~ by Brian Roewe, Earth Beat, National Catholic Reporter
In response to the “grave threat” of climate change, heads of the world’s major religious united at the Vatican to issue an unprecedented joint appeal to government leaders at next month’s United Nations climate summit, calling for “urgent, radical and responsible action” to drastically curb greenhouse gas emissions and for the world’s wealthiest countries to lead in health the planet.
The nearly 40 religious figures, among them Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu leaders, also pledged to increase awareness of the climate crisis and actions to address it within their own congregations.
“We are currently at a moment of opportunity and truth. We pray that our human family may unite to save our common home before it is too late,” the declaration read. “Future generations will never forgive us if we squander this precious opportunity.”
“We have inherited a garden: we must not leave a desert for our children,” the faith leaders wrote.
The joint statement, issued October 4th, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, outlined the expectations of the world’s major religions – representing about half the global population – for the COP26 U.N. climate conference set for November 1-12 in Glasgow, Scotland.
We plead with the international community, gathered at COP26, to take speedy, responsible and shared action to safeguard, restore and heal our wounded humanity and the home entrusted to our stewardship,” the faith declaration said. We appeal to everyone on the planet to join us on this common journey, knowing well what we can achieve depends not only on opportunities and resources, but also on hope, courage, solidarity and good will.”
Climate negotiators have said Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ on Care for our Common Home,” along with statements from other faith leaders and the world’s bishops had a positive influence on COP21 in 2015. The hope is that his new inter-religious appeal will yield similar results in Glasgow.