God of blessings, the universe sings of your glory. Deepen our gratitude for all you have made and awaken in us a renewed commitment to care for the earth and each other. Inspire world leaders at COP27, with openness to listen to those most affected by climate change and with courage to act urgently and wisely, so that our common home may be healed and restored and all people, and generations to come, may delight in it. Amen.
Join CAFOD, Westminster Justice & Peace, the Southern Dioceses Environment Network and other Catholic groups in the Faith Bloc for this Global Day of Action rally in Central London on the middle Saturday of COP27, the UN Climate Conference.
Starting Location: St John’s Church, Waterloo, SE1 8TY
Date: Saturday, 12th November 2022, 11.30am
We will be meeting at 11:30am outside St John’s Church, Waterloo, for prayers from different faith traditions, before joining the main march outside the Shell building on the South Bank, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 7NA, at noon. The march route ends at Trafalgar Square, where there will be a rally from 2:30 until around 4pm.
Join CAFOD, Westminster Justice & Peace, the Southern Dioceses Environment Network and other Catholic groups in the Faith Bloc for this Global Day of Action rally in Central London on the middle Saturday of COP27, the UN Climate Conference, on 12th November 2022.
Starting Location: Shell Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 7NA
22 September – 7 November: Walk2COP27 – Virtual walk from Glasgow to Sharm el-Sheikh organised by Sam Baker. Participants include the Laudato Si’ Animators. Download the App and log your steps in solidarity with others around the world! A virtual townhall meeting takes place in each of the 12 countries en route: Scotland, England, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. https://www.walk2cop27.com/
25 October, 7.30-9.30pm: Catholic People’s Weeks Annual Autumn Online Lecture with Dr Carmody Grey – Living in a Time of Crisis: Christianity and Ecological Catastrophe. Dr Grey is Assistant Professor of Catholic Theology at Durham University and a visiting research fellow at Laudato Si Institute, Oxford. https://catholicpeoplesweeks.org/events/annual-autumn-lecture-2022
29 October, 11am-2.30pm: CAFOD Faith in Action – Online event. Includes updates on transforming our food system campaign and finding out more about COP27. Register in advance
Our first speaker wasPaul Chitnis, Director of Jesuit Missions
Jesuit Missions is the Mission and Development Office of the Jesuits in Britain.
Based in Wimbledon.
Work in countries in Southern Africa, parts of India and Guyana.
Paul was previously Director of SCIAF, the development agency in Scotland, sister agency to CAFOD.
He was present at COP26, along with his colleague Colm Fahey.
He is not attending this year.
COP27 (6-18 November 2022) is taking place on the African continent for the first time.
One of the main drivers of hunger in Africa is climate change.
Seeing the impact of climate change everywhere, floods in Pakistan, droughts in Africa, fires in Australia.
The political context this year is significant. Attention of the world has been diverted by the war in Ukraine. The bandwidth of our political leaders for climate change has been reduced.
On the agenda for COP27 – as usual ‘adaptation’ and ‘mitigation’ measures.
There will also be an emphasis this year on’ loss and damage’ – compensation for losses due to climate change for which adaption is not possible.
World leaders were in attendance at COP26 which had an impact on the country negotiators and the civic society activists present. There are likely to be fewer world leaders present this time.
Finance will be key. The conference will succeed or fail depending on funding. ‘Follow the money’ – that is where the answer will be.
Has to work quite hard personally to remain optimistic after many years working for climate change. Only have to watch ‘Frozen Planet’ on a Sunday night to see the impacts. Faith communities have a role to play because they offer hope and he is hopeful.
Final question: What happens if we do not meet these targets from the Paris Agreement?
Paul’s presentation was complemented by a presentation fromBishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford
Evidence is overwhelming in terms of the climate damage that is happening.
Great damage being reported today from storms in Venezuela.
In September a climate disaster seemed to be reported every day.
Good news from some governments speaking up in the last few months Australia, New Zealand, US (although not consistently), Denmark, Singapore.
Encouraging because governments have to take the lead, industry has a part to play, and each of us individually must do our part.
Pope Francis is consistently encouraging.
Our government has not been helpful. During process of whittling down candidates for conservative party leader from 11 to 2 there was one mention of the environment by one candidate. Obsession with growth for the economy is misplaced. Helps neither the poor nor the environment. Hopefully restarting fracking will not happen. Local resistance in Lancashire.
First activity in Glasgow last year was a multi-faith prayer service in George Square. Each of 9 major faiths, including Pagans, led a prayer and he couldn’t disagree with any of it. All major faiths have a concern for the world in which we live.
85% of the world population adhere to one of those faiths. Presents a real opportunity for faith leaders to conjure more enthusiasm.
Young people are so much more enthusiastic and learned. Schools love visiting the Laudato Si’ Centre in Salford. Over 100,000 turned up for the young people’s rally in Glasgow.
Deforestation Agreement was good but even as Brazil was signing the promise it was increasing deforestation of the Amazon by 15%.
