ContentsIntroduction 3Foreword by Caritas InternationalisSecretary General Lesley-Anne Knight 4Part 1: Living the reality of climate change 6Part 2: Biblical principles 10Part 3: Caritas in action 16Part 4: Putting people first 20Footnotes 24Bibliography 25Acknowledgements 26Climate Justice: Seeking a global ethicis a Working Document of Caritas Internationalis
Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethic | IntroductionAs a confederation of Catholic organisations representing both (based on 1990 levels) by 2020. This target should be reviewed asthe richest and the poorest countries on Earth, Caritas the emerging science indicates.Internationalis embodies the solidarity the world needs if it is tofind sustainable solutions to the effects of climate change. Developed countries must provide sufficient levels of secure financial and technological support for developing countries toCaritas has a particular strength and opportunity to develop clear mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. Moremoral arguments, based on the Bible and Catholic Social broadly, it is also essential that the sustainable development ofTeaching, in order to drive political and social action that will the people in developing countries is recognised and addressed.transcend narrow personal and national interests in favour of thecommon good. In order to provide immediate and effective advice regarding the human rights implications of actions designed to address climateCatholic Social Teaching reminds us of our shared duty to respect change, the UN human rights mechanisms must fully participatethe common good rather than using the Earth’s natural resources in the processes of the United Nations Framework Convention onsimply as we wish. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of Climate Change (UNFCCC).the Church emphasises the sacred gift that we have receivedthrough God’s creation and our “human responsibility for the The environment is a shared good that transcends nationalpreservation of a sound and healthy environment for all.” It also borders. Caritas therefore urges states to adopt regionalinsists that “serious ecological problems call for an effective approaches to addressing the causes and consequences ofchange of mentality leading to the adoption of new lifestyles.”1 climate change, including the promotion of dialogue and cooperation between neighbouring countries in theThis report seeks to raise awareness of our individual management of natural resources.responsibilities as members of a common humanity, and sets outthe key policies on which Caritas is campaigning at international, Caritas appeals to governments to develop and enforce nationalregional and national levels. policy frameworks that facilitate the identification and implementation of climate solutions at the levels of localCaritas urges governments to support and implement a post- governments, businesses, civil societies and families.2012 global climate change agreement that will keep globalmean surface temperatures as far as possible below a 2°C Caritas Internationalis also asks its own members to help inincrease on pre-industrial levels. safeguarding the integrity of creation for future generations through a strategic focus onIn recognition of their ecological debt to the environmental sustainability and byinternational community, industrialised reducing the carbon footprint of theirnations should take the lead in making respective organisations.absolute reductions of greenhouse gas(GHG) emissions of more than 40 percent Ethiopians battle their tough climate to grow food. Jan Bierkens/Caritas Belgium
| Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethicForewordBy Lesley-Anne Knight, Secretary It might further be argued that theGeneral of Caritas Internationalis developed world has also borrowed from the development potential of poorerThe world is waking up to the reality of countries.climate change. Scientists agree that it ishappening – and that humanity is causing These ‘loans’ must be repaid – there is noit. Engineers claim that we have the global atmospheric fund that is going totechnology to reduce carbon emissions. bail us out of this crisis. ExcessiveEconomists say we cannot afford to ignore borrowing has funded excessiveit and have devised clever incentives to consumption, and it therefore follows thatencourage business leaders to play their those who are in the best position to takepart. And politicians have realised that action also have a responsibility to do so.they have, at the very least, to pay lip-service to the cause. The inescapable conclusion is that – in a spirit of solidarity in pursuit of theBut none of the above has a ‘magic bullet’ common good – the excesses of the pastsolution. The answer to the climate must give way to more moderate lifestyleschange crisis lies in the hands of humanity that permit the development of all– in a revived sense of solidarity and a peoples and of future generations.realisation that we all have a duty to worktowards the common good. As Helm notes: “We may have to preserve more now, lowering our standards ofIn his recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, living, not only to make good all thePope Benedict XVI defines solidarity as financial borrowing, but the“first and foremost a sense of environmental borrowing too.”5responsibility on the part of everyone withregard to everyone”.2 To desire the There is actually nothing new in thiscommon good and strive towards it, he suggestion. Nearly 40 years ago, thesays, “is a requirement of justice and Second Synod of Bishops stated: “Thosecharity”.3 who are already rich are bound to accept adoption of new lifestyles ‘in which a less material way of life, with less waste, the quest for truth, beauty, goodnessVictory over climate change will come at a in order to avoid the destruction of the and communion with others for theprice, and the lion’s share of that price heritage which they are obliged by sake of common growth are theshould rightly be paid by those who have absolute justice to share with all other factors which determine consumerbenefitted most from the growth and members of the human race.”6 choices, savings and investments’.”7development that is causing climatechange. What is new is that we now have The idea of accepting a reduced standard economists backing up the arguments of of living is not, however, going to be aLike the global financial crisis, the climate the Church. vote-winner for governments. It will takechange crisis can be seen in terms of courageous leaders to promote a cultureexcessive borrowing: we have borrowed Pope Benedict too calls upon society to of lower consumption. And they will needfrom the atmosphere and biodiversity of make a serious review of its lifestyle. the support of the people.the future. As the economist Dieter Helm Quoting his predecessor, John Paul II, hehas pointed out: “We have been writing a says: This is why Caritas Internationalis islarge environmental mortgage on the focussing on the ethical, moral andconsumption possibilities of future “What is needed is an effective shift in theological dimensions of the climategenerations.”4 mentality which can lead to the change crisis. The scientific and economic
