We were delighted to welcome Shanon Shah, the Director of Faith for the Climate, as our guest speaker for the first meeting this term of the Southern Dioceses Environment Network.
Faith for the Climate is a network that aims to equip, inspire, and encourage faith inspired action on issues of climate change across the UK. All faiths and spiritualities are welcome.
Shanon Shah is a Malaysian Muslim who came to the UK in 2010. He joined the team at Faith for the Climate in 2020.
The organisation aims to unite those of faith together in the environmental justice space and to encourage learning from the different faith traditions. It was a way to target the UK government and show solidarity with those who suffer the worse impact of climate change despite doing the least to contribute.
The group meet regularly online with two priorities in the lead up to COP-26: new and additional money for loss and damage, ending fossil fuel subsidies. The UK government has made some progress with the second focus, therefore, most energy was focused on loss and damage.
Loss and Damage is part of the architecture of the Paris Agreement which includes three main pillars of climate action; mitigation of climate emissions, adaption to live with the impact of climate change, loss and damage. Loss and damage is when the impact of climate change is so severe that adaption/mitigation is not possible e.g. as a result of sea level rises, extreme weather events.
The UK government has historically blocked negotiations on loss and damage.
At COP-19, in 2013, the Warsaw international mechanism for Loss and damage was established in response to the typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. At COP-25 in Madrid, the Santiago network on loss and damage was established to implement the Warsaw mechanism. It called for richer countries to offer compensation. At COP-26, there was a push for clarity on how the Santiago network would be implemented.
The Glasgow Dialogue on Loss and Damage was established post COP-26. Many questions on how to address the issue are undecided, but it is climbing the agenda with the first awareness day last year. This is largely due to the efforts of faith communities.
The UK has faced financial difficulty this year due to the war in Ukraine, cost of living crisis etc. which has made it more difficult to talk about loss and damage. Despite our own issues we must not forget countries such as Pakistan which is now 1/3 under water with the displacement of 50 million people and 10 billion US dollars’ worth of damage. These poorer countries are suffering the worst effects of climate change despite contributing the least. The impacts of extreme weather events are far greater for them and they are still struggling with debt.
It seems only fair that the big polluters have the most responsibility to pay compensation for loss and damage. It is a moral issue that lies at the centre of many faiths; we are all interconnected.
The next Loss and Damage Awareness Day will be on the 22nd September; including a walk of witness to Parliament Square via the Shell headquarters. Gathering at St. John’s Church, Waterloo, 10.30am. It will join those doing an interfaith fast for loss and damage.
22 September – Loss and Damage Awareness Day
10.30am Meet at St John’s Waterloo, 73 Waterloo Rd, London SE1 8TY
11.30am Walk to the Shell headquarters for a vigil
12.00pm Walk to Parliament Square
Loss and Damage Day of Action London
We then broke into small groups to consider the question: “In what ways does the topic of Loss and Damage resonate with this year’s theme for the Season of Creation – Listen to the Voice of Creation?”
The Journey to 2030 website has been revamped with several sections for new resources. Check it out at:
https://journeyto2030.org new homepage
https://journeyto2030.org/let-us-dream/ let us dream activity*
https://journeyto2030.org/getting-started-2/ The new getting started and resources page
https://journeyto2030.org/poster-activity/ – The ‘building a caring community’ activity poster page
*You can order packs of the ‘Let Us Dream’ activity to use with your church group / parish.
The next meeting of the Southern Dioceses Environment Network is on Monday 10th October, 12.45-2.00pm. Register with Eventbrite