Loss and Damage – $100 million sounds a lot but it is not. It is vital life-saving money. Up to 1 billion people might migrate by 2050 because of the loss of agricultural land and heading to the places that are able to produce food. Very short-sighted not to care for people already affected by climate change.
Disappointed that the Prime Minister has told King Charles not to go to COP-27. His long-standing commitment and experience would be helpful.
Haven’t seen much evidence that best intentions have been implemented. IPCC say at the moment we are heading for 3.2 degrees increase.
Good things – increasing understanding of the environment. More and more groups are aligning. Pope Francis film ‘The Letter’ gives a very clear appeal and should be recommended far and wide.
‘We are jogging along but we need to be sprinting.’
Small Group Discussions…
We considered the question:
Sam Baker’s Walk2COP27 has started. It is a journey to gather people for a common cause. What would you talk about with a stranger to bring people together?
The Letter: Laudato Si’ Film Released 4th October 2022
By Amy Smith, Westminster Justice and Peace Communications Volunteer, who has been learning about the life of St Francis, his connection to the Season of Creation and the inspiration he provided for Pope Francis.
Giovanni di Petro di Bernardone, better known as Saint Francis of Assisi, was born in Assisi in 1181. He founded the Franciscan order of monks, the Poor Clares (female), and a lay community. He died in 1226 and was later canonised after 2 years as the patron saint of animals and ecology. His feast day is celebrated on the 4th October.
His consecration to poverty and charity drew thousands of followers. As the son of a cloth merchant, he dreamed of becoming a knight but after several visions from God eventually dedicated himself to solitude and prayer. One such vision where he felt God commanding him to ‘repair the church’ lead him to renounce his own troubled family relationships and possessions and commit himself to God and those in poverty.
He began to preach repentance as a layperson and attracted many followers from all walks of life.
His vision was for an order that expressed God’s brotherhood and love to all creation, including the natural world. He encountered God in all things viewing it as an expression of His generous love:
‘Praised be you my Lord, through our sister mother earth, who sustains us and directs us, bringing forth all kinds of fruits and coloured flowers and herbs.’
One famous story tells of Francis preaching to hundreds of birds about being thankful to God for their independence and His care. According to the story the birds remained still and only flew away when Francis allowed them to leave.
Pope Francis comments on his radical approach in Laudato Si’:
‘The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled.’
Laudato Si’, 11 (2015)
Hopefully his mark on the world leads us to question our own relationship with nature, to treat it with dignity and respect all of life as uniquely created by God.
Prayer of St Francis
Dear Mother Earth,
Who day by day unfolds rich blessing on our way O Praise God! Alleluia!
The fruits and flowers that verdant grow, Let them his praise abundant show.
O praise God, O praise God, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
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?”
We liked our visit to Kew Gardens in August so much that we want to go back!
All are welcome to join Colette Joyce & Fr Dominic Robinson SJ on 15th September, 11am-4pm for another opportunity to see the famous botanical gardens – this time during the Season of Creation.
We will visit the Food Forever exhibition in the morning with time to explore the gardens in the afternoon.
Purchase own tickets in advance via the Kew website (for a small reduction) or on arrival and meet inside the ticket barriers at the Victoria Gate at 11.00am where we will begin and end the day with prayers. You can bring a picnic or buy food in the café for lunch.
This year we will unite around the theme, “Listen to the Voice of Creation.”
The Psalmist declares, “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge…their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the Earth, and their words to the end of the world.” (19: 1-4)
During the Season of Creation, our common prayer and action can help us listen for the voices of those who are silenced. In prayer we lament the individuals, communities, species, and ecosystems who are lost, and those whose livelihoods are threatened by habitat loss and climate change. In prayer we centre the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.
“I have heard their cry…I know their sufferings…Come, now! I will send you…I will be with you” (Ex 3:1-12)
The episcopal lead for the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales on the Environment, Bishop John Arnold of Salford, has called for more urgent action on the climate crisis. In a statement on his diocesan website on 23 July, after a record-breaking heatwave in the UK, he said:
“This is not going to just peak and then we’ll hear no more of it. It’s going to get gradually worse. We are warming the globe and we’re not reacting quickly enough to avoid the damage or to even begin to repair the damage that we’ve done. We’ve already been told that some of the damage is irreparable, so we’ve got to think and we’ve got to act. Unfortunately, the government is not fulfilling the promises made at COP26…. The politics of our nation must take full measure of climate change and the climate crisis.
“I know that we’re jogging along, showing an interest in climate change – but jogging is not enough. We’ve got to start sprinting at this stage to make sure that we are caring for our common home and our brothers and sisters.”
He described the recent heatwave as a “wake-up call,” saying, “this week, we’ve witnessed temperatures never before reached here in the UK and, here in our own diocese, temperatures also saw record highs as some parishes nudged 40 degrees and firefighters battled flames in nearby communities.”
Bishop John thanked parishes and schools already working to live more sustainably and campaign for environmental justice. Bishop Arnold invited involvement in the second diocesan Walk for Creation on Sunday 2nd October.