If we are to change the world, we have to change human behaviour; and a fundamental change in human behaviour can only be based on deep-seated conviction, not short-term expediency.arguments are important, but they are not effects of climate change, and what Cuba after Hurricane Ivan struck in 2004.enough. If we are to change the world, we Caritas Internationalis can do at a global ed Foster Jr./CRshave to change human behaviour; and a level to campaign for real and effectivefundamental change in human behaviour change.can only be based on deep-seatedconviction, not short-term expediency. Pope Benedict speaks of the need for “intergenerational justice”. He says, “WeIn this document, we hear from our must recognise our grave duty to handCaritas member organisations about the the Earth on to future generations in suchsuffering that is already taking place as a a condition that they too can worthilyresult of extreme weather events; we inhabit it and continue to cultivate it.”8examine the theological, moral andethical arguments relating to climate Justice lies at the heart of Caritaschange; we explore the inescapable Internationalis’ strategy in addressing theobligations that Catholic Social Teaching climate change crisis. Without it there canplaces upon us; we look at the work be no sustainable solution.Caritas organisations are doing in the field Lesley-Anne Knight in Bangladesh.to help people overcome the devastating
| Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethicLiving the reality of climate changeThe effects of climate change arealready a daily reality for many people,particularly for the world’s poorest andmost vulnerable.Weather is becoming more extreme andunpredictable, bringing severe storms,more floods and droughts. Glaciers,permafrost and sea ice are disappearing;sea levels are rising; forests are shrinking;water tables are falling; rivers are runningdry and seasons are changing. The WorldHealth Organization has estimated that150,000 people are dying every yearbecause of climate change.9In recent years, some of the worstdroughts on record have beenexperienced in Africa and Australia; therehave been extreme floods across SouthAsia, intense cyclones in Asia and theCaribbean and record heat waves.The Intergovernmental Panel on ClimateChange (IPCC) reports that, by 2020,productivity from agriculture in manyAfrican countries could be reduced by asmuch as 50 percent. These negative contribute to reduced overall rainfall, average of 900 percent. Climate change isimpacts on agriculture will compromise which has a devastating impact on the among the principle causes that some aidfood security and increase cases of agriculture upon which rural communities agencies link to the increase inmalnutrition.10 depend. humanitarian emergencies.12 In Kenya, the premature ending of the March-May rainsThe scientific predictions are confirmed by Poor farmers, fishermen, pastoralists and in recent years has exacerbated thethe daily experiences of poor those largely dependent on forest drought caused by several seasons ofcommunities. Trócaire (Caritas Ireland) has products are most affected by increases in poor rainfall. In Eritrea, poor rains in 2004documented anecdotal evidence from temperature and disrupted hydrological caused drinking water shortages, and inpeople living in resource-poor cycles, and have a limited asset base to southern Africa, more frequent droughtscommunities across the globe.11 enable them to adapt to these changes. have resulted in widespread starvationApproximately 90 percent of respondents Such challenges threaten to reverse and economic hardship.reported significant changes in seasonal improvements in the lives of poor people,weather patterns and 95 percent reported achieved through the support of It is estimated that two billion people nowchanges in rainfall patterns. Many organisations such as Caritas. depend on the fragile ecosystems of aridrespondents described more erratic and semi-arid areas, which are expectedrainfall patterns with fewer rainy days and Climate change compounds the poverty to experience further increases in waterlonger dry spells during the season, as that persists in most developing countries. stress. Some 634 million people, one tenthwell as the later onset and/or the early Since the 1960s, the number of victims of of the global population, are living in lowfinish of the rainy season. Such trends natural disasters has increased by an lying and at risk coastal areas.13
Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethic | The Island of Ha’apai: Kingdom of Tonga the Kingdom of tonga, a group of islands in the south Pacific, is facing the consequences of climate change. “We are lucky if a year goes past,” says sr senolita Vakata of Caritas tonga, “without a cyclone or hurricane hitting our country.” Pangai Ha’apai is one of the island groups in tonga. Children used to play on the beach and close to home. Now, as waters rise, they are moving inland and children really miss the healthy environment and the freshness of the sea breeze. Families had easy access to the sea for shallow sea fishing before. But over the last two years, the fish and oysters they used to catch and on which they fed their families are no longer there. they always built their houses near the beach. Now, you can see the impact of climate change on these houses near the sea. For the last three years, rising sea levels have caused very strong currents and powerful waves which have eroded the land on which their houses are built. With this coastal erosion, families are facing a battle for their houses, their way of life and for their children’s future. Girls scooping water from a hole they dug in the sand of a wadi in South Darfur. Paul Jeﬀrey/aCt-CaritasCaritas organisations around the world aredealing on a regular basis with theimpacts of climate-related crises, whichare increasing in frequency and intensity.The number of humanitarian disastersrecorded has increased from around 200to more than 400 over the past twodecades and seven out of every tendisasters is now climate-related.14Caritas Oceania reports that people in theSouth Pacific are losing their islands torising sea levels. Caritas India and CaritasPeru describe how vital water will be lost Caritas tongaas glaciers in the Himalayas and Andes
| Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethicrecede. Caritas Myanmar and Caritas estimated that by 2050, hundreds of change and conflict. Climate changeBangladesh have been forced to respond millions of people may be displaced as a impact may push populations to migrateto increasing flooding and destruction result of environmental changes.15 to other areas in search of more securecaused by typhoons. livelihoods. The arrival of migrants may In areas affected by landslide, flood, increase competition for resources andOther national Caritas organisations speak cyclone or tsunami, people are typically services, as well as alter the ethnicabout increasing numbers of internally evacuated inland as urban migrants. In composition in host communities,displaced farmers who have become these cases, the UN’s Guiding Principles for resulting in tensions that escalate intosquatters in ever-expanding cities. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) provide violence. In order to reduce possibleCatholic Charities (a Caritas member in the normative assistance and protection for future conflicts, governments need toUSA) observed that those who suffered these people. 16 acknowledge the importance of goodmost from Hurricane Katrina in the natural resource management andsouthern United States were the poor. For those in areas facing a high risk from implement such measures within theirCaritas agencies were called to help the rising sea levels, loss of territory may be national borders. Furthermore, room forpeople of Haiti when they suffered four permanent and may require migration dialogue needs to be enhanced betweenhurricanes in 2008. across national borders. In such cases, an neighbouring countries so that regional international law is needed to address the programmes can be implemented.The effects of climate change will also plight of individuals and wholehave an impact on patterns of population communities who may be rendered Climate change also has a serious impactmovement and settlement. This stateless. In order for this to happen, a on health, compromising food securitydisplacement will come as a result of clear definition will be required for the and causing more deaths and injuries as aslow-onset changes such as sea level rise term ‘environmental migrant’. result of storms and floods. Scarcity ofand desertification, as well as rapid onset water, which is essential for hygiene – asdisasters such as cyclones or tsunamis. An additional issue related to migration is well as excess water due to more frequentAlthough difficult to predict, it is the often cited link between climate and torrential rainfall – are increasing the burden of diarrhoeal disease, which is spread through contaminated food and water. Heat waves, especially in urban centres, cause deaths and exacerbate diseases, mainly in elderly people with cardiovascular or respiratory disease. In 2003, 37,000 people who could not escape brutal heat waves died in Europe. Changing temperatures and patterns of rainfall are expected to alter the geographical distribution of insect vectors that spread such infectious diseases as malaria and dengue fever.17 Kenya’s pastoralists depend on cattle, but frequent droughts decimate herds and livelihoods. astrid De Valon/trócaire
Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethic | Climate change is taking hold in Brazil’s Amazon and semi-arid regions. marcella Haddad/CaFOD (top) Caritas Brazil (left)Rising temperatures in Brazilin the amazon region of Brazil, yams are an important as food and water become scarcer, Caritas is helpingpart of people’s diet but they are becoming harder to indigenous communities map their resources andgrow under the increasingly fierce sun. campaign to raise awareness about the harmful effects of climate change.“We need yams for porridge for breakfast but we don’thave enough,” says maria Ferreira. Caritas Brazil meanwhile has been giving emergency help in the north of Brazil where towns and villages“Before, we planted yams in the shade or sun and they have been flooded out. the national Caritas is alsoall grew well. When the sun is so hot it’s not good for giving education and support to help villages copethe earth. Before, the grass was always green. the with water shortages in the semi-arid parts of thefootball pitch is now yellow. it’s so dry.” country.Falling harvests are an indication of how climate Water, either too much or too little, is causing massivechange will threaten livelihoods. as temperatures rise, disruption to people’s lives in Brazil.maria and others in her village leave earlier for work inthe fields. sometimes they have to stop working byten in the morning because it is too hot.
| Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethicBiblical principlesIf it is to give a credible response to theecological crisis, Christian action needsto be based on a profound knowledgeof the sources establishing its identity.Foremost among these sources is theBible, which for Christians is “thesource of revelation and the basis oftheir faith”.18 That said, Bible texts donot offer any directive norms on howto handle the issues of destruction ofthe environment and climate change.The dangers we now face wereunknown in Biblical times. Thishistorical distance must be borne inmind when we consider the issues ofour time in the light of Biblical texts.The Bible is not a manual on morality,but it forms a point of reference thatassures us of our identity and providesa basis for Christian debate on theseissues.CreationThe starting point for all Christian activityis the Biblical notion of the world ascreation. Christian responsibility for the “To the extent that the Earth was 3,17-19). They are not able to fulfil theirenvironment begins with appreciation of considered God’s creation, the duty of responsibility as keepers of this order. Butthe goodness of all God’s creation. In the ‘subjecting’ was never understood as there is a new beginning, with Godbeginning, “God looked at everything he an order to make it a slave, but rather concluding a covenant with His peoplehad made, and he found it very good” as a duty of being a custodian of following the Flood (Gen 9). This new(Gen 1,31). creation and developing its gifts; of world order takes account of the collaborating ourselves in an active competing relationship between theThe creation story, as narrated in the book way in God’s work, in the evolution human family and the animals.of Genesis, obliges us to treat God’s work that God placed in the world, so that Henceforth, men and women areresponsibly. God creates men and women the gifts of creation are prized and not permitted to kill animals for food (Gen 9,3).in his image, and calls on them to take trampled upon or destroyed.”20 But, on the other hand, they are heldcare of the Earth accordingly (Gen 1,27- responsible for creation, in a more28). Of all God’s creations, men and extended manner, and they still are notwomen are therefore challenged in a Between flood and rainbow given any unrestricted power of disposalspecial way to take responsibility for over it (Gen 9,5-7).creation19. Nevertheless, they are not the The fragility of the human family’s God-Creator; they are a part of this creation, given responsibility to care for creation is In many other Old Testament texts, onenot its master. Pope Benedict XVI clarified evident in prehistory. Nature is can find references to the understandingthe position: experienced by men and women as of the world as creation, for instance in the unpredictable and full of dangers (Gen Psalms or in the Book of Job, where God
Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethic | intrinsic to the Old Testament is also taken Blessed as a given in the New Testament: for instance, Jesus proclaims that the treasures Kingdom of God is close at hand (Mk 1,15) Thomas John Carlisle and with it the message that salvation is already present alongside the reality of Help us to harness creation and life, but simultaneously, in a the wind, mysterious way, hidden and repeatedly to the water, be sought afresh.21 The world, despite all the sun, its conflict and ambivalence, is creation, and all the ready the place of the redemptive influence of and renewable sources of power. Christ and the start of the Kingdom of God. teach us to conserve, preserve, “In nature, the believer recognises the use wisely wonderful result of God’s creative the blessed treasures activity, which we may use responsibly of our wealth-stored earth. to satisfy our legitimate needs, material or otherwise, while Help us to share respecting the intrinsic balance of your bounty, creation. If this vision is lost, we end not to waste it, up either considering nature an or pervert it untouchable taboo or, on the into peril contrary, abusing it. Neither attitude is for our children consonant with the Christian vision of or our neighbours nature as the fruit of God’s creation.”22 in other nations Worshippers at a Catholic Church near Kampala in Christian and ethical reflection You who are life Uganda oﬀer maize instead and energy of money during collection at Mass. The Bible does not offer any concrete rules and blessing, David snyder for dealing with climate policy. Seeking teach us to revere guidance from Biblical texts does not and respectreveals the greatness of his works. dispense with a need for sensible your tender world.Common to all of these is the notion of justification of ethical standards. Christianthe shared presence of God in His positions which seek to be conveyed amencreation, which is a gift that has been convincingly in a pluralist society need tofreely given. Men and women are to act give an account of the initial thinkingon Earth as custodians and shepherds. which informs them and to bring this intoThey hold a responsibility for creation in a fruitful dialogue with other disciplines.trust, and are to “cultivate and take care” of Moral insight can only call for those thingsit (Gen 2,15). However, the ultimate which prove compatible with commonknowledge of creation, its origin and sense and appropriate to the context.starting-point lies with God (Job 38-39). There is therefore a need for matching normative criteria. One approach for this isThe Message of the Kingdom of God offered by the principles of social ethics.The notion of the world as creation that is Human Dignity: The Christian narrative
| Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethicrevealing God’s creation of men andwomen “in the image of God”, is also to befound in the philosophical discussion ofthe human person. Common to bothconcepts is the attribution of dignity tothe human person, as an unconditionalvalue which precludes any exploitation.An understanding of this kind, as is also tobe found in the Universal Declaration ofHuman Rights, must contribute towards aconsideration of climate change. Respectfor human dignity is a central value in theChristian tradition. It encompasses thewhole person in all her or his dimensionsand includes the right to life and itssanctity at all stages. Climate change andits results threaten the basic right of allhuman persons to life today and in futuregenerations. “Our mistreatment of the natural world diminishes our own dignity and sacredness, not only because we are Bringing food to ﬂood brothers and sisters who share with us the victims in India. destroying resources that future Caritas india one table of life intended by God for the generations of humans need, but enjoyment of all. because we are engaging in actions that contradict what it means to be Solidarity places special obligations upon All nations share the responsibility to human. Our tradition calls us to industrial democracies. “The ecological address the problem of global climate protect the life and dignity of the crisis,” Pope John Paul II wrote, “reveals the change. But historically the industrial human person, and it is increasingly urgent moral need for a new solidarity, economies have been responsible for the clear that this task cannot be especially in relations between the highest emissions of greenhouse gases separated from the care and defence developing nations and those that are that scientists suggest are causing the of all of creation.”23 highly industrialised.”25 Working for the warming trend. Also, significant wealth, common good requires us to promote the technological sophistication andSolidarity and the common good: In flourishing of all human life and all of entrepreneurial creativity give thesethe Catholic tradition, the universal God’s creation. In a special way, the nations a greater capacity to find usefulcommon good is specified by the duty of common good requires solidarity with the responses to this problem. To avoidsolidarity, “a firm and persevering poor who are often without the resources greater impact, energy resourcedetermination to commit oneself to the to face many problems, including the adjustments must be made both in thecommon good”, a willingness “to ‘lose potential impacts of climate change. Our policies of richer countries and in theoneself’ for the sake of the other instead of obligations to the one human family development paths of poorer ones.exploiting them.”24 In the face of “the stretch across space and time. They tie usstructures of sin”, moreover, solidarity to the poor in our midst and across the The principles of solidarity and therequires sacrifices of our own self-interest globe, as well as to future generations. The common good remind us that we are allfor the good of others and of the Earth we commandment to love our neighbour responsible for each other and must workshare. invites us to consider the poor and for social conditions that ensure that all marginalised of other nations as true people and groups in society are able to
Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethic | meet their needs and realise theirpotential. Every group in society should Climate Change: Why Shouldtake into account the rights and Catholic Charities Care?aspirations of other groups, and thewellbeing of the whole human family. 26 By Robert Gorman, executive Director of Catholic social services in the Diocese of Houma-thibodaux, louisiana, usa.Pope John Paul II said, “We cannotinterfere in one area of the ecosystem Climate changes are already occurring here on the low-lying coast ofwithout paying due attention both to the south louisiana. my home is miles inland, but is only inches aboveconsequences of such interference in sea level. the Gulf of mexico creeps closer each year because of erosionother areas and to the wellbeing of future and subsidence of the wetlands and barrier islands, rising sea levels,generations.”27 Responses to global and more intense hurricanes. the poorest members of our communitiesclimate change should reflect our live right on the Gulf and their homes have already flooded many timesinterdependence and common over. People call Catholic Charities (CCusa is a member of Caritasresponsibility for the future of our planet. internationalis) every day for assistance, and Catholic Charities agenciesIndividual nations must measure their throughout south louisiana have spent tens of millions of dollars justown self-interest against the greater since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita helping people in their disastercommon good and contribute equitably recovery.to global solutions. Catholic Charities has a moral obligation to protect the life and dignitySubsidiarity: Most people will agree that of each person and the established communities in which they havewhile the current use of fossil fuels has built their lives. We have a powerful network through which we canfostered and continues to foster provide social services to people most vulnerable to the effects ofsubstantial economic growth, climate change. We have a prophetic voice for justice that needs to raisedevelopment and benefits for many, there climate change concerns to our statehouses, Congress, and the Whiteis a legitimate concern that as developing House. ultimately, our role is difficult because we are stewards of acountries improve their economies and world that is not our own. We are part of the biblical covenantemit more greenhouse gases, they will obligating us to care for all of God’s living creatures. if we believe thatneed technological help to mitigate God is present in us and to us in all that we see and experience, then wefurther atmospheric environmental harm. must embrace the role of the good steward—a role that CatholicMany of the poor in these countries live in Charities in its commitment to the common good takes seriously as itdegrading and desperate situations that finds its voice in the climate change debate.often lead them to adopt environmentallyharmful agricultural and industrialpractices. In many cases, the heavy debtburdens, lack of trade opportunities andeconomic inequities in the global marketadd to the environmental strains of thepoorer countries. Developing countrieshave a right to economic developmentthat can help lift people out of direpoverty.Wealthier industrialised nations have theresources, know-how and The CCUSA volunteers programme in Louisiana,entrepreneurship to produce more where Hurricane Katrinaefficient cars and cleaner industries. These struck in 2005. laura sikes/CCusa
| Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethiccountries need to share these emerging The first to suffer from climate change aretechnologies with the less-developed the poorest countries and their citizens.countries and assume more of the Here, the challenge is to make thefinancial responsibility that would enable Christian Option for the Poor a strongpoorer countries to afford them. This reality. It is a structural injustice that thosewould help developing countries adopt who have contributed least to theenergy-efficient technologies more problem of climate change, because theyrapidly while still sustaining healthy live in less developed and lesseconomic growth and development. industrialised regions, are the first to feelIndustries from the developed countries the effects. Without ecologicaloperating in developing nations should sustainability, successes in the fightexercise a leadership role in preserving the against poverty can only be of limitedenvironment. duration. Sustainability is therefore included in the UN MillenniumNo strategy to confront global climate Development Goals for combatingchange will succeed without the poverty, because climate change affectsleadership and participation of the United the poorest in particular and alsoStates and other industrial nations. But any exacerbates poverty. Unrestrainedsuccessful strategy must also reflect the economic development is not the answergenuine participation and concerns of to improving the lives of the poor.those most affected and least able to bear Catholic Social Teaching has neverthe burdens. Developing and poorer accepted material growth as a model ofnations must have a genuine place at the development. A “mere accumulation ofnegotiating table. Genuine participation goods and services, even for the benefit offor those most affected is a moral and the majority,” as Pope John Paul II said, “ispolitical necessity for advancing the not enough for the realisation of humancommon good.28 happiness.”30Only with equitable and sustainable Climate change is, however, not just adevelopment can poor nations curb problem for the poor – it affects all people regional effects, cannot be accuratelycontinuing environmental degradation and the basis on which they are able to forecast.and avoid the destructive effects of the conduct their lives, as well as futurekind of overdevelopment that has used generations. Sustainability is therefore also “The principle of foresight is anatural resources irresponsibly.29 Poor a question of responsibility towards decision-making aid which lowerscountries need empowerment, and that creation, which is simultaneously the basis risks and protects the natural meansmeans helping the poor to help for global and intergenerational justice. In of livelihood for future generations.themselves. our use of the environment “we have a […] In addition to the principle that responsibility towards the poor, towards the party responsible is liable forSustainability: The problem of climate future generations and towards humanity damages and the precautionarychange is, above all, a question of as a whole”.31 principle, the Christian point of viewsustainability. The principle of also calls for the principle ofsustainability has its starting-point in In spite of the degree of certainty that has proportionality: the good cause –responsibility for future generations, for been reached about the problem of environmental protection for theunless there is adequate protection of climate change, we still have to act in the good of mankind and creation – doesnatural resources in the medium and long midst of uncertainty, because the speed not always justify the means […] i.e.term, no life worthy of human dignity is and strength of climate change in the any harm caused may not be greaterpossible on Earth. coming years and decades, as well as its than its achieved benefit.”32
Authentic development supports technological advancement for its own An elder surveys his scorched crops after failedmoderation and even austerity in the use sake but rather that technology benefits rains in Northern Ugandaof material resources. It also encourages a people and enhances the land.33 in 2009. Patrick Nicholson/Caritasbalanced view of human progressconsistent with respect for nature.Furthermore, it invites the development ofalternative visions of the good society andthe use of economic models with richerstandards of wellbeing than materialproductivity alone. Authenticdevelopment also requires affluentnations to seek ways to reduce andrestructure their over-consumption ofnatural resources. Finally, authenticdevelopment also entails encouraging theproper use of both agricultural and Caritas supports farmers in Haiti after the deadly 2008industrial technologies, so that hurricane season.development does not merely mean David snyder/Caritas
| Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethicCaritas in action Preparing for disaster in Orissa, India. Jennine Carmichael/CRs future changes. This often involves the input of technical knowledge that requires collaboration with other agencies that have specialist expertise. For example, Caritas Bangladesh works in collaboration with the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies to design and implement programmes in areas that are drought- prone and affected by high water salinity. In the Philippines and Kenya, Catholic Relief Services (a Caritas member in the USA) works with the World Agroforestry Centre on land-care initiatives that include carbon sequestration and carbon credits. This latter project combines existing expertise in Disaster Risk Reduction and development methodologies and lays the groundwork for new livelihood initiatives in carbon credits and Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). Capacity building activities are also taking place throughout Central America, Mexico and Panama, whereThe Caritas confederation is becoming technology transfers for low-carbon technical staff are being trained in bestincreasingly involved in efforts to economic development. As a practices to deal with climate changemitigate the effects of climate change. confederation of humanitarian and issues with the support and activeMany Caritas members in high income development organisations, however, participation of Caritas members incountries have launched education Caritas is particularly concerned with Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala,and awareness campaigns that urge the impacts of climate change on the Nicaragua and Panama.reduction of individual and household world’s poor and ensuring they havecarbon footprints. Such campaigns are the resources to adapt to the changes Disaster preparedness and risk reductionoften also linked to advocacy that are already taking place. can dramatically reduce loss of life andinitiatives aimed at pressuring infrastructure. In Bangladesh, Caritas hasgovernments to commit to a strong The long experience of Caritas in been involved in building cyclone shelterspost-2012 agreement under the United grassroots development is particularly and training communities in disasterNations Framework Convention on useful in designing and implementing preparedness and risk reduction. As aClimate Change (UNFCCC) that binds programmes to help human and result, more resilient communities haveindustrialised countries to strong ecological systems to adapt to climate developed with better preparedness skillsemission reduction targets and to change. Climate change adaptation to cope with cyclones. In 1991, a cycloneadaptation funding for developing interventions should look beyond the with wind speeds of up to 240 km/hcountries, as well as finance and current climatic variability and anticipate struck Bangladesh, causing more than
Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethic | Habibou Abarishi weeds his lettuce plot in Niger. lane Hartill/CRs140,000 deaths. But in 2007, the death tollfrom Cyclone Sidr, with even strongerwinds of up to 260 km/h, was reduced to3,400, thanks to the work of thegovernment and aid agencies like Caritas.”Caritas also promotes traditional systemsand practices that support theenvironment and converge modernscience with traditional ecologicalknowledge. For instance, in Africa’s Sahelregion, local farmers have developedintricate systems of gathering, prediction,interpretation and decision-making inrelation to weather, which help them tomanage their vulnerability to climate Green shoots in Nigerchange. Caritas Niger (CaDeV) and its partners believe that by diversifying foodFarmers are known to make decisions on sources and developing alternative sources of income, people are notcropping patterns based on local climate left completely exposed to the harsh effects of climate disruption.predictions, and decisions on plantingdates based on complex cultural models as the sahara desert slowly creeps across Niger, turning fertile land intoof weather. Farmers in the Sahel also sand, one of the last things you’d expect to see growing is a lettuce.conserve water in soil through practicessuch as zero tillage, mulching and other We grew up in a culture of millet, says Habibou abarishi. millet alonesoil management techniques. Communal doesn’t offer a balanced diet and the ready supply keeps prices low inforest reserves are often a very important times of good harvest. But a CRs (a Caritas member in the usa) projectresource in traditional societies, providing in western Niger, has helped people such as Habibou grow lettuce andfood, timber and other livelihood other vegetables to feed their family and earn some money in a time ofopportunities. Caritas Madre de Dios in global recession.Perú is working with communities andlocal government to control deforestation Niger and much of the sahel region remains acutely vulnerable toin Southern Amazonia. drought and food shortages. in 5, a mixture of failed rains, locust damage, high food prices and chronic poverty left over three millionIn India’s Orissa state, Catholic Relief people in Niger facing a food crisis.Services is building local capacities torespond to emergencies and mitigate the the Caritas sahel Working Group has set up an early warning system toimpacts of climate-related hazards by alert people to drought so they can store food and be prepared to reactstrengthening self-help groups and and avert future hunger crises. Caritas Niger has also set up communalorganising task forces to deliver first aid, food banks and feeding centres for malnourished children.plan evacuation routes and safe shelters,protect clean water sources, save grain Gilbért Wellindé, Caritas Niger’s field co-ordinator, says: “a communaland cash in preparation for the cyclone bank is better than individual storage because there is a committee toseason, formulate sustainable crop and manage it. each member of the community gives what they can affordland use plans, and repair and construct after the harvest. With individual banks, people tend to use up theirwater harvesting structures and supplies more quickly, and some have more than others.”embankments.
| Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethic Caritas projects in Lebanon (left), Sri Lanka (top), and Zambia (right). David snyder/Caritas (left and top) sean sprague/CRs (right)Caritas Malawi (CADECOM) encourages sharing of best practices is being agencies work to strengthen these copingcrop diversification to reduce reliance on a encouraged. Caritas Brazil, for example, mechanisms through interventions insingle rainy season, promotes use of sponsors workshops on approaches to natural resource management,livestock to vary the sources of food and sustainable agriculture processes and sustainable agriculture, improved waterincome available to households and implements projects to improve food and sanitation measures and communitypromotes simple irrigation techniques for security among landless peasants. Caritas managed risk reduction programmes.improved agricultural input. India works with Diocesan Social Service societies to better integrate climate Caritas supports partners with theCaritas Kenya promotes resilience in change considerations into local technical assistance required to conductdrought-prone semi-arid areas by planting programme planning. research, in collaboration with experts indrought resistant seeds that can the field and with local universities. Thesewithstand weather variations. Projects in Although Caritas and others in the efforts are aimed at assisting the poor inHoma Bay are designed to combine dairy humanitarian community demonstrate dealing with the humanitarianfarming with bio-gas production, the increased capacity to prepare for and consequences of climate change. Theresidue of which is used for organic respond to disasters, an exponential research provides people with facts andfarming. increase in climate-related disasters could figures about the expected frequency, undermine efforts to assist people to lift magnitude and timing of climate changeThroughout the Caritas network, the themselves out of poverty. Caritas impacts so that they can make informed
Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethic | India adapts schoolgirl shweta easther marandi realised one day that by changing their household bulbs to leD and compact fluorescent lights, her family could reduce its carbon footprint. then she encouraged her school friends and her community. Finally she spoke about it with the media. shweta is part of the tarumitra environmental organisation which receives funding and programme support from Caritas. this is one example of how Caritas india encourages people of all ages and all walks of life to take climate change into their own hands. as the subcontinent becomes increasingly vulnerable to floods, droughts, sea erosion and other disasters, one thing has become clear to Caritas india: to make significant impact on the effects of climate change, it has to go right to the root causes. this means not just focusing on providing relief once a disaster has struck, but preparing communities to take a look at their practices and become more proactive so the impact of any calamity is lessened. Caritas india has set up the Cesss – the Centre for environmental studies in social sector – to teach small farmers about programmes which promote sustainable agriculture. in indian legends, there was a magical tree that could grant wishes. it seems only appropriate that Caritas india has adopted the tree as the symbol of its campaign to combat climate change and is calling on supporters to plant a tree to show their support. Climate change is adecisions. Additional collaborative part of the long term development plans of Caritas india.initiatives span a wide range of issues,including adaptation technology,renewable energy, food security andenvironmentally-induced conflicts.In order to build an effective combinedfront at all levels, synergy has to begenerated between civil society,government and the private sector, andacross development sectors. Partnershipand networking among like-mindedagencies will provide room for sharingand create a greater impact in addressingclimate change concerns. Caritas india
| Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethicPutting people firstPutting people first: How Caritasadvocacy influences international,regional and national policies “Faced with the widespread destruction of the environment, people everywhere are coming to understand that we cannot continue to use the goods of the Earth as we have in the past…[A] new ecological awareness is beginning to emerge…The ecological crisis is a moral issue.”34 – Pope John Paul IIEffective action in response to climatechange must include changes inindividual and community behaviour.These must respect the integrity ofcreation and offer special assistance to thepoor and vulnerable, who sufferdisproportionately from the effects ofclimate change. It is the responsibility ofall Christians and people of goodwill toshow solidarity with the poor andvulnerable by supporting effective policiesand action, at local, national, regional and all relevant national, regional and in a recent study submitted by the Unitedglobal levels through strategic and international institutions. Nations Office of the High Commissionerspecific advocacy initiatives. for Human Rights36, climate change will Action at the international level have implications for the enjoyment of aCaritas advocates for policies that truly wide range of human rights, such as thework towards the common good. We seek UN Framework Convention on Climate rights to safe drinking water, to food, tostrategies that put people at the heart of Change (UNFCCC): Caritas Internationalis health, and to adequate housing. Theefforts to address climate change, by has been involved in exerting increased threat to human rights presented byadopting appropriate mitigation and pressure on policy and decision makers climate change places an obligation uponadaptation policies focused on those who engaged in the United Nations nation states to protect their citizensare most vulnerable. Framework Convention on Climate against the adverse impacts of climate Change (UNFCCC) to ensure an equitable change by taking effective mitigation andOur response to the suffering of those and binding post-2012 global agreement adaptation measures. International humanmost affected by climate change involves at Copenhagen in December 2009. A joint rights law also requires states to ensurenot only humanitarian relief but also Caritas Internationalis and CIDSE that such measures do not themselveseffective action to denounce unfair campaign entitled ‘Grow Climate Justice’ violate other human rights.structures and policies that result in social mobilised a coalition of 170 Catholicinjustice and human suffering. Caritas is organisations to support this cause. 