Priest renews call for ‘ecological conversion’ to address climate change

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Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Caritas Philippines executive secretary, joins a "climate walk" in Manila to call on the government to address climate change, October 4, 2015.

MANILA, March 14, 2016— As the holy week nears, an official of Caritas Philippines has echoed Pope Francis’ call for an “ecological conversion” in order to combat climate change.

Speaking alongside former US Vice President Al Gore during a climate leadership training on in Manila on Monday, Fr. Edwin Gariguez emphasized the need as well as the need to safeguard all creation and all people.

He said climate change is not only about curbing fossil fuel production and its carbon emissions, expansion of carbon markets or transitioning to low carbon economies, but going beyond the mere economic and political arena.

“Over and above the campaign to provide technical or political solutions, we need to recover the wider ethical context underlying the climate change discourse,” said Gariguez, executive secretary of Caritas Philippines.

The priest likewise stressed the moral imperative of the Church to act and care for the Earth, especially the Philippines is at the doorstep of all major threats of climate change.

He said the Philippines, being an archipelago, is prone to climate-induced disasters brought about by sea level rise, storm surges, prolonged drought and flash floods with poor communities suffering most the impacts of climate change.

Based on the 2014 World Risk Report, the Philippines ranked second with the greatest risk to disaster worldwide in terms of climate change vulnerability.

“The recent catastrophic super typhoon Yolanda that devastated the central region of our country attests to this level of vulnerability,” the Goldman Environmental Prize awardee said.

The Catholic Church through the Caritas confederation has already reached out to 1.8 million people affected by Yolanda, and managed a total of P3.2 billion over the last two years.

In encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, the Pope highlighted the adverse impacts of climate change on the poor and most vulnerable, and the scale of the climate crisis. (CBCPNews)

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