VATICAN CITY — With global leaders meeting in the fall for two critical U.N. conferences — one on climate change and the other on biodiversity — the Global Catholic Climate Movement is sponsoring an online petition calling on them to take action and support a healthy planet and healthy people.
The petition, at thecatholicpetition.org, was unveiled May 17 as part of Laudato Si’ Week, which is being celebrated May 16-26 with online and local events worldwide.
This year “is such a critical year … and action is needed at all levels and action is possible at all levels,” Christine Allen, director of CAFOD, the Catholic aid agency for England and Wales, said during a webinar May 17 on “Critical Opportunities in 2021 to Create Change.”
Echoing Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical calling for action globally, nationally, locally and in one’s personal life, Allen highlighted the key political opportunities for change with the U.N. Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in October and the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.
“Ahead of those meetings, it is our responsibility as Catholics to lift up the voices of the most vulnerable and advocate on their behalf. We must act now,” the petition says.
The Healthy Planet, Healthy People Petition “calls for world leaders to address the climate and biodiversity crises together” in a way that fosters equity, protects people’s rights, especially the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, Allen said.
The petition brings the Catholic perspective to global leaders by advocating an integral approach to healing and preventing current crises and safeguarding humanity’s common home.
“As a faith community, we know ‘that there is always a way out, that we can always redirect our steps,'” the petition says, citing Laudato Si’.
“With Pope Francis leading us, we pray that you and all political leaders throughout the world, who are tasked with the duty to make life-saving decisions in this critical year, will bring us out better from the COVID-19 crisis toward an equitable common home for all life, for generations to come,” it says.
It asks leaders to “urgently affirm the Paris Agreement to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and to a new biodiversity global goal of 50% conservation of lands and waters, and restoration and sustainable management of all the rest of land and water bodies to ensure no more biodiversity loss” as well as “agree to reform the financial system and cancellation of debt, so that all countries can restart economies that work for all peoples and the planet.”
The petition also calls on leaders to “stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and redirect destructive subsidies toward socially responsive renewable energy and agro-ecological farming approaches.”
With the support of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, a series of webinars were being held each day at laudatosiweek.org to look at progress made since the encyclical’s release in 2015 and to keep inspiring people to continue the journey of caring for creation.