35 How can national Caritas organisations betherefore strongly committed to working involved in such global advocacy? Givenwith present and potential victims of Human rights based approach and the the daily work of Caritas with poor andclimate change to present their cases to responsibility to protect: As underlined vulnerable people and its long experience
Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethic | Australians aspire to be green this year Caritas australia launched a new initiative, the Be more Challenge. inspired by the words of archbishop Oscar Romero aspire not to The launch of the Grow have more, but to be more, Climate Justice campaign at UN talks in Poznan. the Be more Challenge Caritas encourages australians to take action for environmental and social justice by setting Caritas australia themselves 5 challenges – personal, family, local, national and global. members of the online community also participate in an annual event – Environmental education is vital in ﬂood-hit Be more Weekend, which took place for the first time from the - Bangladesh. august . Over ,5 people from across australia committed andreas schwaiger /Caritas switzerland themselves, to be just. be green. be more for three days. actions included:from global to grassroots levels, Caritas • families putting away the car keys and choosing public transport,can actively voice the concerns of the getting dirty in their local parks by clearing rubbish, conducting amost vulnerable people through various family audit to assess the impact of their daily actions, turning off theUN human rights mechanisms, such as tV and playing the Be more board game to learn more about theHuman Rights Special Procedures, treaty impacts of global poverty and climate change;bodies and the Universal Periodic Review. • schools turning off their lights and teaching outdoors, planting vegetable gardens, having no waste days, Be more camp outs withCaritas Internationalis can bring specific minimal materials and food;impact issues to the attention of Human • parishes having parish picnics and forums about climate change andRights Special Rapporteurs, who could be consumption.invited to visit Caritas mitigation andadaptation projects in order to share these a number of participants donated the money they saved on cutting‘best practices’. Caritas can also work with consumption to Caritas australia to assist climate change adaptationtreaty bodies (or UN Committees) programs in Bangladesh and programs in countries that are working toresponsible for monitoring the build community resilience to a changing climate, such as naturalimplementation of obligations assumed resource management in india, sustainable agriculture in africa, andby State parties, to seek consideration of disaster risk reduction in Pacific islands.the impact of climate change on humanrights. Subsequent reports and all of these creative actions were taken with a consciousness of ourrecommendations could serve as effective responsibility to act for climate justice and to ensure that australia takestools to promote changes in national initiative on mitigation.
| Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethic Stick people outside the Scottish parliament. sCiaFlegislation on mitigation and adaptationresponses. Finally, the UN UniversalPeriodic Review, which aims to identifyhuman rights violations in UN memberstates, could be an important tool topromote appropriate mitigation andadaptation policies.Other UN agencies and institutions suchas the International Labour Organisation(ILO), the High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR), the World Health Organisation(WHO), are also actively involved intackling the impact of climate change.These agencies contribute, within therespective area of expertise and climate change considerations in its Catholic organisations to challengemandates, to the UNFCCC negotiation planning. Catholics in the USA to live their faith byprocess. recognising the links between their The Siyabhabha Trust (Caritas South Africa) actions and their impact on others aroundAction at the regional, national and is looking at how existing local coping the globe. The CRS campaign promoteslocal levels strategies can inform climate resilience the following messages: strategies. Caritas members from Latin “Seeing the suffering of our brothers America and the Caribbean held a • Climate change is a moral issue that and sisters […] we are moved to workshop in October 2008 on demands our action. Care for the poor respond to the poverty and inequality environment, risk management and and acting for the common good are caused by a development based on emergencies and developed two principles of Catholic Social Teaching environmentally unsustainable recommendations for the climate justice that obligate us to address this issue. economic activities, the improper use campaign. Caritas organisations are • Climate change is a global relief and of natural resources and increasing working to ensure that the priorities of the development issue. unplanned urbanisation that poor are included in plans for mitigating • Climate change is unquestionably a endanger the people who suffer from and adapting to climate change. global solidarity issue. disasters, all of which is aggravated by • Education programmes can show people the effect of global warming.” Caritas members are engaged in what they can do to: – Declaration by Caritas members in educational and capacity-building efforts – Encourage prayer and thoughtful Latin America and the Caribbean, to become more effective advocates, at consideration of the links between Third Regional Workshop on the local and regional levels, to address care of creation and lifestyle choices Environment, Risk Management and the impact of climate change in their – Reduce their carbon footprint at Emergencies (Lima, October 2008). respective communities. For example, home, in their parishes and at work during 2008, Caritas Peru organised – Educate othersIn order to respond to these disturbing workshops with the participation of – Advocate with legislators, policytrends, Caritas agencies are building their Caritas staff, in order to prioritise makers, business leadersunderstanding of climate change and its problems, formulate strategic objectives – Donate to programmes to mitigateimpacts through various initiatives. Caritas and recommend appropriate measures their contribution to climate change,India organised a climate change against the negative effects of climate and help people overseas adapt toconference in September 2008 and has change. its consequences.37embarked on a capacity building initiativeat the local level to better integrate Catholic Relief Services works with other The Commission of Catholic Bishops’
Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethic | Conference of the European Community View from Europe(COMECE) emphasises the role of civilsociety bodies such as non-governmental On June , the scottish Parliament passed one of the world’sorganisations, foundations, grassroots most ambitious climate change legislations – the scottish Climatemovements, churches and faith-based Change act. Finally, a country has agreed to do what is required toorganisations to interact with avoid dangerous climate change, as opposed to what is deemedgovernments and market forces to politically possible.achieve ‘eco-efficiency’ (doing more andbetter with less). They also support ‘eco- this success represented the culmination of two years of hardjustice’ initiatives such as eco-incentives campaigning by the scottish Catholic international aid Fund (sCiaF –and eco-taxes, in addition to direct Caritas scotland), along with their colleagues in the stop Climate Chaosregulation. The bishops further remark on coalition in scotland. thousands of sCiaF supporters then contacted“the ability of civil society to enlist political their parliamentarians as part of a campaign that also involved formalassistance from the grass-roots up, in submissions to parliament, lobby events and a concerted media drive.relation to both quality of lifeimprovements and the direct meanwhile in austria, Caritas local groups took part in a day of actionparticipation of local, national, and with churches across the country ringing bells and a “Climate Justiceinternational communities in the choice march” through Vienna from the Cathedral to the ministry of theof development strategies.”38 environment.Many Caritas agencies are interacting with and Caritas luxembourg chose twenty ordinary people to be part ofother networks to promote awareness of the “ Degrees Panel”, seeing for themselves the impact of climateclimate change and build advocacy change in Bangladesh. On their return home they spread the messagestrategies to combat climate change. A of the impact of climate change, something that was brought home tonumber of Caritas members (including them in may when Cyclone aila wiped out one of the villages thatCaritas Australia, Caritas Aotearoa New they had visited just three months earlier.Zealand, CAFOD (Caritas England andWales), Caritas Bangladesh and Caritas equipped with educational training and an eco-package containingKenya) are members of national and everything from energy-saving light bulbs to power switches thatregional Climate Action Networks that are automatically turn off all energy use when leaving home, theactive in mobilising civil society in unemployed throughoutdemanding stronger commitments from Germany has been able togovernments in the UNFCCC process to substantially reduce their energyforge a strong agreement in combating consumption thanks to a Caritasclimate change. Caritas Kenya is a campaign. so far, the financialmember of the Kenya Climate Change benefits of this project hasWorking Group that is composed of all spread throughout Germany,civil society organisations working in the reaching over , people inarea of climate change in Kenya. The 5 villages.coalition aims to research, createawareness and contribute towardsnational legislation on climate change. Caritas Germany
| Climate JustiCe: seeking a global ethicFootnotes Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Pontifical Council the united states Conference of Catholic Bishops, An Invitation to for Justice and Peace, Vatican City: librería editrice Vaticana, , Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social no. Teaching, a Pastoral statement of the united states Catholic Conference, November , Pope Benedict XVi, Caritas in Veritate, no. , Pope John Paul ii, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, no. , ibid, no. 5 Pope John Paul ii, Peace with God the creator, peace with all of Helm, Dieter, Environmental challenges in a warming world: creations, message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace, consumption, costs and responsibilities, New College, Oxford, no. , January , February , 5 the australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, A New Earth – The ibid Environmental Challenge, australian Catholic Bishops statement on second synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, Chap no. , the environment, the social Justice sunday statement for , Pope Benedict XVi, Caritas in Veritate, no. 5, Pope John Paul ii, Peace with God the creator, peace with all of ibid, no. 5 creations, message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace, Campbell-lendrum, Diarmid, Foley, Jonathan a., Holloway, tracey, no. , January , Patz, Jonathan a., Impact of regional climate change on human the united states Conference of Catholic Bishops, Global Climate health, Nature issue , pgs -, November , 5 Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good, a intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2007: statement of the united states Conference of Catholic Bishops The Physical Science Basis. Summary for Policymakers, Working Group the united states Conference of Catholic Bishops, An Invitation to i, Fourth assessment Report, Geneva, Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social Changing Lives – Climate Change in Developing Worlds, trocaire, Teaching, a Pastoral statement of the united states Catholic Dublin, Conference, no. , November , Nell’occhio del ciclone, Caritas italiana, società editrice il mulino, Pope John Paul ii, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, no. , Bologna, Pope Benedict XVi, Caritas in Veritate, no. , inter-agency standing Committee, letter to the united Nations the General secretariat of German Bishops’ Conference, Climate Framework Convention on Climate Change, april Change: A Focal Point of Global, Intergenerational and Ecological ibid Justice, no. /, (Commission for society and social5 myers, Norman, Environmental refugees: an emergent security issue, affairs/Commission for international Church affairs: ), Bonn, the th economic Forum, Prague, 5 the united states Conference of Catholic Bishops, An Invitation to the Guiding Principles on internal Displacement includes those Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social who have been displaced by “natural or human-made disasters”. Teaching, a Pastoral statement of the united states Catholic uNHCR Conference, no. , November , World Health Organisation, statement by WHO Director-General Dr. message Of His Holiness Pope John Paul ii for the Celebration of the margaret Chan, The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health, World Day Of Peace, Peace With God The Creator, Peace With all Of april , Creation, January , 5 Pontifical Biblical Commission, The Bible and Morality. Biblical Roots CiDse (Coopération internationale pour le Développement et la of Christian Conduct, German secretariat of the German Council of solidarité) is an international alliance of Catholic development Bishops, Bonn, agencies A la Recherche d’une Ethique Universelle: Nouveau Regard sur la Loi Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Report of the Naturelle, Commission theologique internationale, Rome, united Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the relationship between climate change and human rights Pope Benedict XVi, meeting with the clergy of the Diocese of (a/HRC//), January 5, Bolzano-Bressanone, august , , http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches//au Catholic Relief services, Climate Change and Global Solidarity, gust/index_en.htm unpublished, p. , not dated Handeln für die Zukunft der Schöpfung, the General secretariat of secretariat of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the the German Bishops’ Conference, No. , Bonn, european Community (COmeCe), A Christian View on Climate Change: The Implications of Climate Change for Lifestyles and EU Pope Benedict XVi, Caritas in Veritate, no. , Policies, a Report of the Bishops of COmeCe, October
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