EarthBeat Weekly: 2 years after the Amazon Synod, are we closer to ecological conversion? | Earth beat



Editor’s Note: EarthBeat Weekly is your weekly newsletter on faith and climate change. Below, the October 29 edition. To get EarthBeat Weekly delivered to your inbox, sign up here.

The Synod of Bishops for the Amazon region ended two years ago, but its message about protecting tropical forests and defending the lives of the people who inhabit them is more urgent than ever.

The synod’s focus on protecting Amazonian ecosystems – crucial both for the survival of indigenous and traditional communities and for regulating the global climate – echoes in the messages Pope Francis delivered ahead of the United Nations conference on the climate, COP26, which begins on October 31 in Glasgow. , Scotland.

And the wider Church participation observed at the Amazon Synod – where lay people, priests and religious participated in a pre-synodal “listening” process as well as the meeting of bishops in October 2019 – serves as a model for a Latin America Ecclesial Assembly scheduled for November as well as for the Synod of Bishops scheduled for 2023.

Francis paid particular attention to the relationship that indigenous peoples have with the places where they live, and this is one of the things Yésica Patiachi remembers from the Synod. During a virtual round table organized by the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network on October 27, the young woman Harakbut from the Madre de Dios region in Peru said that when she was chosen to attend the synod, “I thought I would be just there to listen, to watch. I didn’t think I would be one of the protagonists. “

She had always thought the Pope was unreachable, so she was surprised to find that he was lining up for refreshments like everyone else and that she could approach him for a chat over coffee.

But while the Pope clearly understands what is needed in the Amazon, she said, other church leaders don’t. During the synod, she heard some of the meeting attendees ask why attention should be focused on the Amazon when there are so many other issues in the world.

“I was afraid that everything we talked about at the synod would come to nothing,” Patiachi said. So when it was her turn to address the assembly, she said that she believed the Pope could “row alone” in his efforts to lead the church to wider participation and greater participation. environmental awareness.

With Laudato Si ‘ in 2015 and his messages this year ahead of the Glasgow summit, Francis is clearly trying to mobilize the 1.3 billion Catholics around the world to act on their own and push their governments to take stronger action to curb global warming.

His most recent post was broadcast by the BBC on October 29, just before his meeting with US President Joe Biden at the Vatican.

NCR environmental correspondent Brian Roewe writes that Francis said the dual crisis of climate change and COVID-19 calls for “sweeping decisions that are not always easy”, but that times like this difficulty “also present opportunities… which we must not waste. “

On EarthBeat this week, commentators challenged American bishops to follow Francis’ example. Just as the bishops spoke out courageously against nuclear war almost 40 years ago, they should now speak out on climate change, which threatens to end the world as we know it, writes Mary Jo McConahay. And an editorial from the RCN offers bishops specific suggestions.

Meanwhile, José Aguto, executive director of the Catholic Climate Movement, urges politicians and believers to be guided by the greater commandment.

And although Francis is not present in person, believers will make their voices heard in various ways during the climate negotiations in Glasgow.

Brian, who will be reporting from Glasgow in the first week of the conference, writes that the Conference of Catholic Bishops and Dioceses of Scotland are among 72 religious institutions on six continents that announced new fossil-free engagements on the 26th. October. And Jonathan Luxmoore reports that Catholic organizations in the UK are calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to show leadership in forcing countries to meet bolder climate goals.

The world is waiting to see how deep U.S. emissions cuts will be as the Biden administration cuts the infrastructure and social spending bill ahead of Congress. As of Oct. 28, the bill had been reduced from an initial $ 3.5 trillion to $ 1.75 trillion, with the bulk, $ 555 billion, primarily for incentives to reduce consumption. of fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, outside the White House, five climate activists from the Sunrise Movement have been on hunger strike since October 20, calling on Biden and Congress Democrats to keep their climate pledges, reports Melissa Cedillo, a member of the NCR’s Latino Catholics project. The Ignatian Solidarity Network and Catholic Climate Covenant invite people to join a 24-hour fast in solidarity with the hunger strikers from sunrise on November 1 to sunrise on November 2.

In his remarks at the REPAM virtual roundtable, Patiachi reminded his audience that there are no quick fixes. “The Amazon is complex and there is no recipe that says ‘this is so’,” she said. “We are discovering the way.”

Here are the other new features of EarthBeat:

  • In the first in a series, Chris Herlinger, international correspondent for Global Sisters Report, describes the nuns’ efforts to ensure that the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy is a “just transition” that considers workers as well as of the environment.
  • Inspired by their religious upbringing, 16-year-old twin brothers in Albany, New York, started a climate-friendly lawn care service using muscle, elbow grease and pedal power. Emily Benson has the story for Catholic News Service.

Here are some of the novelties in other climate news:

  • As climate talks draw more attention to India’s dependence on coal for energy, Salimah Shivji of CBC News explains why it is difficult for the country to reduce its use despite the negative impacts on the economy. health and environment from coal mining and combustion.
  • Saudi Arabia has announced that it plans to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, but has provided no details on how it will do so while continuing to pump and export large amounts of oil, reports Deutsche Welle.
  • Meanwhile, Feargus O’Sullivan of the Bloomberg City Lab writes that Paris is betting on bicycles, with plans to add more than 160 km of separate cycle paths and triple the number of bicycle parking spaces by 2026. .
  • Although carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels fell 5.6% in 2020, possibly due to the economic slowdown associated with the pandemic, greenhouse gas concentrations continued to rise, reaching levels never seen long before human existence, writes Peter Wade at Rolling Stone.
  • As countries turn to renewable energy sources, fossil fuel companies have found a new market in plastics manufacturing, which could overtake coal-fired power plants as a source of greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse by 2030, writes Elizabeth Gribkoff to Environmental Health News.
  • Also at EHN, Theresa C. Guillette, a Hispanic wildlife biologist and ecotoxicologist, writes that fostering diversity in environmental science must begin with enabling children in communities of color to connect with the outdoors.
  • And perversely, one study found that knowing that a product is likely to be recycled or turned into energy can actually make people more wasteful in using the product, writes Sarah DeWeerdt to Anthropocene magazine.

Events to come:

“Uniting the World to Tackle Climate Change: Perspectives from Religion and Politics”, a three-day virtual conference sponsored by the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in preparation for COP26, began on October 29 with a speech by Karenna Gore , Executive Director of the Earth Ethics Center, and will end on October 31 with a presentation by Franciscan Sr. Ilia Delio of the University of Villanova.

You can find more information about this and other events on the EarthBeat events page, where you can also add your own group’s events.

Closing time:

Keep an eye on EarthBeat this week for Brian’s reports from COP26 in Glasgow. If you know someone who would be interested in following these activities, encourage them to sign up to receive EarthBeat Weekly in their inbox, along with alerts on other stories at the intersection of Climate and Faith. .

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