Earlier this week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report announcing that individuals and governments need to take immediate drastic action to ensure global temperature rises are kept below the intended 1.5 Celsius increase since pre-industrial levels. “It’s the final call” say scientists, after the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures.
This report comes ten years after the Climate Change Act, where the UK government pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least eighty percent of 1990 levels by 2050.
Jesuit Missions recognises that climate change affects people living in the most vulnerable communities in our world. It is often those who are living most in harmony with the environment, who have contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions, who are most affected by the increase in climate related disasters which we have seen in recent years. Increasing global temperatures have led to increased flooding such as those which occurred in Kerala South India in August this year, while increased droughts are seen in other areas. People living in these communities have limited access to resources such as early warning systems and rely more heavily on their land, so changes in the climate patterns affect them immediately. Jesuit Missions strives to support those living in these communities by standing up to climate injustices and training people to be better prepared for when disasters occur. We put care of creation at the forefront of all that we do, both individually and as an organisation.
Lynn McWilliams, Outreach Coordinator at Jesuit Missions, has recently made a conscious effort to reduce her single use plastic usage whilst other Jesuit Missions staff members are choosing to cycle into work to minimise their greenhouse gas emissions. Fr Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator SJ, President of the Jesuit conference of Africa and Madagascar, says that we should all make a “selfless ecological commitment consisting of little daily actions, which are capable of transforming the cycle of mindless exploitation into a duty of care and protection for creation.” According to the IPCC report, individuals can help the world keep to this target by eating less meat, reducing food waste, choosing to walk or cycle wherever possible, insulating our homes and demanding low carbon in consumer products.
Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical Laudato Si about Caring for our Common Home, “Together we pledge our commitment to raising awareness about the stewardship of creation”. Jesuit Missions is acting on this message by taking a group of young people from our Jesuit schools to the United Nations Climate Change (COP 24) talks in Katowice, Poland this December where we will join campaigners to lobby world leaders to act upon their promises made in 2015 at the COP 21 in Paris.
You can help us by writing to your local MP to become a zero hero. We want MP’s to cut emissions completely. By writing to your MP expressing your care and concern for our common home, you can help us to get this more support in parliament. Follow the link to the Climate Coalition website for more information on how you can do this.