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Rising to the moral challenge of CLIMATE CHANGE

Pacific people, of all faiths, are deeply grateful for the leadership shown by Pope Francis on climate change. We must respond by pressing for an ambitious, and just, global agreement at climate negotiations in Paris in December.

IN a powerful letter, addressed not only to the Catholic Church but to all people, Pope Francis explained that climate change is real, and must be urgently addressed. The encyclical letter, called the Laudato Si’ (Italian for ‘Praise Be to You’) called on all people to remember their responsibilities as stewards of creation. Released on June 18, the encyclical emphasised the connection between environmental degradation and poverty, and the connection between love for creation and poverty reduction.

The Pope’s message is clear: we must care for the world and for each other. We cannot steal resources from future generations. To celebrate the release of the encycliby Fenton Lutunatabua cal, two Pacific Climate Warriors – representing the global climate organisation 350.org – travelled to Rome to take part in a march organised by Green Faith and the Global Catholic Climate Movement on June 28. The march, under the banner of ‘One Earth, One Human Family,’ was held to acknowledge how grateful people were for the leadership shown by Pope Francis on climate change.

Arianne Kassman, a young Climate Warrior from Papua New Guinea, said she felt ‘validated’ that Pope Francis had strongly aligned himself with the global climate movement. “To be able to travel to Rome is an incredible moment to be part of,” said Arianne. “Climate change threatens so many aspects of our lives as Pacific islanders. For some of us, it threatens our connections to our land and everything our land represents. When we lose our land, we lose our homes and if we lose our homes our customs, traditions and identity are at risk of being lost too.” George Nacewa, from Fiji, said he was encouraged by the encyclical.

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