectedness with other faith-based groups, civil society and institutions. “…because all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another.” (LS, 42)
11. Promote “ecological education” as a way of fomenting consciousness, action, and integral faith-advocacy for environmental care. (LS, 213)
12. Our ecological concern is a compassion for the planet and people. “To hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” (LS, 49)
13. Believing that “integral ecology” in all aspects of life as an integral response to the global crisis. (LS, 137)
14. We need to cultivate an “ecological culture” as a way of outgrowing ecological destruction. “There needs to be a distinctive way of looking at things, a way of thinking, policies, an educational programme, a lifestyle and a spirituality which together generate resistance to the assault of the technocratic paradigm.” (LS, 111)
15. Special care for the indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. “For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values.” As we acknowledged the richness of their way of life, we also have to protect their rights “in various parts of the world, pressure is being put on them to abandon their homelands to make room for agricultural or mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture.” (LS, 146)
16. The need for ecological faith. “God, who calls us to generous commitment and to give him our all, offers us the light and the strength needed to continue on our way. In the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much, is always present. He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our earth, and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward. Praise be to Him! (LS, 245) (Raymond A. Sebastián / CBCP News)